When it comes to politics, our society is often divided between those who emphasize personal responsibility and those who emphasize our social responsibilities. The former often focus on the cultural factors that tear families apart, while the latter highlight the economic threats faced by families. Within the Church these divisions are seen in the rivalry between two camps: pro-life Catholics and social justice Catholics.
But Catholic Social Teaching is not an either/or worldview. Catholics are called to value human life and human dignity, personal virtue and social justice, the dignity of work and the necessity of a social safety net. This approach, which is focused on the common good and the flourishing of all people, rejects the hyperindividualism and libertarianism of economic conservatism and social liberalism, instead providing a coherent, comprehensive framework that weaves together rights and responsibilities to promote the integral development of every person.
It is this both/and approach that offers the most promising way forward for addressing one of the most difficult, intractable problems our society faces today: the growing opportunity gap between the children of college-educated parents and those whose parents lack a college degree. Only by addressing both the cultural and economic factors, which are inherently linked, can we hope to break unjust cycles of poverty, reignite social mobility, and strengthen our families. Read More