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“Can Catholic Social Teaching on the Common Good Move Us Beyond the Politics of Division?”

By Margaux Kay LaPointe, ‘11

With the upcoming U.S. Presidential Election less then one month away, the Office for Mission Effectiveness sponsored a discussion entitled, “Can Catholic Social Teaching on the Common Good Move Us Beyond the Politics of Division,?” on Tuesday, Oct. 21. Based on Catholic teaching, the panel discussed important issues in this election.

The event featured three speakers. Robert DeFina, Ph.D., a professor of sociology at Villanova, spoke on economic inequality. Sally Scholz, Ph.D., a professor of philosophy at Villanova and co-editor of the Journal of Peace and Justice Studies, discussed the Catholic peace tradition. Michael Moreland, J.D., a professor at the Villanova University School of Law, discussed immigration.

DeFina began the discussion by explaining, “Catholic social thought has long been concerned with material inequality.” The Church encourages a universal destination of material goods. If this does not happen, then society is polarized. Certain groups have more power and gain more rewards, so DeFina believes the question arises: “How does one fully participate?”

“Over the past 25 years,” DeFina said, “inequality of income and wealth has been rising.” In that time span, the income of the bottom 20 percent of income-earners in the nation rose by approximately 6 percent, while the middle 20 percent rose by 21 percent, and the top 20 percent rose by 80 percent, he said. Additionally, DeFina explained that economic mobility has decreased, stratifying classes.

Presenting the peace tradition, Schulz discussed the just war theory. She explained that peace is not an end result but rather, “peace is a process rooted in justice and the fruit of love.” She emphasized love, saying, “just war theory is not a legitimization.”

The just war theory encourages “respect for human dignity,” Schulz said. War is begun only for the common good, but the presumption is against war.

Scholz said, “It is important that we think for ourselves in relation to peace and war.” In relation to this, she thinks the important issues in this election are Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Moreland explained that immigration policies are rooted in three different ideals: economics and business, social justice, and national greatness. He showed that to find work, “people should not be forced to immigrate.” Moreland said, “People have the right to immigrate to find opportunities elsewhere.”

The panel concluded by discussing particulars in this election. DeFina believes the important inequality issues are taxes, healthcare, and free trade.

Margaux Kay LaPointe, ’11, is a sophomore from Lebanon, Pa. She is an intern in the Office of Communications in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University. Margaux is majoring in communication with a specialization in public relations.

Media Contact

Jennifer Schu

Director of Communications, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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