Our work is shaped by the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching (CST). These values provide a moral framework so the common good of individuals and humanity can unite. CST covers all spheres of life – the economic, political, personal and spiritual, and is a transition from less human conditions to more human ones. Treating people with dignity has to be the centre of our concerns and that is often done by not only sharing our skills, money and talent, but our humanity. This holistic approach, with all the principles flowing into one another is what Pope Paul VI calls ‘authentic development’.
Dignity of the Human Person
This is the foundation of a moral vision for society. Human beings are created in the divine image and have an inherent dignity which must always be upheld. Human life is therefore sacred.
All programs must promote the dignity of all involved. That entails programs being people-centred with empowerment at their heart rather than technology-centred. No program should be undertaken which treats people in any way as commodities.
The Common Good
Human beings are not only sacred but social – we become human in relationship to others. Community has to be built up and organised in such a way that the dignity of all is maintained. The community has to be fair and just, and allow the participation of everyone in the enjoyment of the goods for Creation.
Priority will be given to development programs which involve collaboration with all relevant sectors of the community to promote the common good. It will also involve coordination of resources, planning and action across agencies and organisations. Good development increases the sum of social capital.
Preferential Option for the Poor
Poverty is unjust; the needs of the most vulnerable in society should be the responsibility of all.
Reaching the poorest and most marginalised often requires greater effort in discovering where they are to be found. That might mean additional resources of time and money.
It is a fundamental demand of justice and a requirement for human dignity that all people be assured a minimum level of participation in the community.
Stakeholders in the local community, both men and women, must be involved in consultation, planning, implementation and evaluation of the program.
Human beings constitute one human family, no matter the differences. ‘Loving your neighbour’ has global dimensions in an interdependent world.
Development is to reach those who are most marginalised and is to give expression to the principle of human solidarity. A commitment to long-term engagement and sustainability is necessary.
Stewardship of Creation
We are called to show respect for all of Creation – people, animals and the environment.
Development programs will be attentive to environmental concerns and seek to minimise environmental damage. Opportunities should be built for good stewardship of all resources.
All people have the right to participate in decisions which affect them.
The role of the government and others working for justice is to assist citizens in fulfilling their responsibility to others.
Promoting subsidiarity means functions of government should be performed at the lowest level possible, consistent with participation above. When the lower level cannot respond, then it is for the higher levels of government to intervene.
This also applies to authentic partnership practices. Caritas Australia works with local communities to support, promote and develop their capacity in decision making to better respond to their needs.
Read more about Catholic Social Teaching (PDF 1MB).