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Religions 2017, 8(4), 49; doi:10.3390/rel8040049

Catholic Social Teaching on Building a Just Society: The Need for a Ceiling and a Floor

Department of Theology, Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, USA
Academic Editors: Kate Ward and Roberto Cipriani
Received: 7 February 2017 / Revised: 15 March 2017 / Accepted: 22 March 2017 / Published: 31 March 2017
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [190 KB, uploaded 31 March 2017]

Abstract

Msg. John A. Ryan was the leading voice for economic justice among American Catholics in the first half of the twentieth century. Although he was a champion of the proposal for a living wage to establish a minimum floor below which no worker might fall, Ryan gave little attention to whether there ought to be a ceiling to limit wealth among concentrated elites. I believe Ryan’s natural law methodology hindered a fuller vision of economic justice when addressing inequality. Contemporary Catholic social teaching, shaped by documents like Vatican II’s Gaudium et spes, has formulated a communitarian approach to justice that deals more adequately with the dangers of vast economic disparities. The essay concludes with a few ideas regarding how the post-conciliar outlook assists in rectifying the growing trend of economic inequality within American society. View Full-Text
Keywords: economic inequality; Catholic social teaching; John Ryan; living wage; Gaudium et spes; communitarianism; relative equality economic inequality; Catholic social teaching; John Ryan; living wage; Gaudium et spes; communitarianism; relative equality
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Himes, K. Catholic Social Teaching on Building a Just Society: The Need for a Ceiling and a Floor. Religions 2017, 8, 49.

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