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420 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived


Man is himself the author, center, and goal of all eco-

nomic and social life. The decisive point of the social

question is that goods created by God for everyone

should in fact reach everyone in accordance with justice

and with the help of charity.

—CCC, no. 2459

For over a century, the Church, especially through the teaching of the

popes, has given special attention to the development of her social doc-

trine. The Church’s social doctrine is related to the understanding of

what it means to be a human being, to the origin of human dignity, to the

problem of the Fall, and to the promise of Redemption. We are seriously

weakened by Original Sin and actual sin but are redeemed by Christ’s

saving death and Resurrection with its gift of divine life, a source of

moral strength (cf. CCC, nos. 355-431).

The Church’s social doctrine also relates to an understanding of par-

ticipation in social life, the role of authority, the importance of the com-

mon good, natural law, social justice, and human solidarity (cf. CCC,

nos. 1897-1948). Finally, there is the Seventh Commandment, which

A basic duty every human person owes to God is regular worship.

Because of this, and because of the basic longing each person has

for God, a fundamental human right is the right to worship freely.

No one should be prohibited from a free exercise of their faith,

either in public or in private, and no one should ever be forced to

worship in a manner that violates their beliefs and convictions.

Because freedom of religion and worship is such an important

and fundamental right, governments need to enact and enforce

laws that respect and protect this right (cf. CCC, nos. 2105-2109).