Catholic Social Thought

Choosing the Common Good (Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, 2010).  

The Common Good (Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, 1996) This seminal document was published just before the 1997 election.

The Common Good (Clifford Longley, May 2012) Clifford Longley gives a sophisticated articulation of the principles here.

There are many other Catholic social justice traditions, such as the Catholic Worker Movement and the Young Christian Workers.

"Beyond the Slogans" - applying Catholic social thought to the 2017 General Election manifestos, by Philip Booth. 

You can check out this page for a greater exploration of the philosophical ideas behind Catholic Social Thought.


For a sound analysis of what has happened to our culture and economy, read ‘Breaking the Faustian Pact’ a powerful article by John Milbank on the bad practice of capitalism - the abandonment of the common good - April 2015.  

There's an interesting collection of articles about theology and economics in Bulletin no 7 from Kingdom at Work, helping to move us from the impasse of global economic models which are not promoting universal wellbeing.

Business Ethics

Blueprint for Better Business - The Blueprint Trust continues to bring back purpose into business by working with the boards of big business to change corporate culture from the inside, introducing a set of principles, values and vocation.

People First Economics an article by Tarek el Diwany (2009) in which he reflects on banking ethics, interest-based finance and debt slavery, from the perspective of Islamic finance.

You may be interested to know there is a movement called Economy for the Common Good growing in six countries across Europe. Christian Felber is the founder of ECG and they advocate businesses using common good metrics; they have developed a common good balance sheet (November 2014). Read more here.

On the Responsible Finance website you can find a list of mission-driven finance providers that treat customers fairly, offer increasing access and are quality assured and professional

Social investment company Resonance is proving we can all play a part in sustainable ways to provide affordable housing, tackle homelessness and fund community asset projects. Their site has clear information on how to get into social impact investments, even on a modest level, starting with community share issues.


A Living Wage Can Deliver Conservative Values: an article in the Daily Telegraph by David Skelton - 7 July 2015.

Living Wage Foundation Response to the 2015 Budget - July 2015.  


A short introduction to Christian principles of inter faith relationships by Celia Blackden, Inter Faith Officer for Churches Together in England.  This is not a policy document, but an opportunity for reflection and an encouragement to Christians living in a multi faith context.  

Diakonie Bundesverband A paper by FaithAction on Diakonie, an umbrella organisation for social and welfare work by Protestant churches in Germany.

Faith Communities

The Responsibility of Mercy Inspired by Pope Francis' designation of 2016 as a year of mercy, T4CG's Jenny Sinclair writes an article for the NJPN newsletter, encouraging people of faith to 'put our shoulders to the wheel and work together' if we are to succeed in a new settlement for the Common Good. (Feb 2016).  

Crossing the Threshold.  A community development approach to the use of church buildings - a toolkit produced by the Diocese of Hereford. The guidance in this toolkit will be most useful to any congregation which wants to develop a new vision for their church, involving opening up their church building for wider community use and which may also include making physical changes to that building (October 2013).  

The acid test of whether a church is a church of the poor and not just for the poor, is whether or not the excluded, humiliated, sidelined are being empowered to develop as leaders. We may well ask why are there so few working class people in church leadership? This thoughtful article by Stephen Kneale from an Evangelical context asks many of the right questions and is relevant for Christians of all traditions.

Ryan Cook, community disciple and Chaplain to Liverpool University, shares a moving story about the impact a group of people can have on their neighbourhood with little resource: Things I’ve Learned from 2.5 Years of Opening Our Home on Monday Evenings.

The barriers of middle class church are an issue for churches who want to be genuinely a church for the poor and of the poor. Take a look at these practical and useful observationsfrom Word on the Streets.


Bishop Paul Bayes of Liverpool talking of voting for a fresh moral vision in political life.

Danny Kruger, CEO of Only Connect and a former advisor to David Cameron, explains in this article from 1 April 2015 ‘What’s gone wrong with party politics’.

Francis Davis has written a thoughtful article suggesting that the churches could be key to a national conversation about our constitutional future, in the wake of the Scottish referendum and impending devolution across the UK -November 2014.

Leaders and policy makers who are ‘are stuck in the realm of pure ideas’ become ‘disconnected from realities.’ This is the view of Pope Francis, explored by the newly appointed Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago. Click here to read more.

