Pope John XXIII, in his encyclical Mater et Magistra (1961), invited the Catholic community to apply the social doctrine of the Church using a particular methodology: “There are three stages which should normally be followed in the reduction of social principles into practice. First, one reviews the concrete situation; secondly, one forms a judgment on it in the light of these same principles; thirdly, one decides what in the circumstances can and should be done to implement these principles. These are the three stages that are usually expressed in the three terms: look, judge, act” (#236).

We consider carefully what is going on and why, attending to the voices which are unheard, as well as our own feelings, then we discern what the Gospel and Catholic Social Teaching is telling us about this situation, which in turn inspires in us the action which will change the situation to be more in conformity with the demands of love and justice. For more guidance on this methodology please see:

Love the Stranger encourages Catholics to consider the situation of refugees and migrants from across the world, their journey to the UK and the welcome they receive in our communities. The document encourages us all to reflect upon key principles and how we can apply them ‘in our own lives and in our parishes, schools, and public life, so that each one of us may fulfil our obligation and set an example to others of loving the stranger in the way that God intends’ (p1-2).


Image: Bishop Paul McAleenan at Dover Seafront, Catholic Church England & Wales, Flickr