Volume 24, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2004
The Right to Reputation and the Preferential Option for the Poor
For many centuries, moral theologians devoted significant attention to the significance of honor and fama (reputation), yet this extensive inheritance sparked little sustained analysis in the second half of the twentieth century. One particular challenge for a renewed theology of reputation concerns its consistency with a preferential option for the poor. Marginalized persons are often the victims of traditional offenses against fama, especially rash judgment, slander, and insult. Bad reputation poses a significant barrier to their social participation. The strengths and weaknesses of Catholic approaches to fama become clear when one considers them in light of the circumstances of the disadvantaged. Catholic moral theology should thus revisit and revise its treatments of reputation in light of a commitment to the preferential option for the poor.