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1. Journal of Catholic Social Thought: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Tia Noelle Pratt

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2. Journal of Catholic Social Thought: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Charles E. Curran

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Pope Francis’s two encyclicals—Laudato si’ and Fratelli tutti—belong to the tradition of Catholic social teaching that began in 1891 with Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum novarum. There have been continuities and discontinuities within the tradition of Catholic social teaching, but there has been a tendency to downplay the discontinuities. Francis’s two encyclicals show both discontinuities and continuities with the earlier documents. The final section criticizes these two encyclicals as being too overly optimistic in their approach to solving the problems facing the environment and the social, political, and economic orders.
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3. Journal of Catholic Social Thought: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Tony DeCesare

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Despite a growing body of literature that engages both Catholic social thought and the Capability Approach, little has been done to explore what these two traditions of thought might offer to a reassessment of the project of global democracy promotion. This essay brings Catholic social thought and the Capability Approach into conversation for this purpose. What emerges is a framework for thinking about and engaging in what the author calls democratic democracy promotion (DDP). DDP is based on a broadened conception of democracy and avoids a dogmatic commitment to the promotion of Western liberal democracy; it takes a needs-based approach to the allocation of externally driven democracy assistance; and it prioritizes education initiatives as central components of democracy promotion. Refashioned as such, democracy promotion has the potential to bring about more participatory democratic processes, a more inclusive global democracy, and a critical and caring mass of global democrats.
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4. Journal of Catholic Social Thought: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Roger Bergman Orcid-ID

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In Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis wonders why it took the Church so long to condemn slavery unequivocally. Indeed, the place of slavery in Catholic teaching provides a test case of change in official Church intellectual tradition. This paper examines the divergent arguments of four authors who have written about Church teaching on slavery: Pope Leo XIII, Fr. Joel S. Panzer, Judge John T. Noonan Jr., and Fr. John Francis Maxwell. It considers the statement on slavery in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in light of Pope John Paul II’s meditation on the nature of human labor in Laborem exercens, itself a meditation on Leo’s Rerum novarum (On the Condition of Labor), and offers a critique of the position that papal teaching, because it must be self-consistent, is therefore irreformable or unsusceptible to development. This provides one response to the pope’s provocative question.
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5. Journal of Catholic Social Thought: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Nicholas Ensley Mitchell Orcid-ID

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This article is a critical race theology analysis that asserts that Catholic social teaching established in documents such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Populorum progressio, Caritas in veritate, and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace’s Contribution to the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance justifies reparations for the state of oppression commonly called Jim Crow, or segregation society, from the US government because it denied African Americans “truly human conditions.”
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6. Journal of Catholic Social Thought: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Justin Conway Orcid-ID

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John Lewis and Thomas Aquinas may seem like an unusual pairing for an essay. The first was a modern American congressman and civil rights activist, and the second was a priest, philosopher, and theologian from medieval Italy. Differences notwithstanding, their worldviews share a remarkable degree of overlap. This paper explores how each of these figures describes the development of right judgment and thus serves modern audiences seeking to understand how reason, emotion, and virtue operate in moral decision-making. Bringing them together, the author examines methods for rightly developing practical moral knowledge. Lewis’s political influence is studied theologically for how social formation, individual agency, and collective action function in perceiving and implementing natural law. Aquinas provides a theoretical framework for comprehending these concepts, by first defining synderesis and conscience, then discussing ways of knowing natural law, and, finally, explaining the virtue of prudence.
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7. Journal of Catholic Social Thought: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Joshua R. Snyder

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The novel coronavirus and its disease, COVID-19, have revealed how many health systems are ill equipped to respond to a population’s health needs. While the Catholic Church has nearly two thousand years of robust engagement in health care, it has been lacking in the realm of global public health. The Catholic Church’s health care ministries have been preoccupied with responding to illness by offering immediate relief to medical suffering. It is necessary to complement the focus on interpersonal healing by transforming the social structures that perpetuate patterns of illness. By drawing on their social teachings, Catholic health care ministries offer a unique contribution to global public health. This paper will develop four contributions for global public health and analyze them in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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8. Journal of Catholic Social Thought: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
P. Bracy Bersnak

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Debates about Catholic social doctrine often revolve around whether a given theory or practice is compatible with the magisterium or not. There is a body of scholarly literature on the nature and scope of the magisterium, but little has been written on the magisterium as it pertains to social doctrine. This essay explores what magisterial documents and scholarship say about the sources, levels, and scope of the magisterium in relation to social doctrine. It then considers how the levels of magisterium can help the faithful understand contemporary teaching on capital punishment. The better they understand the magisterium in relation to social doctrine, the more charitable and fruitful debate will be.
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9. Journal of Catholic Social Thought: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Michael J. Schuck

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10. Journal of Catholic Social Thought: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Taylor J. Ott

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11. Journal of Catholic Social Thought: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Maureen H. O’Connell

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12. Journal of Catholic Social Thought: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Meghan J. Clark, Anna Rowlands

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13. Journal of Catholic Social Thought: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Meghan J. Clark, Anna Rowlands

