Is “Social Justice” Christian?

Have you ever heard someone say that “social justice” is not Christian? Today, Fr. Josh addresses the topic of “social justice” and whether or not it is Christian. He also responds to the use of social media and the discernment one should use when sharing thoughts and ideas on those platforms.

Snippet from the Show
Prior to speaking publicly on important matters, it is essential that we form our hearts and minds.


Glory Story (1:50)

Listener Question (5:49)

Hi Fr. Josh, I recently saw some tweets regarding “social justice” and Christianity. There seems to be disagreement on whether “social justice” is Christian or not. So, I want to know whether “social justice” is Christian or not.

Saint Story: Venerable Alphonse Gallegos (21:50)

Alphonse Gallegos was born in New Mexico but moved with his family to California when he was a young adult. He endured a number of physical ailments throughout his life including poor vision and myopia.

Alphonse was a part of the Order of Augustinian Recollects and was ordained a priest in 1958. For the first years of his priesthood, he worked with the candidates within his religious order and also furthered his own studies. Eventually, he served as a parish priest. It was in this role that he dedicated so much of himself. He especially focused on the Hispanic community. 

Alphonse was eventually made auxiliary bishop in Sacramento in 1981. In 1991, he passed away after a traffic accident.

It was not longer after Alphonse’s death that people began to speak about his holiness. He was named a venerable in 2016.


Meet Fr. Josh Johnson

While Fr. Josh was raised Catholic, he didn’t like the Church growing up. Then, one day in adoration, he fell in love with Jesus and received the call to become a priest.

Now, Fr. Josh is the Vocations Director of the Diocese of Baton Rouge in Louisiana. He is a presenter in four of Ascension’s programs: Altaration, YOU: Life, Love, and the Theology of the Body, The 99, and Connected: Catholic Social Teaching for This Generation, as well as the author of Broken and Blessed: An Invitation to My Generation, Pocket Guide to Adoration, and co-author of Pocket Guide to Reconciliation.


  1. Regarding “Social Justice”.

    This conversation is necessarily incomplete without an acknowledgement that the phrase “social justice” has been appropriated by a political/religious sect who have built their entire playbook around the tactic of redefining words as a means of manipulating people into supporting things that are contrary to the plain meaning of the words used.

    This means that it is not sufficient to simply say that the Church or Christianity supports “social justice”. You must also explicitly define what the Church says social justice actually is, and just as importantly what the Church says social justice is not.

    The most important point being that social justice is a subset of justice. A thing which is unjust can never be “social justice”.

    I grant that the philosopher in question is probably speaking out of an ignorance of Catholic social teaching and as such may do better to learn more before he speaks on the topic.

    However, the philosopher in question also has a long history of engagement with the political/religious sect that have made this phrase one of their mottos. As such he is well aware of their common and consistent use of double-speak as a tactic to confuse and manipulate.

    Thus it shows just as much ignorance, or lack of nuance on the part of the critique offered here of his comment, as his comment shows towards Catholic social teaching.

    It is very likely that he does not mean the same thing by #SocialJustice, that you mean by social justice.

    The fact is that #SocialJustice as it is commonly used, is little more than a rebranding of Liberation Theology. Liberation Theology, in its turn was an earlier attempt largely to cover heresy by using terms that evoke good Catholic principles, but applying them to ideas that are definitively anti-Catholic and ultimately compose a different gospel than the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    So, the virtue of Justice as it is applied rightly to social, economic, and political life is absolutely 100% Catholic, and ought to be vigorously pursued by all faithful Catholics.

    However, that is quite frequently not what is actually meant by the phrase social justice. The collection of ideas that are commonly referred to under the catch phrase of “Social Justice” are often both anti-Catholic, and frankly, unjust.

  2. Hi Fr Josh,
    I’m so happy to hear you are going to Medjugorie. I’ve been there twice and stayed with Ivan both times. I would love to go back again and take my 30 year old son with me. If you’ve never been there, you’ll come back a different person in a good way. Near Evan’s house is the Oasis of Peace with a life like crucifix that will bring tears to your eyes. I can’t wait to hear your stories when you come back!

    I was there in 1999 and 2000. There was only one or two hotels, a few restaurants and the largest structure in the whole town was the church. There was no air conditioning and once a week they had to back flush the water to clear the pipes. Everyone stocks up water jugs because the water might not come back on for a couple of days. In 1999 the water came back on immediately but in 2000, the water was off for 36 hours. We were each given a gallon jug to use to wash our face and brush our teeth. In spite of all of this, it was the most joyful and peaceful time of my life. Life was so simple. We lived like they lived, simple and uncomplicated.

    I pray you have a fruitful journey and I can’t wait to hear about your trip.

    P. S., I’m retired now and live in Wisconsin but I winter in Louisiana just outside of Lafayette with two of my brothers. Maybe we can all meet up sometime for a cup of coffee and share our love for a small and simple city in Bosnia. Peace!


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