Dolan: 7 Givens, 7 Oughts of Catholic Social Teaching

At an event on Long Island, Cardinal Timothy Dolan has given a great, great summary of Catholic Social Teaching.

Start the clip (also below) at about minute 35 to see the great camaraderie and humor with which Cardinal Dolan is introduced by Bishop William Murphy (He points out that one headline about the event said: “Cardinal Dolan Goes to Long Island for Birth Control”). Then, hear Cardinal Dolan give a masterful summary of the importance of Catholic identity in public life.

He starts by offering seven “givens” of Catholic Social Teaching:

1. The sacredness of human life.
2. The infinite dignity of the human person.
3. Solidarity, the “sense of responsibility on the part of everyone with regard to everyone”, service to the common good.
4. The Natural Law, the moral order instilled within us.
5. Subsidiarity, the priority of the most local solution; as the catechism puts it: “a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order.”
6. The preferential option for the poor.
7. Every person has inalienable rights given by the Creator “that must be cherished and guarded by society and by the government itself,” with the highest among them being the freedom of religion.

He then points out these entail seven “oughts”.

1. We ought to be in politics … and, a badly needed point, he reminds lay people that we are the ones who are primarily responsible for activity in the political realm, not our bishops.
2. We ought to bring values and convictions to politics.
3. Catholics ought to propose, never impose.
4. We ought to stand for principles always, above politics. He had a great discussion here on the need for certain kinds of political compromise, but with the qualification that we can’t sacrifice principles.
5. We ought to stress responsibility as much as rights.
6. We ought to defend the rights of others.
7. Catholics ought to stress “us” not “me.”

Listen to the end, where he gives examples of taking the high road from Richard Nixon and Walter Mondale, before ending with a the story about his visit to the Sistine Chapel and Pope John Paul II’s visit to Poland.

Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes, author of The Rosary of Saint John Paul II and The Fatima Family Handbook, is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Kansas and hosts The Extraordinary Story podcast about the life of Christ. His book What Pope Francis Really Said is now available on Audible. A former reporter in the Washington, D.C., area, Hoopes served as press secretary of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman and spent 10 years as executive editor of the National Catholic Register newspaper and Faith & Family magazine. His work frequently appears in Catholic publications such as Aleteia.org and the Register. He and his wife, April, have nine children and live in Atchison, Kansas.