Survey of Catholic Social Teaching

Course Level: Intermediate

Course Details

"Far too many Catholics are not familiar with the basic content of Catholic Social Teaching. More fundamentally, many Catholics do not adequately understand that the social teaching of the Church is an essential part of Catholic faith. This poses a serious challenge for all Catholics, since it weakens our capacity to be a Church that is true to the demands of the Gospel."

United States Catholic Conference Introduction to: Sharing Catholic Social Teaching

The goal of this course is to provide the kind of background on Catholic Social Teaching suggested by the bishops as fundamental for living the Christian life. The course relies heavily on documents prepared by the bishops and on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Survey of Catholic Social Teaching will cover the seven key themes of Catholic Social Teaching outlined by the bishops: the life and dignity of the human person; the call to family, community, and participation; rights and responsibilities; option for the poor and vulnerable; the dignity of work and the rights of workers; solidarity; and care for God's creation. Also included is a process for defining and effecting change related to significant social justice issues at the diocesan and parish level.

Sometimes people question whether it is the business of the Church to be involved in these issues. They wish to separate Church and state and relegate to government the solutions to problems that injure others, deny a basic quality of life, or damage God's creation.  The course will reiterate the centrality of social justice teachings for all Christians, and its consistent independence from any political ideology of the left or the right. It relies heavily on mainstream teachings of the Church"”the Scriptures, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Father Kevin E. McKenna's A Concise Guide to Catholic Social Teaching which summarizes papal encyclicals and statements of the U.S. bishops.

Successful completion of this course earns 2.5 CEU's.

General Course Objectives

Course Materials

Course Structure and Highlights

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