Copyright (c) 2006 The St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research of St. John's University School of Law
Journal of Catholic Legal Studies
SYMPOSIUM: THE JURISPRUDENTIAL LEGACY OF JOHN PAUL II: THE USE OF PHILOSOPHICAL PRINCIPLES IN CATHOLIC SOCIAL THOUGHT: THE CASE OF GAUDIUM ET SPES
45 J. Cath. Leg. Stud. 277
Reverend Joseph W. Koterski, S.J. +
It is common to find individuals who are very attracted to questions of social justice and others quite uninterested, or even suspicious. 1 At both extremes there are dangers to avoid. On the one hand, Catholicism may never be reduced to the concerns of "the social gospel" apart from the rest of the faith. 2 On the other hand, the Church's social teachings, especially in the clear articulation given by recent popes and the Second Vatican Council, are not peripheral to the faith, not something purely optional, as if the essence of Catholicism were a matter of spirituality to the exclusion of morality. 3 Like the rest of Catholic moral theology, Catholic Social Teaching (CST) has roots both in revelation and reason, 4 and anyone interested in making CST better known and understood should become thoroughly acquainted with both the philosophical and theological aspects of this body of thought. Those already interested in the fullness of Catholic Social Teaching need to become aware that some people will find social concerns more palatable than other demands of the Catholic religion; likewise, they will encounter other people who have greater taste for religious devotions and spirituality than for Catholic social service programs. In fact, Catholicism has a well-developed - and still growing - body of teaching about social justice and the proper ordering of society that flows directly from the encounter of the Gospel and its morality with the problems of living in society. 5
Although this essay is ...
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