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424 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived

is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be

respected—the right to productive work, to decent and fair

wages, to organize and join unions, to private property, and to

economic initiative.


We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they live.

We are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic,

economic, and ideological differences. Learning to practice the

virtue of solidarity means learning that “loving our neighbor”

has global dimensions in an interdependent world.

Care for the Environment

We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of cre-

ation. Care for the earth is a requirement of our faith. We are

called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in rela-

tionship with all of God’s creation. This environmental chal-

lenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that can-

not be ignored.

This summary should only be a starting point for those inter-

ested in Catholic social teaching. A full understanding can

only be achieved by reading the papal, conciliar, and episcopal

documents that make up this rich tradition. (USCCB,


from Catholic Social Teaching

[card] [Washington, DC:

USCCB, 1999])


Our nation is one of the wealthiest on the earth, and yet we do not have

to look beyond our borders to find the ravages of poverty. There are the

homeless in the streets of our cities, destitute families in rural and urban

areas, and neglected children. The causes of poverty are many, but they

all call forth the compassion of the Church—through her members and

through her various structures, such as Catholic Charities and the St.

Vincent de Paul Society.