Listers, in researching the connection between salvation and our treatment of the poor, I came across a Catholic Charities’ document outlining Catholic Social Teaching according to Scripture. As articulated by the Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, “Catholics are in a unique position to change the culture of partisanship and division [in America] that has plagued our political process;” however, “to do so requires courage and an embracing of Catholic ideals and Social Teaching.”1 Serving the poor in light of the Gospel truth can both lift up the downtrodden and restore integrity to the order of our society. May we have the courage to transcend partisanship and love our neighbor as God loves us.

The Six Principles of Catholic Social Teaching

1. Dignity of the Human Person
2. Community and the Common Good
3. Rights and Responsibilities
4. Option for the Poor
5. Dignity of Work
6. Solidarity

1. Dignity of the Human Person

Justice for the Oppressed

The LORD does righteous deeds, brings justice to all the oppressed. His ways were revealed to Moses, mighty deeds to the people of Israel. Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger, abounding in kindness. God does not always rebuke, nurses no lasting anger, Has not dealt with us as our sins merit, nor requited us as our deeds deserve. As the heavens tower over the earth, so God’s love towers over the faithful. As far as the east is from the west, so far have our sins been removed from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on the faithful. For he knows how we are formed, remembers that we are dust.
Our days are like the grass; like flowers of the field we blossom. The wind sweeps over us and we are gone; our place knows us no more. But the LORD’S kindness is forever, toward the faithful from age to age. He favors the children’s children of those who keep his covenant, who take care to fulfill its precepts.
Psalm 103:6-18

The Lord Defends the Poor

Injure not the poor because they are poor, nor crush the needy at the gate;
For the LORD will defend their cause, and will plunder the lives of those who plunder them.
Proverbs 22:22-23

The Signs of the Messiah and his Followers

When John heard in prison of the works of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to him with this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”
Matthew 11:2-6

A World of Justice

He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.
Luke 1:51-55

2. Community and the Common Good

Seek Good and Not Evil

Seek good and not evil, that you may live; then truly will the LORD, the God of hosts, be with you as you claim! Hate evil and love good, and let justice prevail at the gate; then it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts, will have pity on the remnant of Joseph.
Amos 5:14-15

Act Justly and Walk Humbly with God

You have been told, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

All Things Were Held in Common

They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Acts 2:43-47

Things Were Distributed to Each According to Need

The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.
Acts 4:32-35

Put Your Gifts at the Service of Others

Be serious and sober for prayers. Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace. Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1Peter 4:7-11

3. Rights and Responsibilities

Justice Is More Pleasing than Sacrifice

To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
Proverbs 21:3

Justice for the Oppressed

Praise the Lord, my soul; I shall praise the Lord all my life, sing praise to my God while I live. I put no trust in princes, in mere mortals powerless to save. When they breathe their last, they return to the earth; that day all their planning comes to nothing. Happy those whose help is Jacob’s God, whose hope is in the Lord, their God, The maker of heaven and earth, the seas and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free; the Lord gives sight to the blind. The Lord rises up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord protects the stranger, sustains the orphan and the widow, but thwarts the way of the wicked. The Lord shall reign forever, your God, Zion, through all generations! Hallelujah!
Psalm 146:2-10

Be Doers of God’s Word

Do not be deceived, my beloved: all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change. He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. Know this, my dear friends: everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of a man does not accomplish the righteousness of God. Therefore, put away all filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls. Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror. He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like. But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres, and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, such a one shall be blessed in what he does. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, his religion is vain. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
James 1:17-27

Jesus Shows Compassion and Responsibility

Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for fear they may collapse on the way.”
Matthew 15:32

The Call to Servanthood

But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Matthew 20:26-28

Part II: Understanding Catholic Social Teachings: 19 More Scriptures

  1. Supreme Knight CNA article []