Journal of Catholic Social Thought

Volume 19, Issue 2, Summer 2022

Tony DeCesare
Pages 205-229

Catholic Social Thought and the Capability Approach
Toward a More Democratic Form of Global Democracy Promotion

Despite a growing body of literature that engages both Catholic social thought and the Capability Approach, little has been done to explore what these two traditions of thought might offer to a reassessment of the project of global democracy promotion. This essay brings Catholic social thought and the Capability Approach into conversation for this purpose. What emerges is a framework for thinking about and engaging in what the author calls democratic democracy promotion (DDP). DDP is based on a broadened conception of democracy and avoids a dogmatic commitment to the promotion of Western liberal democracy; it takes a needs-based approach to the allocation of externally driven democracy assistance; and it prioritizes education initiatives as central components of democracy promotion. Refashioned as such, democracy promotion has the potential to bring about more participatory democratic processes, a more inclusive global democracy, and a critical and caring mass of global democrats.