Dignity of the Human Person

The foundation of all Catholic Social Teaching is the inherent dignity of the human person, as created in the image and likeness of God. The Church, therefore, calls for Integral Human Development, which concerns the wellbeing of each person in every dimension: economic, political, social, ecological, and spiritual.


A just society can become a reality only when it is based on the respect of the transcendent dignity of the human person. The person represents the ultimate end of society. The social order and its development must invariably work to the benefit of the human person… not the other way around.
- Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church No. 132

Examples in action:

In response to crises, Development and Peace works with local organizations not only to provide emergency supplies, such as shelter, bedding, food, cooking supplies, hygiene kits, etc., but to also provide for the emotional needs of those affected, for instance with psycho-social and post-trauma counselling services to deal with the trauma of conflict or natural disasters. It also seeks to make communities less vulnerable to future disasters by addressing the poverty that made communities so vulnerable in the first place.

Emergency relief is never without a long-term vision that seeks to re-establish livelihoods and sustainable development projects, such as the distribution of seed and farming tools, cash-for-work programs, distribution of fishing boats and livestock, and training on housing rights. In respect of the dignity of those with whom we work, the rebuilding process is led by local leaders, and the community participates in decisions that affect them throughout the recovery process.

Support to women is a constant concern for Development and Peace in promoting human dignity. Providing opportunities such as micro-financing and technical training for women in places where their rights are not recognized allows women to become more autonomous, to have their skills recognized and to participate fully in society. One such program is run through the Afghan Women’s Resource Center, which helps women to become literate, teaches them about their rights, provides them with skills training and helps them launch small businesses.

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