You Can Look It Up

Modern Catholic Social Teaching
Commentaries and Interpretations
edited by Kenneth R. Himes; Lisa Sowle Cahill, Charles E. Curran, David Hollenbach, SJ, and Thomas Shannon, associate editors
Georgetown University Press, $39.95, 464 pp.

"So, does the Catholic Church think that capitalism is a good idea or not?” It’s a question law students often raise in my course on Catholic social thought (CST) and our legal system. Why, they wonder, does the church support free-market capitalism on the one hand, and condemn the uneven distribution of wealth it creates on the other? John Paul II’s encyclical on justice and the economy, Centesimus annus (1991), itself doesn’t answer the question. So I try to fill in some of the gaps by assembling snippets from the ongoing debate that would succinctly present the economic and theological issues at stake.

I am a lawyer, not a theologian, so I have been somewhat daunted by the enormous task of plowing through the theological, philosophical, and historical background required to help my students answer such questions. I need help.

Enter the editors of Modern Catholic Social Teaching. In assembling this extraordinarily ambitious reference work, they have done a great service to professors and students alike. Many Catholic academics intuit the potential for a rich dialogue between CST and their particular disciplines, but have been without concise, accurate analyses to help them make the connections. Modern Catholic Social...

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About the Author

Amy Uelmen is director of the Fordham University School of Law Institute on Religion, Law, and Lawyer’s Work.