Catholic Social Teaching:

Did you know that there are clear ethical teachings on justice? The main teachings concern—

Human Dignity;

Community and the Common Good;

Rights and Responsibilities;

Option for the Poor and Vulnerable;


Dignity of Work—Rights of Workers;

Stewardship of Creation;


Role of Government;

Promotion of Peace.

Human Dignity:

The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the person is at the core of a moral vision for society. Our belief in the sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of the human person is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching.

(Archdiocese of St. Paul—Minneapolis)

What might this call to honor human dignity mean for us? How can we work for human dignity in our social systems, in our communities, in our families, and with our friends and co-workers. What one action could you take to honor the dignity of others? It doesn’t have to be a huge step, maybe it could be as simple as thanking people who wait on you, or as profound as letting other drivers merge in front of you. Or, maybe you are called to take more systemic action such as contacting your representative, or actively working to educate others about the horrors of human trafficking.

Whatever you feel called to do—blessings!


  1. I have made it a point to make eye contact with all people in sales or services that wait on or assist me. At the end of the transaction I pause and make sure they are looking at me as I thank them. I try to use their names as I thank them. It is a profound moment for many of them because most of their day is filled with repeated and empty words they and others speak as if everyone is unconscious. In fact, I try to speak meaningfully when conversing with strangers instead of making small talk. I intend that it be a blessed moment for both of us. It means slowing down and being conscious of every moment. Human dignity is not just a grand idea, it is being committed to impeccability. Carol, your post resonates with me greatly! Thank you.

  2. Thank you Kathryn,
    My sister ~who is now in management, but for years was a checker~ agrees with you wholeheartedly. We can change someone’s day by acknowledging their humanity.
    Thank you for this commitment to conscious engagement with the people with whom we share life. And thank you Sr. Carol, for reawakening us all to this significant justice issue.

  3. Thank you all for your comments. A couple of years ago I was getting coffee in a Starbuck’s and the man in front of me was yelling at the staff because when they called his name to give him his drink they didn’t pronounce it correctly. He was horrid and told them that he was calling the main office to complain about the rude treatment he had received. After he stormed out, I looked at the staff and said, “Ill be calling the offices as well — to tell them how professional and calm you were in the face of verbal abuse. And I did. Carol

  4. Very often when I take my shipping to the local Post office here in NE Portland, there is an old man in a wheel chair who begs for money. His hand are dry and cracked and he looks like life is a daily challenge. I consider him an Angel in disguise, so whenever I gather my change together I am thinking I am saving it for him. To most he is invisible, but to me, an opportunity to bless and be blessed…

  5. I think this Kathryn is a model of compassion in action. Thank you Kathryn. Like Mother Teresa taught, if we can’t feed all those who hunger, maybe we can feed just one.

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