Margaret Pfeil Syllabus

Theo 60614

Catholic Social Teaching

Summer 2013


Monday through Friday, 12:20-3 p.m.                                   Dr. Margaret Pfeil

Module I: 17 June – 5 July                                                     Office: 325 Malloy

220 Malloy Hall                                                                      Phone: 631-9378


Office Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday, 10-Noon, or by appointment

Course Description

The primary goal of this course is to familiarize students with the tradition of Catholic social teaching with a view toward developing skills for critical reading and appropriation of these documents.  We will examine papal, conciliar, and episcopal texts from Rerum novarum (1891) up to the present time, identifying operative principles, tracing central theological, ethical, and ecclesial concerns, and locating each document in its proper historical context.  We will also hold recurring themes in conversation with the broader theoretical framework of Catholic social thought and relevant secondary literature.

Required Texts

The following texts are required. Please order them on your own:

O’Brien, David, and Thomas Shannon, eds.  Catholic Social Thought. The Documentary Heritage. Maryknoll: Orbis, 1992, expanded edition 2010 (ISBN 978-1-57075-891-1).

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration.  Washington, D.C.: U. S. Catholic Conference, 2000.

[Please note: You may access all of the Catholic social teaching texts used in this course on the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ website and/or the Vatican website.  I recommend purchasing these volumes, though, if you anticipate needing them in the future for academic or pastoral purposes.]

Recommended Texts

Himes, Kenneth et al., eds. Modern Catholic Social Teaching. Commentaries and Interpretations. Washington: Georgetown University Press, 2005.

Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Vatican: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2005.

The remaining required and recommended readings may be located on e-reserve through the Hesburgh Library web page or elsewhere online as indicated in the “Calendar of Assignments” section.

Course Requirements

Participation                                        20%

Two Analytical Papers                        30

Case Study Paper                                25

Resource Development Paper             25

Participation (20%)

Please come to class prepared to enter into discussion of the assigned material.  Attendance is an important component of the participation grade.

Two Analytical Papers (30%)

Over the course of the semester, you are asked to write two analytical papers (4 pages, double-spaced, 12-point font) based on our assigned course material.  In each paper, please present an overview of a specific Catholic social teaching document, situate it within its historical context, and assess its significance.  Please note any shifts in the text’s treatment of particular issues relative to positions taken in earlier Catholic social teaching documents.  Each paper will be due on the date for which that particular material has been assigned, and you may choose the two class sessions for which you will write a paper.

Case Study Paper (25%)

            The main objective of the case study is to afford you the opportunity to consider a particular case and apply what you have learned about Catholic social teaching in a synthetic fashion.  In choosing a case, please consider these questions:

            - Is this particular case of significance to the church and to the local community in which it occurs?

            - Will analysis of this particular case contribute to your own development academically, vocationally, and/or ministerially?

            - Does this case lend itself to a synthetic application of broad themes and concepts found in the documents of Catholic social teaching?

            Structure of the Assignment:

            Please describe the relevant circumstances of the case and analyze it through the lens of our course material, drawing in particular from primary texts.  You are not expected to draw heavily upon other material but may do so if necessary to develop your argument.  The case study should be 5 pages, double-spaced, using a 12-point font.  Due Date: June 28.

Catholic Social Teaching Resource Development Paper (25%)

Catholic social teaching has sometimes been referred to as “the church’s best kept secret.”  The objective of this assignment is to afford you an opportunity to give sustained thought to the development of a specific instrument useful to the church in educating its members in the content and context of Catholic social teaching as you reflect synthetically upon our course material.   In choosing your subject matter for this assignment, please think about these questions:

            - Thinking synthetically about the course material of this semester, what particular issue or concept emerges as an area in which greater education within the church is needed?

            - What sort of pastoral instrument, catechetical tool, formative process, or educational experience would contribute toward meeting this need? 

            - How would you design it? 

            - What theological and/or ministerial challenges do you anticipate?

            Structure of the Assignment:

The tone of this assignment should be descriptive and analytical.  It is not meant to serve as the actual resource that you are proposing but rather to offer an account of how you would envision such a resource taking shape.


This assignment should be 5 pages in length, double-spaced, using a 12-point font.  Due Date: July 5.

