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1. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Bishop Stephen E. Blaire Scaling the Walls of Injustice
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There are many obstacles to the right relationships which must exist wherever people gather and interconnect if justice is to prevail. One such barrier pertains to the naming of evil or a lesser good as a good to be achieved. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola speak of “evil presented under the guise of good.” Another such obstacle is the closure of one’s mind in a self-referential way. There is little or no humble openness to search for the truth of what is good for people and for the earth. A third wall is the breakdown of genuine dialogue. A tribal mentality views others as the enemy with nothing significant to offer. As a Church and as individual members we are challenged to overcome and remove any barrier by building right relationships. With God we can break through any barrier; with God we can scale any wall (Ps.18:30).
2. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Sister Simone Campbell, SSS Catholic Social Justice and NETWORK’s Political Ministry
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After more than forty-five years educating, organizing, and lobbying on Capitol Hill, NETWORK has come to know that the fullest understanding of Catholic Social Justice is in the contemplative moment of reflecting on lived experience and the stories of those around us. Catholic Social Justice is grounded in understanding of the scripture, the documents of Catholic Social Teaching, the teachings of popes and bishops on social issues, and the reality of lived experience. In effect, Catholic Social Justice allows a person to live out a “political ministry”—to be attentive to the needs of people who are suffering and have their voices heard by people in power, as well as minister to those in power who are frequently more lonely and burdened by their position than it would appear. With Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, at the helm, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice has grounded their Catholic Social Justice ministry in faith teaching, in contemplation, and in concern for the needs of all, from people at the margins of society to those in power.
3. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Dr. Kim Lamberty Preferential Option for the Poor Reconsidered
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This article contends that churches in the United States have in large measure inter­preted the principle of preferential option for the poor in a way that bestows more benefits on the wealthy than on the poor. In support of that contention, the author examines the original meaning of the option for the poor principle, which has its roots in the reflections of theologians working in poverty-stricken contexts. She briefly surveys the work of Gustavo Gutierrez and Jon Sobrino—two theologians who have led Church thinking on poverty—and then suggests a revised praxis of preferential option for the poor for Catholics in the United States.
4. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Giulia McPherson Defending the Rights of Refugees: A Catholic Cause
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Globally, the number of people forced to flee their homes due to conflict or persecution has reached a record high of more than 65 million. Catholic Social Teaching presents a framework through which this critical issue of our time can be addressed. A close examination of the Gospel, Papal teachings, and the example of Pope Francis himself, demonstrate that we are called to welcome the stranger in whatever form that may take. Whether through direct service and advocacy by organizations like Jesuit Refugee Service, or through personal reflection, each of us is called to take action.
5. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Thomas Mulloy, MSSA, LSW Applying Catholic Social Teaching on Labor to Everyday Life to Advance the Work of Economic Justice
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The erosion of the quantity and quality of decent work in the American economy has had profound impact on low-income families and communities. The causes of the shift are misunderstood, and the consequences are underappreciated, but Catholic Social Teaching on Labor can provide clarity. A renewed commitment its application in some aspects of everyday life can provide Catholics with a new appreciation for the challenges faced by vulnerable people. A number of strategies to do this are considered.
6. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Sister Helene O’Sullivan, MM The Prophetic Voice of the Church in the Context of Evolutionary Consciousness
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According to the author of this article, Catholic Social Teaching is the prophetic voice of the Church. As such it needs to be reframed for today’s world within the emerging worldview of integral consciousness. Our personal and collective consciousness (often referred to as our culture) evolve in identifiable stages towards more inclusive, cooperative and caring behavior. Integral consciousness enables greater adaptability, agency and the ability to solve more complex global problems. In order to move from a fractured world to wholeness we must come together around a vision of the One Earth Community. The article concludes with six thoughts on how to live into the deeper consciousness necessary for working for social justice.
7. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Kathy Saile, MSW The Vocation
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Everyone has a vocation to which God is calling them. This vocation reflects the skills and passion of the individual. A vocation is not a specific job or career and needs to be discerned through prayer and reflection. In addition, one needs to form one’s conscience. The process of discernment and forming one’s conscience needs to occur throughout one’s lifetime. The author explores the process by sharing her own journey of discerning her vocation as a practitioner of Catholic Social Teaching. Through the forming of her conscience and through prayer, she has lived out this vocation working both for the institutional Church and for secular organizations with a focus on social justice, domestic poverty and public policy.
8. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
William J. Byron, S.J. Response and Reflections on More to Come
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This article provides a summary overview of the essays that constitute the inaugural issue of Praxis. I also add an extended topical agenda for future work on Catholic Social Thought, pointing out concerns hat have received insufficient attention in the past.
9. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Paul Kidder Orcid-ID Jane Jacobs: Subsidiarity in the City
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Jane Jacobs’s classic 1961 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, famously indicted a vision of urban development based on large scale projects, low population densities, and automobile-centered transportation infrastructure by showing that small plans, mixed uses, architectural preservation, and district autonomy contributed better to urban vitality and thus the appeal of cities. Implicit in her thinking is something that could be called “the urban good,” and recognizable within her vision of the good is the principle of subsidiarity—the idea that governance is best when it is closest to the people it serves and the needs it addresses—a principle found in Catholic papal encyclicals and related documents. Jacobs’s work illustrates and illuminates the principle of subsidiarity, not merely through her writings on cities, but also through her activism in New York City, which was influential in altering the direction of that city’s subsequent planning and development.
10. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Andrew Herr, Jason King Does Service and Volunteering Affect Catholic Identity?
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While many believe that service should be connected to the religious identity of Catholic colleges and universities, little research has been done to see if this is in fact the case. To test this commonly-held belief, we surveyed students at and gathered information about twenty-six different Catholic campuses in the United States. We find no correlation between students’ frequency of service and their perception of Catholic identity. In addition, we find that students perceive their school to be less Catholic the more institutions link service to Catholicism. The only characteristic of service that is positively correlated with Catholic identity is the percentage of service learning courses offered. In other words, students do not see anything intrinsically Catholic about volunteering, but rather that Catholicism means that you should volunteer more. We believe this suggests how Catholic colleges and universities can link service to their Catholic identity.
11. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Marcus Mescher Reclaiming Grace in Catholic Social Thought
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Grace is hardly mentioned in the canon of Catholic social teaching. When grace is invoked, it is typically discussed as a gift for personal sanctification, but not a relationship empowering human and divine cooperation for social and ecological responsibility. This essay examines the limited treatment of grace in Catholic social teaching outside of Familiaris consortio and Amoris laetitia before proposing that the traditional emphasis on grace at work in family life can be a model for more intentionally partnering with grace beyond family life. Reclaiming grace as a relationship for cooperation provides a framework for practicing the principles of Catholic social teaching in order to effect change in family life, in local faith communities, and through Catholic NGOs that forge international connections. Grace thus inspires a template for moral formation from the ground up that emphasizes shared practices for participating in “social grace” (in contrast to “social sin”) for integral flourishing as envisioned in Catholic social teaching.
12. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Bob Pennington The Cardijn Canon: A Method of Theological Praxis in Contemporary Catholic Social Teaching
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The author situates the question of praxis in theological methodology and Catholic Social Teaching in relation to teaching ethics courses in Catholic higher education. The author uses a genealogical strategy to show that Cardinal Joseph Cardijn’s See-Judge-Act methodology of theological praxis has become canonical in Catholic Social Teaching. The author shows that advocates of Cardijn’s methodology include Pope Pius XI, Pope Pius XII, Saint Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI, and Pope Francis. In addition, the author shows that Cardijn’s methodology is used by the committee that drafts Schema XIII, the Conciliar document that becomes Gaudium et Spes. Besides its use in a Western European Catholic Context the author explains that Cardijn’s methodology of theological praxis is appropriated at the Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano in Medellin, Colombia (1968); Puebla, Mexico (1979); and Aparecida, Brazil (2007). The author also explains how Cardijn’s methodology of theological praxis is integrated in ethics courses in order to develop students’ ability to discern whether a current business, healthcare, or environmental practice is a sign of the kingdom of God or the anti-kingdom. For the author, Cardijn’s methodology of theological praxis leads students to new insight about realities they are unaware and introduces them to the countercultural wisdom of the Catholic intellectual tradition, as well as the importance of moving beyond critical theological reflection and into the realm of social action.
13. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 1 > Issue: 2
Andrew Staron Centered Toward the Margins: Teaching Pope Francis’s Revolution of Mercy
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In his 2017 TED Talk, Pope Francis invited his viewers to a “revolution of tenderness” through “love that comes close and becomes real.” Responding to that call, this article argues that Francis’s assertion that “mercy is doctrine” means that the substance of theology and its teaching requires a conversion of the minds and hearts of both students and teachers to paths wherein one might encounter the God of Mercy. After touching upon particular challenges facing teachers of theology in an undergraduate classroom, the article outlines Francis’s theological framework which both stands upon the tradition of Ignatian spirituality and justifies his using the weight of the papacy to reorient the church’s vision toward mercy and the margins. Finally, this article considers Pope Francis’s pastoral call to mercy theology might nourish undergraduate students’ imaginations and make merciful action intelligible, spiritually meaningful, and attractive.
14. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Kathleen Bonnette, Th.D. Orcid-ID Partnership as a Model for Mission: Lessons on Solidarity from Augustine and the School Sisters of Notre Dame
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This paper highlights the partnership approach to mission adopted by the Atlantic-Midwest Province of the School Sisters of Notre Dame (AMSSND), which is working to empower the people of Haiti through collaboration with Beyond Borders, an established NGO in the region. I explore this approach in light of the spirituality of St. Augustine that grounds the charism of unity of the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND). Examining the connections between Augustine and the mission and ministry of the SSND community, through reflecting on the ways partnership has been an effective means of engaging the SSND mission of facilitating unity, or “oneness,” illuminates helpful ways to conceive of solidarity.
15. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Alexandre A. Martins Orcid-ID Simone Weil’s Radical Ontology of Rootedness: Natural and Supernatural Justices
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This paper argues that Simone Weil developed an anthropology of the human condition that is a radical ontology of the human spirit rooted in reality. Weil begins her account from the real, but this real is not only the historical or social reality. It is also what is true about the human person as a created being in connection with the transcendent reality. She believes that affliction reveals the human condition and provides an openness to transcendence in which the individual finds the meaning of the human operation of spirit. Therefore, Weil’s radical ontology is based on a philosophy of the human being as an agent rooted in the world. In order to be rooted, a human being needs decreation (the creation of a new human) and incarnation (cross and love in the world). In her radical ontology derived from attention to the real, Weil argues for an active incarnation in social reality that recognizes others, especially the unfortunates, for the purpose of empowering them and promoting their dignity. Her radical ontology incarnates the human in the world between necessity and good, that is, between the natural and the supernatural.
16. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Jeffrey S. Mayer “To Educate for the Practice of Freedom”: The Emergence of Mutuality in the Liminal Space of the Academy
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Sounding the call for an integral human development, CST invites considering the subsidiary nature of relationships at multiple levels of society as a spiritual matter. Drawing from diverse sources in theology, relational sociology, and evolutionary biology, this essay explores Catholic educational institutions and their role in fostering the moral agency of students and faculty. In the face of epidemiological evidence of the social ills of economic inequality, the question becomes: Do we have the freedom to imagine an alternative to current trends in the commodification of education? The partnership of Catholic Relief Services and the university offers hope as a relational subject from which emerges the good of mutuality. Integrating student experiences from the classroom to the field, this essay advances the development of a “pedagogy of liminal mutuality” in the reciprocal practices of solidarity-building at and from the margins.
17. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
David M. Leege, Michael Sweikar From Associational Value to Complementary Synergy: Eighteen Years of NGO-University Partnership
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Since 2000, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame) have collaborated on joint programs while growing their institutional partnership. The relationship started with capacity strengthening of CRS peacebuilding staff and partners by Notre Dame faculty, based on common values enshrined in Catholic social teaching. Over time, the collaboration expanded as staff at each institution developed a better understanding of each other’s respective objectives, and experienced increasing mutual benefit. The partnership grew further as both institutions responded to external pressures from donors for universities and NGOs to work more closely together for greater field impact and evidence generation. Lessons learned from the partnership helped to guide both institution’s interactions with each other. From the initial task-oriented collaboration (capacity strengthening) that provided the institutions with associational value, CRS and Notre Dame gradually progressed toward deeper phases of partnership including resource transfer, interaction and achieving synergistic value.
18. Praxis: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Faith and Justice: Volume > 2 > Issue: 1
Arthur Purcaro, OSA The Practice of Social Justice: An Augustinian Response to Contemporary Social Issues
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This paper presents the “signs of the times” methodology and proposes its use as an appropriate pedagogical tool for contemporary practical theology, particularly in the area of social justice. The author presents three examples of the application of the method by students in theological formation for the Augustinian Order, and also provides an explanation of the method’s suitability for other Catholic traditions and Christian denominations.