Principles of Catholic Social Teaching

Principles of Catholic Social Teaching

Principles of Catholic Social Teaching

Principles of Catholic Social Teaching

Synopsis

The goal of this study is to call attention to the contemporary significance of Catholic Social Teaching and, at the same time, to investigate what is meant by a number of central ideas that surface again and again in these essays. We should correct what seems to be a common historical inaccuracy. Catholic social teaching began long before the last century. Professor Michael J. Schuck has shown that the social teaching of the Papal Encyclicals began in 1740 under the pontificate of Benedict XIV (1740-58). What Professor Schuck calls the pre-Leonine period (1740-1877) will show that by a "textually inclusive and topically broad-gauged approach", a previously unacknowledged body of papal social teaching emerges.

Excerpt

The goal of this study, entitled Principles of Catholic Social Teaching, is to call attention to the contemporary significance of this teaching and, at the same time, to investigate what is meant by a number of central ideas that surface again and again in these essays. The reader will quickly note that these essays have a geographical focus centering on Dutch and German speaking communities. However, this focus should not blind us to a larger applicability to other countries. It was Professor De Jonghe's wish that I give it some American focus. So, with respect for his wish, I asked Professor Fred Crosson to do that for us.

However, before we begin we should correct what seems to be a common historical inaccuracy. Catholic social teaching began long before the last century. Professor Michael J. Schuck has shown that the social teaching of the Papal Encyclicals began in 1740 under the pontificate of Benedict XIV (1740-58). What Professor Schuck calls the pre-Leonine period (1740-1877) will show that by a "textually inclusive and topically broad-gauged approach," a previously unacknowledged body of papal social teaching emerges. Primarily aimed against the Enlightenment and, of course, the French Revolution and its aftermath.

Nine Popes from 1740 to 1877 made negative judgments regarding the erosion of communal unity in traditionally Roman Catholic countries and regions. This erosion is significant in religious, political, family, economic and cultural life. And the Popes believe that all of this erosion is due to false ideas which were rampant in the 18th and 19th century, all a product of the Enlightenment.

Also, the Popes offer what Schuck calls a "territorial" communitarian ethic. This ethic is based on the papal understanding of the self and society. That self is embedded in the tradition of a territorial community. This embeddedness provides a person's sense of identity and purpose and defines one's function and obligation. The Popes also understand this social ethic as "theological." The source is God's will mediated through Scripture, patristics, and Church tradition which is primarily handed down from the top to the bottom. The metaphor is of a shepherd and a flock.

Professor Schuck also corrects a historical misunderstanding by establishing a coherence between the pre-Leonine period and all sub-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.