Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We give thanks to God for all the blessings bestowed upon our great nation. Established as a federal democratic republic, we believe that supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives and that government is structured in such a manner that all citizens can participate.
This idea has created an incredible influence on others throughout the world. Many look toward the United States with much admiration. While not a perfect system, it has proven to be successful. With this way of life we enjoy much freedom and prosperity in the pursuit of our own happiness.
However, with freedom comes responsibility and the duty to include all citizens as well as those who come seeking a better way of life. As Catholics, our social teachings are rooted in this fundamental understanding that freedom and duty are inseparable. We have the responsibility to uphold the dignity of every human life, from conception to natural death.
Every Catholic Social Teaching directs itself to the good of the human person. We cannot compromise this principle merely for any economic goal, political allegiance, or social trend. However, nor should we necessarily destroy or cast aside institutions – as imperfect as they may be – who participate in the economic, political, or social structures. It is about finding harmony and balance within these economic, social and political ecosystems – unless, of course, something exists solely to exploit or destroy the human person.
There are two essential principles for Catholic Social Teaching and for the common good: love and justice. Love is willing the authentic good for another and justice is the constant and firm will to give God and neighbor their due. These are not abstract definitions nor are they subject to personal interpretation. Willing the good and a firm will to give God and neighbor their due have always been the Christian way of life (as well as for people of other faiths and those of good will).
When love and justice are properly understood and applied, we can gain new and clearer vision for our country. Economic systems, for example, have merit when they rightfully prioritize the needs of the person. Politicians, when properly motivated to prioritize the human person, may find more common ground.
May we continue to pursue life, liberty, and genuine happiness for all.
In Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the USA,