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Keywords:

  • Bishops’ Conference (USCC, USCCB);
  • Catholic social movements;
  • Catholic social teaching;
  • charity;
  • environmental justice;
  • global community;
  • human rights;
  • option for the poor;
  • private property;
  • public advocacy;
  • social mortgage;
  • takings;
  • tradition;
  • unity of the human family;
  • universal common good

Abstract Adapted from the six 2010 Star Island Chapel Talks, the paper introduces the readers to contemporary Catholic Social Teaching and its application and implementation, particularly in the fields of environmental justice and human rights. An opening vignette explains how ideas about the common good contributed to the defeat of “Takings” legislation aimed at undoing environmental regulation in the 104th Congress (1995–1996). The teaching is presented as a vision of society centered on the communion of persons and creation rather than a discrete set of principles, with human rights and charity being the twin pillars of an evolving tradition. The interaction among ideas, historic events, and social movements is stressed throughout.