Living thankfully before God: Living fairly before each other A teaching document from the Church of England setting out a Christian approach to the purpose of government and economic activity and to the financial crisis, ecological concerns and the Millennium Development Goals. It is presented as a serious attempt in the tradition of John Stott’s Issues Facing Christians Today to look at these issues from an orthodox, biblically based, Christian perspective. (Archbishops’ Council 2010).  

The Kairos Document - Challenge to the church: A Theological Comment on the Political Crisis in South Africa. (1985). A theological statement issued by an ecumenical group of pastors and theologians based predominantly in the black townships of Soweto. The statement challenged the churches' response to what the authors saw as the vicious policies of the Apartheid state. Its signatories were from over 20 South African denominations.

Conservative Thought

The Good Right - an organisation trying to articulate a conseravtive vision that is both compassionate and electorally successful.

Liberal Thought

For an international perspective on welfare myths, mortgages, personal debt, food banks, poverty and the minimum wage, have a look at this series of articles (with graphs) by Simon Duffy on what's really going on - 14 March 2013.

What London Citizens can teach the Left Guy Aitchison, 2009.  


Simon Duffy (Director of the Centre for Welfare Reform) has written this article on Citizenship, citing two essential principles:  first, ‘value each and every individual for their differences and their diversity’ and second, ‘treat each and every individual as an equal, worthy of respect’. May 2016.

Bishop Philip North speaks passionately about the Church's relationship with the poor. The presentation includes data that relates to the Church of England, but the messages are for everyone. February 2016. 

A Call to Action for the Common Good a discussion paper by a group of civil society leaders, led by CSV and Locality, who felt that a more hopeful national story of change was needed to address many of the big challenges faced across the country, to “make hope possible rather than despair convincing” (2014).  

Churches Together Burgess Hill have put a free guide on setting up and running a food bank onto the Diocese of Chichester website. It is intended to reduce the food bank 'barriers to entry' as much as possible.

'Faith, Charity & Citizenship: Christianity & Voluntarism', a paper by Dr Eliza Filby.  

From Crisis to Hope: Working to achieve the Common Good a short paper by the Council for Justice and Peace of the Irish Episcopal Conference (2011).  

Holistic Mission: Social action and the Church of England.  Philip Blond and James Noyes argue that the Church of England must become an enabling institution focused on holistic, interpersonal and local social action (Respublica, July 2013).   

In a meditation on Pope Francis’s Evangelii Gaudium, John Ellison (an SVP activist from Wallasey) contrasts the ‘lifeless language of liberalism’ with the counter-cultural message that ‘humility and tenderness are not virtues of the weak but of the strong who need not treat others poorly in order to feel important themselves.’

Looking for stats for your local area? You can use this map produced by the Children's Society to reveal the extent of problem debt in your local area. And if you're looking for more local facts and figures, they have produced an interactive webmap - most people use it to find their nearest church, but it's actually a fantastic tool for local mission - 12 August 2014.  

Making multiculturalism work: enabling practical action across deep difference.  David Barclay advocates a new approach to living together, grounded in localised ‘political friendships’ (Theos, June 2013).  

Stepping Stones to a More Equal Society – a review of selected educational initiatives designed to support young people, families and schools in marginalised communities. By the Catholic Association for Racial Justice (CARJ).(2014).  

The C of E Bishops' Letter Who Is My Neighbour? is complemented by the Catholic bishops' Election Letter. Both are careful to be non partisan and are true to Christian social thought.

The White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships. A paper by FaithAction on a part of Barack Obama's Executive Office.

When you think of homelessness, you don’t usually think of investment and fund management being a solution. But Resonance is an success story of people of faith applying their business skills to system change. They manage two social impact funds worth over £70m and provide expertise and loan finance to community groups who are undertaking affordable housing projects. When will more Christians extend their ambition to sustainable methods of tackling the housing crisis? - Spring 2015.  

You may like to read this review from Autumn 2014 of Terry Eagleton’s provocative and thoughtful book Culture and the Death of God. It isn't quite what it seems at first sight.

This blog “7 Top Tips For Supporting Citizen Driven Community Building” from the experts, Nurture Development.

In this essay, ‘Love and Welfare’ Dr Simon Duffy, Director and Founder of the Centre for Welfare Reform, argues that the design of the welfare state is unloveable and that to get a better understanding of what we need, we should draw from thinkers like Jean Vanier and Simone Weil. 


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