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Catholic Social Teaching as Theology

In what sense is Catholic social teaching theological? Undoubtedly, theological concepts and arguments are a resource for the ethical reflection developed in the Catholic tradition on economic, social, or political issues since the end of the nineteenth century. From the notion of Imago Dei to Jesus’s great commission to love one’s neighbor, from New Testament teachings to the writings of great theologians such as Augustine or Aquinas, an ethical reflection shaped by the Christian faith finds support and illumination in the Bible and theological traditions. Conversely, however, isn’t an ethical reflection like Catholic social teaching a resource for theology?

Catholic Social Teaching as Theology focuses on a few post-Vatican II papal social encyclicals, namely Paul VI’s Populorum progressio, John Paul II’s Sollicitudo rei socialis, Benedict XVI’s Caritas in veritate, and Francis’s Laudato Si’. Obviously, particular historical challenges and specific world views adopted by the popes shape their ethical reasoning and political priorities for action, but these papal documents do more. Social encyclicals have a lot to teach us about, say, Christology, theological anthropology, or divine revelation.

ISBN: 978-15876-8723-5

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