The core principles of Catholic social teaching are:
- the dignity of the individual;
- the common good;
- and subsidiarity.
The latter three are understood to be expressions of, or conditions required for, the former.
The Common Good requires a Catholic organisation to recognise that the Church exists for the world, not for itself. Thus, CAST seeks to ensure that strategies it adopts for securing the stability of other schools. It also recognises the common good by seeking to provide as many school places as there are people wishing to experience Catholic education – regardless of whether they are Catholic children of other denominations and faith traditions or of no particular faith background. Solidarity requires that Catholic organisations recognise the fundamental interdependence of people; even when our social structures allow us to cut ourselves off and to choose to live in isolation. It challenges the view that we only need to focus on our own needs and interests as though they are immaterial to others.
Solidarity is expressed within CAST by the previously separate and ‘independent’ schools yielding their previous autonomy and becoming part of a single organisation, thereby accepting mutual and collective responsibility. Subsidiarity emphasises that self-determination is a basic source of dignity and that by default, higher authorities should not remove decision-making from ‘lower’ authorities. This principle is recognised via CAST’s Scheme of Delegation that gives local determination to each school by default and only retains rights of intervention when a school is showing itself to be unable to resolve its own issues. Thus intervention is an act of pastoral responsibility rather than simply a demonstration of power.