Potential of Catholic Social Teaching remains 'untapped'

Charles E. Curran, The Social Mission of the U.S. Catholic Church: A Theological Perspective Georgetown Univ. Press.


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Charles E. Curran is one of the pre-eminent American Catholic moral theologians of the post-Vatican II era.

He has been at the forefront of the renewal of Catholic moral theology and has carried the torch for at least two generations of moral theologians. To this day he continues to produce substantial volumes with the insight and comprehensive scope of a seasoned veteran but also with the freshness of a pioneer.

In 2002 Curran published Catholic Social Teaching: 1891–Present, an exposition and analysis of the Catholic social justice tradition. We now have a follow-up and equally strong work. 

In his new book Curran points out that clergy, religious and laity have not yet tapped the potential of our tradition of social teaching to bring about a much-needed conversion of social structures, personal attitudes and the cultural environment. 

The central aim of this work is to spell out the challenges Americans face when they take seriously the notion that promoting the church’s social mission is constitutive of proclaiming the Gospel. Like the prophets of Israel, Curran draws power for his proposals from his sense of history.

In addition to learning from the past, the good moral theologian also looks around at what is going on now. For Curran, the formation, education and motivation of all Catholics to work for the common good are most urgent.

We have our tradition of social teaching that gives us goals to which we aspire, but we also need practical steps: bishops consulting with the faithful in articulating our vision, schools incorporating social teaching across the curriculum, parishes forming socially conscious disciples through liturgical life and outreach services, and charitable institutions meeting immediate needs.

FULL ARTICLE: Shifting Realities (America)


Charles E. Curran (Wikipedia)

Charles E. Curran (Southern Methodist University)

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