Volume 11, 2006
Eternal Profit: The Practicality of Catholic Teaching on Social Communications
For the last 70 years, Catholic teaching on social communications has sought—and largely failed—to win a broadly shared commitment to sound moral formation as the foundational principle guiding the use of the instruments of social communications. This article explores one important factor for this apparent failure: a
misunderstanding of the “practicality” of Catholic teaching on social communications. The article’s thesis is that the question of the practicality of Catholic social doctrine concerning social communications turns on this question of what “practicality” means and specifically whether the horizon of the practical includes an
objective moral order grounded in an intelligible human telos. The article also explores different ways in which the word “practical” can be understood and uses these ways to evaluate the practicality of Catholic teaching on social communications. It concludes by making a suggestion as to how the practicality of Catholic teaching on social communications might be better understood. The central points of the article are then encapsulated in a “Thomistic” article complete with
objections and replies.