MR 403 Catholic Social Teaching

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Module Level


Time Allowance

4 hours on campus lectures during the weekend residentials (divided between 2 weekends) 6 hours live on-line lectures on Wednesday evening, 6 hours of self-directed learning, Assignment – 15 hours, Private Study – 24 hours.



Module Aims

  • To introduce students to key aspects of Catholic Social Teaching with a focus on Justice and Human Rights.

Indicative Syllabus:

  • The central principles of Catholic Social Teaching such as justice, the common good, preferential option for the poor, subsidiarity and solidarity.
  • Key social documents – both universal and local.
  • The response of Catholic Social Teaching [universal and local] to homelessness and ecology.
  • Globalization: Challenges and opportunities.
  • Human solidarity and its implications for our engagement with refugees and global poverty.
  • The importance of the subjective dimension of work.

Learning Outcomes

  • Have a good knowledge of the social doctrine of the Church.
  • Be aware of key historical developments in Catholic Social Teaching and of its dynamic nature.
  • Be able to apply Catholic Social Teaching to a number of key contemporary issues.
  • Be familiar with the roots and key principles of Catholic Social Teaching.


  • Benestad, J Brian. Church, State & Society: An Introduction to Catholic Social Doctrine. Washington, D.C.: CUA Press, 2011.
  • Corkery, Pádraig. Companion to the Compendium. Dublin: Veritas, 2007.
  • Cullen, Philomens et al, eds. Catholic Social Justice. London: Continuum, 2007
  • Curran, Charles E. Catholic Social Teaching 1891-Present: A Historical, Theological, and Ethical Analysis. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2002.
  • Curran, Charles E. & Richard McCormick. Official Catholic Social Teaching. Readings in Moral Theology 5. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1986
  • John Paul II and Moral Theology. Readings in Moral Theology 10. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1998.
  • Dorr, Donal. Option for the Poor: A Hundred Years of Vatican Social Teaching. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1983. The Social Justice Agenda: Justice, Ecology, Power, and the Church. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1991. Option for the Poor and for the Earth: From Leo XIII to Pope Francis
  • Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2012.
  • Dwyer, Judith A. The New Dictionary of Catholic Social Thought. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2000.
  • Finn, Daniel K., ed. The Moral Dynamics of Economic Life: An Extension and Critique of Caritas in Veritate. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012
  • Hollenbach, David. The Common Good and Christian Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • Himes, Kenneth, ed. Modern Catholic Social Teaching: Commentaries and Interpretations 2nd Edition. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2018.
  • Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Compendium of Catholic Social Doctrine. Rome: Vatican Press, 2004. Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems. Rome: Vatican Press, 2011.
  • Riordan, Patrick. A Grammar of the Common Good. London: Continuum, 2008.
  • Local Church. • Pastoral Letters of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference: • Work of Justice (1977). • Work is the Key (1992). • Prosperity with a Purpose (1999). • Towards the Global Economy (2005). • The Cry of the Earth (2009). • A Room at the Inn: A Pastoral Letter on Housing and Homelessness (2018).