Catholic Social Teaching is often described as the ‘jewel in the crown’ for Catholics. At this time when communities are coming together to act in solidarity to battle the spread of COVID-19, Catholic Social Teaching is more relevant than ever.
Churches are closed, friends are separated, the elderly and vulnerable are self-isolating – some away from their families – and the rest of us are on lockdown to protect the herculean efforts of the NHS as the virus reaches its peak in the UK.
Professor Jim McManus is Director of Public Health for Hertfordshire and has been helping guide the Catholic Church’s response to COVID-19.
He talks to us about the vital guiding principles of solidarity, subsidiarity and upholding the common good to protect the most vulnerable in our society.
“We often neglect what’s called ‘horizontal subsidiarity’ – the skills of good citizenship. The skills we learn of participating, of helping one another out, of good behaviour, of pro-social behaviour. This is the time when these networks of skills and goodwill are most needed.
“The ‘soft skills’ we need as a society are the things we need to practice. So ‘horizontal subsidiarity’ absolutely comes in. It is derived, theologically, from a duty we owe one another in justice – as fellow creatures – and we should follow that.”