History of Catholic Social ActionCourse Level: Advanced

Course Summary

This is an ADVANCED level course and should not be attempted without sufficient grounding in the basics of the Catholic faith.

The Catholic Social Tradition is often identified with the official social documents of the church. As valuable as these teachings are they only tell part of the story of Catholic social ministry. These official teachings have been influenced and shaped by the activism of Catholics around the world. The documents, in turn, have motivated and encouraged various forms of Catholic Social Action and Ministry. This course exposes the participants to some of the highlights of this rich tradition of Catholic Social Action.

Successful completion of this course earns 2.5 CEU's. Click here for more information about CEU's.

General Course Objectives

  • Survey the vibrant activism and spirituality of lay Catholic Social Action.
  • Highlight the work of Black Catholics from 1889 to 1997.
  • Discover the distinctive organizing tactics and spirituality which Cesar Chavez brought to his work.
  • Review the moral and pastoral vision of consistent ethic of life.
  • Clarify the difference between direct service (works of charity) and advocacy and empowerment (works of justice)

Course Materials

  • Required Book: Krier Mich, Marvin L. Catholic Social Teaching and Movements Twenty-Third Publications, Mystic, Connecticut, 1998. 089622936X. ISBN: 089622936X; ISBN-13: 978-0896229365
  • Optional Book: Video CD
    • This course uses on-line video clips. If you use a dial-up connection for your Internet access please request a CD of the video clips by sending an e-mail to Margaret McCrate: mmccrate1@udayton.edu

Course Structure and Highlights

  • Week 1: Social Action in the 1920ís and 30ís
    • Recall the linkage between liturgy and social justice according to Virgil Michel.
    • Review the tenets of the Catholic Worker movement and outline it various ministries.
    • Uncover the spirituality of the option for the poor and addressing racism as seen in the Friendship Houses.
    • Appreciate the lay spirituality and activism of various lay movements, including The Grail, Catholic Family Movement, and Young Christian Workers.
  • Week 2: Black Catholic Activism from 1880 to the present
    • Sketch the attitudes and practices of American Catholics toward slavery and abolition.
    • Highlight the work of Black lay Catholics, the Black Catholic Congress, and other Black Catholic organizations from 1889 to 1997.
    • Understand Black Catholics and the Civil Rights Movement.
    • Identify Black theology and spirituality.
  • Week 3: : The Social Action of Cesar Chavez and Immigration Today
    • Discover the distinctive organizing tactics and spirituality which Cesar Chavez brought to his work.
    • Review Strangers No Longer, by Mexican and U.S. Bishops.
    • Assessment if this type of Catholic Social action continues today.
  • Week 4: Consistent Ethic of Life movement
    • Identify the origins of the consistent ethic of life movement in the American Catholic community.
    • Review Cardinal Bernardinís moral and pastoral vision of consistent ethic of life.
    • Brief discussion of Bernardinís principles for moving from morality to public policy.
  • Week 5: Catholic Charities and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development
    • Clarify the difference between direct service (works of charity) and advocacy and empowerment (works of justice)
    • Review the threefold agenda of Catholic Charities USA: Direct service, Advocacy and Convening.
    • Discuss the value of CCHDís support of systemic reform.