Our social mission reflects the core values of the Catholic Church. We believe in the dignity of human life and stand in solidarity with the poor, marginalised, isolated and vulnerable, reaching out in the image of the good Samaritan.
Our social action is rooted in Catholic Social Teaching and is the great wealth of Church teaching on how to live out our faith in the world.
Catholic Social Action teaches us that all people are made in the image of God and so possess an equal and inalienable worth. Because of this essential dignity, each person has a right to all that is needed to allow him or her to live their full potential as intended by God. As God is love, we were created to love and be in relationship with each other. Human dignity is upheld when each person’s needs are met and when he or she lives in harmony with others in a community that together pursues the Common Good.
Catholic Social Action teaches us that we have a responsibility to participate in politics out of a concern and commitment to the good of the community. This means that we cannot be bystanders who scoff at the political process. Instead, we are called to vote, to inform ourselves about the issues of the day, to engage in serious conversation about our nation’s future, and to learn to listen to different perspectives with empathy. This responsibility to participate means each person also has a fundamental right to participate, and must be equipped with the resources needed to do so.
Catholic Social Action teaches us to look at reality through the eyes of those who have been made poor by oppression and injustice. We do this when we join together to end poverty. People forced into poverty have the single most urgent claim on the conscience of the nation because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity. The responsibility to uphold the dignity of each person means that we must judge our lifestyles, policies, and social institutions in terms of how they impact those suffering from the injustice of poverty.
Catholic Social Action teaches us that all people are children of God so every person belongs to a single and interconnected human family. As sisters and brothers, our needs are met in relationship with one another. When making individual and collective decisions, we have a responsibility to consider the good of the whole community over and above the interests of the few. Authorities at every level must work together for the good of the entire community. A just community is united in creating the conditions for every person to flourish and realize their full human potential as children of God.
Catholic Social Action teaches us that work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. Work should enhance the dignity of the person by allowing all workers to express their uniqueness in a way that contributes to the common good. The community must also recognise the dignity of work by ensuring that it is justly rewarded with a living wage. As human beings are social, they have a fundamental right to organise collectively to create better working conditions for themselves and others.
God gave human beings the task of caring for and nurturing all of creation. As human beings are intimately united with all that exists, our health and well-being are dependent upon that of the earth and all its creatures. We must cultivate and care for the earth in such a way that its bounty can provide for and sustain future generations. As creation was entrusted to all of God’s children, all people have an equal right to breathe clean air and drink clean water. Because those on the margins of society are disproportionately affected by environmental degradation, concern for creation is inseparable from concern for justice.
There are over 6500 volunteers working on hundreds of community projects across the diocese. Projects that deliver foodbanks, homeless shelters, support for the elderly, the isolated and the vulnerable. Get in touch with your local parish priest to find out what is going on in your community. Alternatively you can get in touch with CARITAS Portsmouth, our social action agency.
Within Caritas, these special volunteers are known as Champions.
CARITAS Portsmouth works as the diocese outreach organisation. They support existing parish outreach work and add further opportunities for people to get involved. There are many parishes, schools, teams involved in outreach.
Caritas is solely concerned with outreach, with bringing the Bishop’s vision of “bringing people to Jesus through his Church” to life by being outward looking servants.