There are three fundamental principles of Catholic Social Teaching, the greatest of which the Church insists is the first: A correct understanding of the human person, which is Human Dignity. This is the prime principle!
Then there are Solidarity and Subsidiarity. CST is built upon these three key principles. This is evident not only in the social encyclicals from 1931 to Centesimus Annus to Deus Caritas Est to Caritas in Veritate, but also in Pope Saint John Paul the Great’s continued teachings, when in 1999 he told the American bishops that
"Her moral vision in this area 'rests on the threefold cornerstone of human dignity, solidarity and subsidiarity'” (Saint John Paul II, Ecclesia in America, 55, 1999)
And, as his sucessor Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed,
"It is up to the lay faithful to demonstrate concretely in their personal and family life, in social, cultural and political life that…the fundamental principles of the social doctrine of the Church such as the dignity of the human person, subsidiarity and solidarity are extremely relevant and valuable in order to support new paths of development in service to the whole person and to all humanity." (Benedict XVI, Address to the 24th Plenary Session of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, 21 May 2010)
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