At the beginning of his public ministry, Jesus came to the synagogue in Nazareth and read the words of the prophet Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
….Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’
(Luke 4:18 – 21)
Jesus Christ’s complete commitment to God the Father, and His great love for humanity, came alive in his liberating mission to ‘bring good news to the poor’. Throughout Christ’s ministry, his words and actions healed the spiritual and physical wounds of those he encountered; they also offered freedom from social, economic and political injustice.
Christ’s death on the cross and his resurrection on the third day were the climax of this mission. In the Easter event, God showed a loving solidarity that entered into, and finally triumphed over, human suffering.
As the Body of Christ, the Church is called and empowered to carry on Christ’s work. The Church takes seriously the ‘joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties’ of today’s people, and seeks to respond as Christ did, in love, truth and compassion. It is aided in this task by Catholic social teaching, which reflects on Scripture and the Tradition in order to uncover firm and enduring principles for living life ethically and organizing a just and peaceful society.
The social ministry of the Church is the result of this reflection and action. The agencies and initiatives listed here express that ministry, and the conviction of Pope John Paul II, who wrote:
Solidarity is not a vague feeling of compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both far and near. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say the good of all and each individual because we are all really responsible for all.
On Social Concern, 1987