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This article explores the teaching of Fratelli tutti as an integrating document of the papacy of Francis. Exploring the title as greeting and imperative, the authors make a case for exploring FT as both a development of the themes of earlier social encyclicals and as an attempt to explore an integral humanism for a new age facing economic, environmental, migratory, and social-conflictual challenges. The article lays out a summary of these main themes of Francis’s social teaching. Nonetheless, the authors conclude, the integral planetary humanism that Francis calls for, and is so needed, is itself a radically incomplete project. A common home is not possible without a recognition of a common kinship, yet without deep reflection on women’s experience, the inclusion of women as full subjects and agents of CST, and greater attention to race, the document cannot fully embody the spirit and logic of its own message of gift, inclusion, and co-belonging.
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14. Journal of Catholic Social Thought: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Kristin E. Heyer Orcid-ID

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In Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis probes structural and ideological threats to people’s social instincts and shared good(s) in contexts of fragmentation and false securities (§ 7). His approach to these pervasive temptations to build a culture of walls “in the heart” and “on the land” employs structural analyses but also elevates ideologies abetting the harms these walls wreak, signaling a development in the use of social sin in line with related emerging theological scholarship. This essay traces and contextualizes Francis’s application of interconnected dimensions of social sin in Fratelli tutti; interrogates its oversight of the social sin of sexism; and suggests that practices of encounter and discernment in the pursuit of social friendship serve as apt antidotes to the harmful dynamics identified.
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15. Journal of Catholic Social Thought: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Helen Alford Orcid-ID

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The connection between the use of fraternity, love, and justice in Fratelli tutti and Gaudium et spes is explored.
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16. Journal of Catholic Social Thought: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Emilce Cuda Orcid-ID

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In chapter 5 (“A Better Kind of Politics”) of Pope Francis’s encyclical Fratelli tutti, the “better” politics is based on community social discernment as an embodied expression of the sensus fidelium. From the point of view of Latin American theology, it is reflected in people and populism; creative work and structural unemployment; party and movements; conflict and social friendship; value and discard. Without a categorization of these words in light of the Gospel, it will not be possible to address the threat posed by the ecological, socio-environmental crisis.
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17. Journal of Catholic Social Thought: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Amy Daughton

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Unusually, Fratelli tutti and Laudato si’ both cite the work of French thinker Paul Ricoeur. It is unusual because reference to individual scholars can be rare in Catholic social teaching, and because Ricoeur was a philosopher, and not a Catholic. Yet Ricoeur’s work, which spanned nearly seventy years and incorporated both philosophy and engagement with religious resources, focused on meaningful communication in text and action for the work of living together. For an encyclical committed to rethinking and rejuvenating attitudes to each other in public life, across disagreement, Ricoeur’s work provides an ideal conversation partner. His approach involves attending carefully to the ethical entanglement of self and other, mediated by the institution. This attention supports the driving concern and reasoning of Fratelli tutti—to recenter the agency of neighbor, people, and institution for the fragile political work of deliberation, cooperation, and action.
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18. Journal of Catholic Social Thought: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
María Teresa (MT) Dávila

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In Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis lays out a vision for political life grounded in encounter with the other and as essential for human being and becoming. In this vision, the political projects of specific groups of people, their historical contexts, and their particular identities are an essential element of political projects for the common good. This essay seeks to understand the political anthropology originally developed by Jorge Bergoglio that undergirds this vision. In Fratelli tutti, Francis puts this anthropology at the service of Catholic social teaching, distinguishing him from his two immediate predecessors. Such a political anthropology supports the transcendent value of the person as extending to the people, and, in turn, as extending to political life as well. As such, this becomes an important space from which we extend ourselves toward others as part of the task of humanization.
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19. Journal of Catholic Social Thought: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Elżbieta Łazarewicz-Wyrzykowska

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In this article the author uses Pope Francis’s understanding of solidarity expressed in the encyclical Fratelli tutti to interpret the hitherto unacknowledged role of women’s invisible work in the Polish social movement Solidarność (Solidarity). The author then juxtaposes their contribution with the work of volunteers involved in helping the migrants in the humanitarian crisis on the border between Poland and Belarus, considered from the perspective of the exegesis of the parable of the Good Samaritan in Fratelli tutti. A postscript places these events in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
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20. Journal of Catholic Social Thought: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Ellen Van Stichel Orcid-ID

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The rise of nationalist and populist tendencies and their exclusivist discourse and consequent polarizing effects challenge the Christian narrative, especially if politicians openly look for support within the Catholic Church and Christian churches, thereby referring to Europe’s Christian heritage and Judeo-Christian roots. This article shows how Fratelli tutti can be read as a response to this attempted exclusivist interpretation of Christian identity. Pope Francis is not unaware of the underlying dynamics that lead people to become exclusivist rather than embrace inclusion, as is shown by his remarkable recognition of the sentiments of fear and resentment. As a response, however, he refuses to interpret Christianity so narrowly that it can be used to legitimize the construction of walls to keep “the other” outside enclosed communities. By taking the Good Samaritan as his focal point, Francis reorients Christianity toward its inherent cosmopolitan roots with a call to move from fear to fraternity.
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