• Human Rights;
  • Catholic Social Thought;
  • Pluralism;
  • Subsidiarity;
  • Social Ethics


The essay argues that a Catholic tradition of natural law and its conception of human rights depend on the continuing life of institutions that stand apart from and sustain standards of justice independent from the modern state and its corresponding economy. Christians contribute to a defense of human rights precisely as members of their Churches, through their social and institutional presence across the globe. Catholic social thought deals with matters of human rights from within a tradition of natural law that assumes a common human end, a common good. This ecclesiological tradition of the human good is precisely what Catholics have to offer in a context of pluralism. The Church has a task of sustaining institutions where its practical rationality about human goods offers a practical alternative in a world where the self-interest of states and purely economic interests win the day.