God Gives Moses the 10 Commandments

On what principles does a society build?

Every society builds on a hierarchy of values that is put into practice through justice and love.

No society can last unless it is based on a clear orientation toward values that are reflected in a just ordering of relationships and an active implementation of this justice. Thus man may never be made into a means to an end of societal action. Every society needs constant conversion from unjust structures. Ultimately this is accomplished only by love, the greatest social commandment. It respects others. It demands justice. It makes conversion from inequitable conditions possible.

What is the basis for authority in society?

Every society relies on a legitimate authority to ensure that it is orderly, cohesive, and smooth-running and to promote its development. It is in keeping with human nature, as created by God, that men allow themselves to be governed by legitimate authority.

Of course an authority in society must never originate in the raw usurpation of power but must have legitimacy under law. Who rules and what form of government is appropriate are left to the will of the citizens. The Church is not committed to particular forms of government but only says that they must not contradict the common good.

Dig Deeper: CCC section (1895-1902)