The committee assists the bishops, both collectively and individually, in advancing the social mission of the Church, within a culturally diverse community, through education, poverty awareness, capacity- and constituency-building, outreach, policy development, advocacy, and the organization of low-income communities. The committee advises the bishops on issues of human dignity, development, and poverty.

This mandate includes the following areas of responsibility: Domestic policy and advocacy, Catholic social teaching education outreach to dioceses and Catholic social mission organizations, and the Church's domestic anti-poverty effort, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development—including the Campaign's grant making, poverty awareness initiatives, and resource development activities.


  1. Sharing and promoting the social teachings of the Church through national and regional education and outreach efforts, including convening of leaders
  2. Applying Catholic social teaching to significant domestic issues that have moral and religious dimensions, including poverty, health care, civil rights, and criminal justice, especially regarding the death penalty
  3. Creating awareness about domestic poverty, especially through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development campaign
  4. Promoting and supporting community-controlled, self-help anti-poverty organizations
  5. Advocating for the poor and vulnerable, in the public policy arena
  6. Building the capacity of the Church (national, diocesan, and parish) to defend human life, dignity, and rights; and to protect God's creation
  7. Building solidarity among people to address the root causes of poverty
  8. Collaborating with National Collections Committee to promote the Catholic Campaign for Human Development collection


  1. With other committees/offices: including National Collections for Catholic Campaign for Human Development and Africa, Doctrine concerning health care, Pro-Life regarding the death penalty and other life issues.
  2. With dioceses, especially bishops, social and ethnic ministries, and local target groups
  3. With legislative and executive officials in collaboration with Government Liaison
  4. With state Catholic conferences in coordination with Government Liaison
  5. With major national Catholic organizations
  6. With community and economic development organizations and advocacy groups
  7. With governmental and legislative networks to advocate on public policy
  8. With national justice and peace organizations
  9. With the Holy See and other episcopal conferences

Diocesan Consultation and Leadership Development

The Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development (JPHD) works with diocesan social justice offices throughout the country. JPHD has some resources available to provide these services, but usually work out ways to share costs of on-site consultations and training sessions with the local diocese. We offer a variety of written resources on specific policy positions, bishops'statements, and parish kits, as well as on-site training presentations and consultations on topics such as:

  • Effective social action offices in a dioceses
  • Parishes becoming Communities of Salt and Light
  • Leadership recruitment and development at the parish level
  • Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions
  • Political Responsibility in the Church
  • Environmental Justice
  • Social concerns committees in parishes
  • Legislative advocacy networks in dioceses and parishes
  • International Solidarity at the parish level
  • Every Day Christianity: our faith at work
  • Public policy information and positions on debt, landmines, arms control, minimum wage, social security and many more