Calendar of Assignments

Note: All readings marked “*” may be found in O’Brien and Shannon, Catholic Social Thought.  All other readings may be found on e-reserve, unless otherwise indicated.

17 June           

a.         Introduction

b.         Rerum novarum (Encyclical Letter, 1891)


-           Leo XIII, Rerum novarum*

-           John Coleman, “Development of Church Social Teaching” Origins 11 (4 June 1981), pp. 33, 35-41

-           Charles Curran, “The Changing Anthropological Bases of Catholic Social Ethics,” The Thomist 45:2 (1981), 284-318

-           Claudia Carlen, “Introductory Note,” Papal Pronouncements, Vol. 1, pp. xi-xiv.

-           Center for Social Concerns, “An Introduction to the Principles of Catholic Social Thought” (2004).


-           Richard Camp, “The Development of the Social Conscience of the Vatican,” in The Papal Ideology of Social Reform, pp.1-24.

-           Joseph Moody, ed. “Social Movements and Social Policies,” in Church and Society: Catholic Social and Political Thought and Movements, 1789-1950, pp. 407-417, 446-459, 500-518.

18 June

a.         Quadragesimo anno (Encyclical Letter, 1931)


-           Pius XI, Quadragesimo anno*

-           Oswald von Nell-Breuning, “The Drafting of Quadragesimo anno,” Readings in Moral Theology No. 5, ed. Charles Curran and Richard McCormick, pp. 60-68.


-           Oswald von Nell-Breuning, Reorganization of the Social Economy: The Social Encyclical Developed and Explained, pp. 196-209.

-           John Pollard, “Introduction” and “The Crisis of 1931,” The Vatican and Italian Fascism, 1929-1932, pp.1-14, 138-39.

b.         Mater et magistra (Encyclical Letter, 1961)


-           Mater et magistra*

-           Donal Dorr, “Pope John XXIII – A New Direction?” in Option for the Poor, pp. 113-147.

19 June

a.         Pacem in terris (Encyclical Letter, 1963)


-           John XXIII, Pacem in terris*

-           John Langan, “Human Rights in Roman Catholicism,” in Readings in Moral Theology No. 5: Official Catholic Social Teaching, ed. Curran and McCormick, pp. 110-129.


-           Brian Tierney, “Origins of Natural Rights Language: Texts and Contexts, 1150-1250,” in The Idea of Natural Rights, pp. 615-646.

-           Jean Porter, "The Search for a Global Ethic," Theological Studies 62 (March 2001), 105-122.

b.         Gaudium et spes (1965)


-           Vatican II, Gaudium et spes*

-           Karl Rahner, “Towards a Fundamental Theological Interpretation of Vatican II,” Theological Studies (40 (1979), 716-727.

-           Bryan Hehir, “Church-State and Church-World: The Ecclesiological Implications,” CTSA Proceedings 41 (1986), 54-74.

20 June

a.         Dignitatis humanae (1965)


-           Vatican II, Dignitatis humanae

-           J. Bryan Hehir, “Church and State. Basic Concepts for Analysis,” Origins 8 (November 1978), 377-381.


-           John Courtney Murray, “The Problem of Religious Freedom,” in Religious Liberty: Catholic Struggles with Pluralism, ed. J. Leon Hooper, pp. 127-197.

-           Herminio Rico, “Freedom, Dialogue, and Truth,” in John Paul II and the Legacy of Dignitatis Humanae, 198-243.

b.         Populorum progressio (Encyclical Letter, 1967)


-           Paul VI, Populorum progressio*

-           Barbara Ward, “Looking Back on Populorum progressio,” in Readings in Moral Theology No. 5: Official Catholic Social Teaching, ed. Curran and McCormick, pp. 130-149.

21 June

a.         Medellín (1968)


-           Latin American Bishops’ Conference (CELAM), “Medellín Documents,” in The Gospel of Justice and Peace, ed. Joseph Gremillion, pp. 445-476.

-           Gustavo Gutiérrez, “The Meaning and Scope of Medellín,” in The Density of the Present, pp. 59-101.


-           Gregory Baum, “Option for the Powerless,” The Ecumenist (November-December 1987), pp. 5-11

-           Sandra Harding, "Rethinking Standpoint Epistemology: What Is 'Strong Objectivity'?" in Feminist Epistemologies, ed. Linda Alcoff and Elizabeth Potter, pp.49-82.

b.         Octogesima adveniens (Apostolic Letter, 1971)


-           Paul VI, Octogesima adveniens*

-           Clemens Sedmak, “Theologies and Local Culture,” in Doing Local Theology, pp. 73-94.

