Journal of Catholic Social Thought

Volume 20, Issue 1, Winter 2023

Honoring Johan Verstraeten

Raymond Olúsèsan AinaOrcid-ID
Pages 73-97

“Anthropological Poverty” Discourse in Africa: A Contribution to Catholic Social Thought on Poverty, Violence, and Justice

A more dynamic approach to Catholic social thought that encourages a prophetic discernment can critically challenge the official narrative presented in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, which is widely popular in Africa. This article develops this argument by revisiting three key problems that CST encounters in the African reality: poverty, violence, and justice. Significantly, the postcolonial discourse of “anthropological poverty” serves as both a justification for and a critique of the Compendium. This article highlights how a prophetic discernment’s dynamic approach, through the lens of anthropological poverty, enriches or critiques official Catholic social teaching’s views on the problems of poverty, violence, and justice. The discussion that follows in the article establishes how a less hierarchical approach to contemporary social questions is both necessary and attainable, while showing that this approach is, in part, taking place in Africa.