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Roman Catholics believe that their religion is the one true faith passed down directly from Jesus through St Peter, the first Pope. It sets out a life of following Jesus through prayer, sacraments, grace, unselfishness and putting the needs of others before one's own. This sounds simple but has wider social implications. For example, what if the needs are those of an unborn child or an elderly patient dying in extreme pain? Catholics are expected to refer to their faith when deciding on these issues. Leading a "good" life in God's eyes depends on this because it is the uniqueness and dignity of the human being which informs and guides its perception on all issues.
A lot of research has been done on Catholicism's high-profile stance regarding sexual morality, especially as it relates to contraception, abortion, gay marriage, celibacy and premarital relationships. Some critics have said that Catholicism post-Reformation tended to see any modern "progress" as negative. However, this religion has a lot to offer society in terms of the gospel and how we should look after each other and those who are vulnerable. Each Catholic parishioner is expected to do "good" in small ways in their immediate circle, for example in their relationships, family, school, neighborhood, local government, and voluntary groups. Going to a Catholic school helps because it provides networking to enable this positive contribution from the earliest age as parents congregate outside kindergartens, for example. They may all belong to the same local parish and their children will have specialized instruction in the teachings of the church.
Here, in an age-appropriate way, they will learn about the Catholic church and its place in society. Modern Catholicism now embraces a very distinct collection of social principles. It supports workers' rights, opposes unregulated negative capitalism, defends the legal and social rights of oppressed citizens, and campaigns for fairer global trading. Catholicism strives for political balance between the fortunate rich and prosperous countries and the poorer developing countries, often putting in place establishments to give practical aid. These may include schools, hospitals, and disaster relief. Catholic school pupils can go out to these places to volunteer their help and education as an act of unselfishness and love for their fellow man and often other Christians and those from other religions will join them. This is a practical way of living their faith. In this way Catholics live out their belief that of all the graces, the greatest is love.
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