It is increasingly acknowledged, indeed by some surprising sources, that Catholic Social Teaching offers one of the most persuasive and morally interesting responses to the recent financial crisis.
That’s Anne Rowlands, of King’s College in London, in an article posted this month at Thinking Faith: The Online Journal of the British Jesuits. The article is called “Catholic Social Teaching: Not-so-secret anymore?”, and the “surprising sources” Rowlands has in mind are leading British politicians and economists. She writes that a growing number of them are beginning to recognize Catholic social teaching as an important resource for moving beyond the economic crisis. They see that “CST envisions a world of value, relationship and social creativity beyond the narrow confines of a framework couched primarily in the language of profit, marketization, choice and endless consumption.”
The crisis has presented the church, Rowlands says, with a great opportunity “to make the case for a Catholic vision of economic life” because “many of the alternative narratives have run into moral cul-de-sacs and there is a greater openness to a degree of reflection on the last three or four decades of policy-making, its social impact and the model of the human person at its heart.”
That’s exciting stuff. And there’s more, too. I was especially interested in her comments about the way CST has provided concrete resources for helping the British political Left to “re-orient its politics,” the “fundamental coherence” of the various points of Catholic social teaching, and the need for discussion of “structures of virtue” to compliment CST’s awareness of “structures of sin” in society.