24 June

a.         Justice in the World (1971)


-           1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World*

-           Philip Land, Catholic Social Teaching As I Have Lived, Loved, and Loathed It, pp.18-35.

-           Charles Murphy, “Action for Justice as Constitutive of the Preaching of the Gospel: What Did the 1971 Synod Mean?” Theological Studies 44 (1983), pp. 298-311.

b.         Evangelii nuntiandi (Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, 1975)


-           1974 Synod of Bishops, Evangelii nuntiandi*


-           Donal Dorr, “Two Synods and Pope Paul’s Response,” Option for the Poor, pp. 228-257.

25 June

a.         Puebla (1979)


-           Latin American Bishops’ Conference (CELAM), “The Puebla Final Document,” in Puebla and Beyond, ed. John Eagleson and Philip Scharper, pp. 188-202, 263-285.

-           Oscar Romero, “The Political Dimension of the Faith from the Perspective of the Option for the Poor,” (Louvain Address, 2 February 1980), in Archbishop Oscar Romero. Voice of the Voiceless, pp. 177-187.


Margaret Pfeil, “Romero’s Theology of Transfiguration,” Theological Studies 72:1(March 2011), 87-115.

b.         Laborem excercens (Encyclical Letter, 1981)


-           John Paul II, Laborem exercens*

-           Gregory Baum, “John Paul II’s Encyclical on Labor,” in Readings in Moral Theology No. 5: Official Catholic Social Teaching, ed. Curran and McCormick, pp. 233-240.

26 June

a.         The Challenge of Peace (Pastoral Letter, 1983)


-           U.S. Bishops, The Challenge of Peace*


-           Todd Whitmore, “The Reception of Catholic Approaches to Peace and War in the United States,” in Modern Catholic Social Teaching, ed. Kenneth Himes, pp. 493-521.

-           Margaret Pfeil, “Called and Gifted: Charism and Catholic Social Teaching,” Horizons 34:2 (Fall 2007), 222-37.

b.         The Harvest of Justice Is Sown in Peace (Pastoral Statement, 1993), Episcopal        Statements on Iraq, and 2013 World Day of Peace Message


-           U.S. Bishops, The Harvest of Justice Is Sown in Peace, available at

-           U.S. Bishops,  “Statement on Iraq,” (November 2002), available at

-           U.S. Bishops, “A Call for Bipartisan Cooperation and Responsible Transition in Iraq,” (November 13, 2007), available at

-           Benedict XVI, “Blessed Are the Peacemakers” (January 1, 2013, World Day of Peace Message), available at

27 June

a.         Economic Justice for All (Pastoral Letter, 1986)


-           U.S. Bishops, Economic Justice for All*

-           David Hollenbach, “Liberalism, Communitarianism, and the U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on the Economy,” The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics (1987), pp. 19-40.


-           James Gustafson, “The Sectarian Temptation: Reflections on Theology, the Church, and the University,” CTSA Proceedings Vol. 40 (1985), pp. 83-94.

-           James Gustafson, “Response to Critics,” Journal of Religious Ethics 13 (1985), pp. 185-209.

-           Stanley Hauerwas, Christian Existence Today, pp. 1-21.

b.         Sollicitudo rei socialis (Encyclical Letter, 1987)


-           John Paul II, Sollicitudo rei socialis*

-           Roberto Suro, “The Writing of an Encyclical,” in Aspiring to Freedom, ed. Kenneth A. Myers, pp. 159-169.

-           Maria Riley, “Feminist Analysis: A Missing Perspective,” in Readings in Moral Theology No. 10: John Paul II and Moral Theology, ed. Charles Curran and Richard McCormick, pp. 276-290.


-           David Hollenbach, “The Global Common Good,” in The Common Good & Christian Ethics, pp. 212-244.

-           Amartya Sen, “The Ends and Means of Development,” in Development As Freedom, pp. 37-53.

