Catechism of the Catholic Church

462 Part Three 1889 Without the help of grace, men would not know how “to discern the often narrow path between the cowardice which gives in to evil, and the violence which under the illusion of fighting evil only makes it worse.” 13 This is the path of charity, that is, of the love of God and of neighbor. Charity is the greatest social com­ mandment. It respects others and their rights. It requires the prac­ tice of justice, and it alone makes us capable of it. Charity inspires a life of self-giving: “Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it.” 14 IN BRIEF 1890 There is a certain resemblance between the unity of the divine persons and the fraternity that men ought to establish among themselves. 1891 The human person needs life in society in order to develop in accordance with his nature. Certain socie­ ties, such as the family and the state, correspond more directly to the nature of man. 1892 “The human person . . . is and ought to be the principle, the subject, and the object of every social organization” ( GS 25 § 1). 1893 Widespread participation in voluntary associations and institutions is to be encouraged. 1894 In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, nei­ ther the state nor any larger society should substitute itself for the initiative and responsibility of individuals and intermediary bodies. 1895 Society ought to promote the exercise of virtue, not obstruct it. It should be animated by a just hierarchy of values. 1896 Where sin has perverted the social climate, it is neces­ sary to call for the conversion of hearts and appeal to the grace of God. Charity urges just reforms. There is no solution to the social question apart from the Gos­ pel (cf. CA 3, 5). 13 CA 25. 14 Lk 17:33. 1825