Journal of Catholic Social Thought

Volume 20, Issue 1, Winter 2023

Honoring Johan Verstraeten

Lisa Sowle Cahill
Pages 99-121

Social Movements as Carriers of CST: The Challenges of Gender Justice

Catholic social teaching frames a practical, political tradition, historically embodied and directed toward the dignity of the person, solidarity, and the common good as essential to social justice. It aims not only to convert the Church but to be an agent of change in societies globally. Yet despite over 130 years of condemnations by CST of violence, exploitation, and other forms of social injustice, scourges like poverty, war, racism, and sexism still blight human existence. The work of the Belgian theologian Johan Verstraeten offers resources for a view of social movements as agents of the transformation of social institutions and structures. Social movements can provoke and enhance the formation of justice as an institutional virtue, disposing institutions to better foster solidarity and the common good.