Social justice and outreach are an essential part of our Catholic faith. St. Joseph strives to fulfill its call to social outreach (charity) by addressing the immediate concerns of those who are in need, as well as addressing the underlying social justice issues that lead to injustices.
Social outreach can take many forms. It can include volunteering at the local food shelf or thrift store, providing transportation, food or clothing to individuals with limited options, providing meals to the homebound or to persons who are homeless. Social justice involves taking an active role in policy-making that impacts the health of the community at large - transportation, workforce housing, domestic violence, education or health care.
Modern Catholic social teaching is based in both tradition and Scripture. We, as Catholics, are called to care of those in need (Luke 10:25-37, 14:12-14). Official Church documents from the nineteenth century to the present have developed this teaching based on the following key principles:
Human Dignity: Human life is sacred and the dignity of the person is the foundation of a moral vision for society.
Community and the Common Good: The person is not only sacred but social. Therefore, we must organize society in such a way that human life and dignity are protected and common good is promoted.
Rights and Responsibilities: Every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency. We have responsibilities to one another, our families and to society at large to ensure the protection of these fundamental rights.
Option for the Poor and Vulnerable: The needs of the poor and vulnerable shall be put first.
Participation: A fundamental demand of justice and a requirement for human dignity is that all people have the right to participate in the economic, political and cultural life of their respective societies.
Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers: All workers have the right to productive work, to fair wages, to organize and join unions, to private property and to economic initiative.
Stewardship of Creation: We are called to care for and live in relationship with all of God’s creation, both people and planet.
Solidarity: Our efforts toward justice should not be limited to those of the same race or nationality; rather, our call to love our neighbor has global implications.
Role of Government: It is the role of government to help individual citizens fulfill the responsibilities of promoting human dignity, protecting human rights and building the common good.
Promotion of Peace: Peace is something that must be actively sought by building mutual respect and confidence between peoples and nations.