Every human being is created in the image and likeness of God. Human life is sacred, and the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society.

All people must have access to basic human needs to ensure they can live in a dignified manner, with a particular concern for the poor, the vulnerable, and anyone who goes without those basic needs.

Faith-based organizations provide services to the needy and contribute to the common welfare of society through institutions like schools and hospitals. Faith is what animates these providers to serve and is the foundational dimension of their identity.

Education is essential for the betterment of society by providing opportunities for children and adults to reach their fulfillment.

Marriage and family life is the core social institution, directed toward establishing a foundation of success for children.

Access to affordable and adequate healthcare is a basic human necessity required for upholding the dignity of human life.

The human dignity of both the crime victim and the offender should be acknowledged within the criminal justice system when considering punishment and the capacity for rehabilitation.

The human dignity of the immigrant, the refugee and the asylee—regardless of personal circumstances, background, or even legal status—must not be forgotten when considering how to manage immigration practices.

Environmental stewardship has a moral dimension, particularly in the recognition of the impact that environmental deterioration has on people, families, and the poor.

The Church’s social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society. Modern Catholic social teaching has been articulated through a tradition of papal, conciliar, and episcopal documents. The depth and richness of this tradition can be understood best through a direct reading of these documents. In these brief reflections, we wish to highlight several of the key themes that are at the heart of our Catholic social tradition.