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The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 21, Issue 4, Winter 2021

Christopher M. Reilly
Pages 647-665

Preferential Option for the Poor and Critical Race Theory in Bioethics

The preferential option for the poor is a concept and set of ideas in Catholic social teaching that is highly relevant to bioethics scholarship and practice. The option for the poor is mentioned frequently in the bioethics literature but with little specification of its history and implications for ethical and theological analysis. This article examines the origins and implications of the preferential option; compares it to critical race theory, which dominates current debates about discrimination and oppression; and proposes a set of principles for further application in bioethical scholarship and discussion.