How the doctrine of social justice was formed in the Catholic Church

Document Type : Research Paper


Christian Theology, Faculty of Religions; University of Religions and Denomination of Qom



Until the Second Vatican Council, the discussion of social justice was not discussed in a systematic way in the Catholic Church, and it was often emphasized on individual justice and its theological meaning under the influence of Paul's teachings. In addition to being seen as a process based on obedience, justice in the Old Testament also consider to social aspects. Jesus considered justice as a condition for entering the Kingdom, and this means that justice is not just an individual aspect. But Paul emphasizes the individual righteousness and justice that comes through faith in Christ and through grace. Therefore, after Paul, social justice does not have much place in Christianity. In the medieval period, in the theology of Thomas Aquinas, a rational approach to justice was proposed, and from the 19th century, especially in the 20th century, events occurred in Christianity that the Catholic Church gradually addressed social and justice issues in order to recover its identity. The main thrust is: social demands, including workers' rights, theorizing of Catholic theologians in the modern period, the adoption of an academic approach to social ethics, and the emergence of Latin American liberation theology, led to the formation of the doctrine of social justice in the Catholic Church.


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