Mark Shea, over at the National Catholic Register, has an interesting way of putting Catholic Social Teaching in a nutshell:
Catholic social teaching is, in many ways, very simple. You can basically sum it up as, “If it’s good for the family, it’s good. If it’s bad for the family, it’s bad.” … [I]n the main, if you are puzzled by Catholic Social Teaching look at it in that light and pretty much everything snaps into focus.
This makes sense — as we see in Rerum Novarum, the founding document of the Catholic Social Teaching tradition, one of the principles of CST is that “society” at its most basic level is the family. So, if it’s good for the family (the smallest society), it’s good for Society (the larger society, made up of families).
This means, among other things, that we must stop pitting concern about abortion and euthanasia against Catholic teaching on social justice as though they are opposites. … [T]he great mistake we make is to take apart Catholic teaching — including Catholic Social Teaching — and just privilege the bits we like.
And we all have seen how destructive that can be. Read more.