Catholic social teaching is a central and essential element of our faith. Its roots are in the Hebrew prophets who announced God’s special love for the poor and called God’s people to a covenant of love and justice. It is a teaching founded on the life and words of Jesus Christ, who came “to bring glad tidings to the poor . . . liberty to captives . . . recovery of sight to the blind”(Lk 4:18-19), and who identified himself with “the least of these,” the hungry and the stranger (cf. Mt 25:45). Catholic social teaching is built on a commitment to the poor. This commitment arises from our experiences of Christ in the eucharist. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
Timeline of the Biblical foundations for the Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching (CST)
(Please keep this reference to relate to other handouts on CST – See if you can locate these events in your Bible).
The human person is created in God’s image and given a role as God’s partner in caring for creation.
God helps the Israelites escape from slavery and oppression.
On Mt. Sinai, God gives Moses the Ten Commandments to help the Israelites live in right relationship to God and others.
The Israelites’ legislative codes include rules for caring for the poor, forgiving debts, welcoming the stranger, and stewardship of the land.
The prophets, such as Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Amos, condemn injustice done to the poor as a sign of Israel’s unfaithfulness.
Pregnant with Jesus, Mary visits Elizabeth, proclaiming, “[The Lord] 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…” In the synagogue, Jesus reads from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”
During his ministry, Jesus shows mercy to the needy, grants pardon to sinners, shows concern for the weak, performs exorcisms, and heals the sick. Jesus’ parables, such as the Good Samaritan and the Sheep and the Goats show God’s special love for the poor which we are to imitate.
Jesus washes the disciples’ feet, calling them to love and serve others in the same way. Having received the Holy Spirit, the disciples perform wonders, such as healing sick.
The disciples establish the Christian community, in which all members have enough and “there was no needy person among them.”
Paul chastises the community at Corinth for divisions according to social class, presenting a vision for Eucharistic community as one body of Christ.
The letters of James, Hebrews & others exhort the early Christians to live out Jesus’ commandment of love, to be doers of the Word (not only hearers) and to implement worship through Christian living. Letters to the persecuted churches use code language to exhort them to persevere in public witness through saintly deeds, acts of justice and work to establish God’s kingdom. Taken from USCCB website.