Catholic Social Thought Principles on Immigration 

Analysis of the three CST principles in relation to immigration 

The concepts of self and community are interrelated 

Issues in relation of realizing the common good and human dignity in professional practice 


Catholic Social Thought Principles on Immigration

Catholic social thoughts have always given preference to human rights that are rooted in natural law. The theory of Rerum Novarum (or Rights and Duties of Capital and Labor) in 1891 developed a set of principles determining the responsibilities and rights of the people. I studied that it also made comments on the deteriorating situation of immigrants. In its later phrases, bishops and popes combined various Catholic theological traditions to present 3 general principles on immigration, which are as follows:-

  1. 1st Principle: It states that every person anywhere in the world has a right to migrate in order to preserve, sustain and protect their lives and also the lives of their family members (Massaro, 2015).

  2. 2nd Principle: The countries of the world have the right that they can regulate their respective border areas in order to control immigration.

  3. 3rd Principle: The regulatory actions taken by country at its borders must be done mercifully and with justice.

Analysis of the three CST principles in relation to immigration

Almost every religion advocates treating the world as a global village and respecting each and every creation of God. But the  religion of catholic has always adopted to the prevailing issues to the world and the mankind and created or modified various rules, duties, theories and principles about the way of living life for not only individuals but also to communities and countries (Rajendra, 2014). 

I have read that the history has witnessed various natural and human made disasters that have impacted the lives of common people of a country or a region and they violently or involuntarily had to displace to find a new place to live, leaving their home land.

As per research estimates that I have read and interpreted there are more than 60 million of such people that does not have a country of their own, place to live, no shelter and food, living in refugee camps unprotected with both lives and rights. 

Australia and its native people are required to welcome and help the immigrants or victims of murderous regimes, unstable governments, natural disasters, conflicts and wars, political oppression, famine, terrorism and poverty, into their country.

I believe that the catholic social thoughts can help the people from all around the world to develop an attitude of sharing. The resources including land are limited consisting of less than 29% of the global area. Following the principles of CST, it will be easier for countries and its people to not only conserve their rights but also to share a portion with the people in requirement (Bohman, & Hjerm, 2014).

1st Principle: Migration is justified to protect life of own and of its family members.

I have observed that mass people migrates from their home land during actions like man-made disasters like war or natural disaster like famine which makes it almost impossible for the native population to sustain their lives. 

After the World War 2 ended, Australia was the land where more than 7 million immigrants from all around the world including Asia and Europe, found there new homes.

2nd Principle: Controlling immigration by countries is justified to protect rights and safety of its own citizens.

Like any other country, Australia has the right to preserve the rights of its native citizens and ensure the safety of its people. However Australia allows immigrants from all around the world but in a controlled manner. The country has implemented Refugee and Humanitarian Program that allows Refugee, Community Support Program (CSP) and Special Humanitarian people into the country who are subject to substantial discrimination in their home country.

3rd Principle: The countries and its people must act mercifully and with justice with the victims or immigrants.

The 2nd principle of Catholic Social Thoughts might look contradictory to the 1st principle. But the earlier two principles are required to be understood by considering the context of the 3rd principle (Ilo, 2014). 

As per principle 1, a country should not allow indefinite number of people into its country because it will create chaos, the nation will not be able to serve its own native citizens, and the limited resources will be burdened with large number of people.

But as per principle 2, a country should also not remain selfish and decides to serve just its own people. Rather it should regularize its territories and control immigration movements by keeping a humanitarian factor for all people and treat them with mercy and justice.

The concepts of self and community are interrelated

The principles of CST have always tried to establish equilibrium in the society by advocating, promoting and respecting human dignity, where strong are required to take care of the needs of the weakest in the society so that everyone can flourish equally. The main aim of religion including Catholic is to respect and protect the world, the nature, other living species and most importantly the fellow human beings because human beings is the only living species that is capable of performing all such actions.

The principles of CST states that self and community are interrelated using the following concepts:-


For example the Catholic community of Africa follows the concept of Ubuntu which states that “I am who I am because of who we all are.” The concept basically means individualism must be eliminated and promote the practice of living in communities where individuals have dependence on one another (Hankela, 2014).