28 June

a.         Familiaris consortio (Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, 1981), Mulieris dignitatem (Apostolic Letter, 1988), and “A Letter to Women” (1995)


-           John Paul II, Familiaris consortio

-           John Paul II, Mulieris dignitatem

-           John Paul II, “A Letter to Women.”  These texts are available online at


-           Carlo Caffarra, “Marriage and Family in the Thought of Karol Wojtyla,” in The Family in the Modern World, ed. C.A. Anderson and W. J. Gribbin, The Family in the Modern World (American Family Institute: Washington, D.C., 1982).

-           Lisa Sowle Cahill, "Women, Marriage, Parenthood: What Are Their 'Natures'?" Logos: Philosophic Issues in Christian Perspective 9 (1988), pp.11-35.

-           Cristina Traina, “Critical Principles for Feminist Ethics,” in Feminist Ethics and Natural Law, pp.140-169.

b.         Centesimus annus (1991)


-           John Paul II, Centesimus annus*

-           David Hollenbach, “Christian Social Ethics After the Cold War,” in Readings in Moral Theology No. 10: John Paul II and Moral Theology, ed. Curran and McCormick, pp. 352-375.


-           Michael Novak, “Capitalism Rightly Understood,” in The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, pp. 114-143.

-           Todd Whitmore, “John Paul II, Michael Novak, and the Differences between Them,” The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics (2001), Vol. 21, pp. 215-232.

Due: Case Study Paper

July 1

a. and b.          U.S. Bishops’ Texts on Racism


-           U.S. Bishops, Brothers and Sisters to Us (1979), available at

-           Bishop Dale Melczek, Created in God’s Image  (2003), available at

-           Bryan Massingale, Racial Justice and the Catholic Church (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2010), pp. 43-82.


Bryan Massingale, "James Cone and Recent Episcopal Teaching on Racism," Theological Studies 61 (2000), pp.700-729.

-           Peggy McIntosh, “White Privilege and Male Privilege,” in Critical White Studies, ed. Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1997), pp. 291-299.

-           Jon Nilson, “Confessions of a White Racist Catholic Theologian,” (Presidential Address, 2003) CTSA Proceedings, Vol. 58, pp. 64-82.

- Documentary: “The Color of Fear”

July 2

a.         Evangelium vitae (1995)


-           John Paul II, Evangelium vitae, available at


-           Charles Curran, “Evangelium vitae and Its Broader Context,” in Readings in Moral Theology No. 10: John Paul II and Moral Theology, ed. Curran and McCormick, pp.120-133.

b.         U.S. Bishops’ Texts on Capital Punishment


-           U.S. Bishops, Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration (2000)

-           U.S. Bishops, “Catholic Campaign to End the Death Penalty” (pamphlet, USCCB, 2005)


-           Helen Prejean, “Above All Else, Life,” The New York Times (4 April 2005).

-           Margaret Pfeil, “Wise as Serpents, Innocent as Doves: Strategic Appropriation of Catholic Social Teaching,” in Prophetic Witness: Catholic Women’s Strategies for the Church, ed. Colleen Griffith.

-               Howard Zehr, “Restorative Principles,” in The Little Book of Restorative Justice, pp. 19-41.

July 3

a.         Strangers No Longer (2003)



-           Daniel Groody, “Corazón Destrozado – The Crushed Heart: The Dynamics of Mexican Emigration and Immigration,” in Border of Death, Valley of Life, pp. 13-39.

b.         Benedict XVI, Caritas in veritate (Encyclical Letter, 2009)


July 4               No Class

July 5

a. and b.          Papal and Episcopal Texts on Ecology


-           John Paul II, “The Ecological Crisis: A Common Responsibility” (1990), in And God Saw That It Was Good, pp. 215-222.

-           U.S. Bishops, “Renewing the Earth” (1991), available at

-           Bishops of the Northwest U.S. and Canada, The Columbia River Pastoral Letter (2001), available at  Please take a moment to view the resources available on this website.


-           Working Group commissioned by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, “Fate of Mountain Glaciers in the Anthropocene,” (11 May 2011), available at

-           Bryan Massingale, “An Ethical Reflection on Environmental Racism,” in The Challenge of Global Stewardship, ed. Maura Ryan and Todd David Whitmore, pp. 234-250.

-           Christine Firer Hinze, “Catholic Social Teaching and Ecological Ethics,” in And God Saw That It Was Good, pp. 165-182.

Due: CST Resource Development Paper