The Golden Rule

“The Golden Rule” is another similar concept that states that “one should treat others as one would like others to treat one’s self.” It clearly advocates that an individual should treat other people fairly and equally (Guitián, 2015).

Concept of Human Flourishing

The concept of human flourishing is not just limited to live happily but it has an altogether vast perspective which unleashes the idea of process, of not only individual but the whole community goals and objectives.

The concept argues that living a good life as an individual human being are required to focus on specific factors of contemplation of acquiring the intellectually accurate knowledge in order to perform morally correct actions.

I believe that the above mentioned actions will lead such individual in developing the appropriate state of mind and character that will enable him/ her to perform the virtuous actions in not only its own life but also towards the overall community. 

In other words it states that a society will be able to flourish when the people individually tends to live their life virtuously and avoid driving pleasures by making inappropriate immediate actions.

Issues in relation of realizing the common good and human dignity in professional practice

I analyzed that the concept of common good and human dignity is inclusive of both respect and duties towards one other. It states that each and every life has that much value as one’s individual life. Every person is considered to be a holy creation of god; hence it is the right of every such creation (human being) to have dignity of its own and to respect that of others. 

As per my opinion the communities are required to understand that each and every individual must be treated equally, irrespective of its social, religious or financial background. It also states that if dignity of an individual is lost due to any of these factors, then the dignity of overall society will be lost along with it (Arjoon, Turriago-Hoyos, & Thoene, 2018).

I found that there are various issues prevailing which are related to dignity of human being and common good in professional or work life. The world is getting digitalized and the gold of this digital world is considered to be the information or data. Thus a very general issue that prevails is the difficulty in maintain, protecting and conserving the information (personal or professional) collected from various clients. 

If the professional remains failure in protecting the client’s confidential information, then he is in violation of the ethical and moral principles and should be held responsible for harming the dignity of such client by not maintain the confidentiality.

Such violation happens when the professional intentionally sell the confidential information in the market which creates conflict of interest. Other times the information might get stole by digital thief’s called hackers.

It is very important to address such failures and implement regulatory framework and the professional must be made accountable for breach of trust and confidentiality.

The professionals must implement the code of ethics into the working system which regulates the issues of conflicts of interests. It should also implement high end security systems to protect the information stored digitally.

Realization of common is extremely important in the work place, for every professional, failure in such realization will have large consequences. The whole human kind might have to suffer because breach of privacy and confidential information to unauthorized people will break the bond of trust an individual has on one another (Rice, & Pollack, 2014).

In the competitive market maintaining the trust will not only ensure the protection of dignity of the client but also help in building a strong business structure. This will be in the benefit of the common good.


Arjoon, S., Turriago-Hoyos, A., & Thoene, U. (2018). Virtuousness and the Common Good as a Conceptual Framework for Harmonizing the Goals of the Individual, Organizations, and the Economy. Journal of Business Ethics, 147(1), 143-163.

Bohman, A., & Hjerm, M. (2014). How the religious context affects the relationship between religiosity and attitudes towards immigration. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 37(6), 937-957.

Guitián, G. (2015). Service as a bridge between ethical principles and business practice: A Catholic social teaching perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 128(1), 59-72.

Hankela, E. (2014). Ubuntu, migration and ministry: Being human in a Johannesburg church. Brill.

Ilo, S. C. (2014). The church and development in Africa: Aid and development from the perspective of Catholic social ethics (Vol. 2). Wipf and Stock Publishers.

Massaro, T. (2015). Living justice: Catholic social teaching in action. Rowman & Littlefield.

Rajendra, T. M. (2014). Justice Not Benevolence: Catholic Social Thought, Migration Theory, and the Rights of Migrants. Political theology, 15(4), 290-306.

Rice, K., & Pollack, S. (2014). Developing a critical pedagogy of service learning: Preparing self-reflective, culturally aware, and responsive community participants. In Integrating service learning and multicultural education in colleges and universities (pp. 131-150). Routledge.


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