Author: Matthew Shadle

Journal of Moral Theology Special Issue: Populorum Progressio: 50 Years

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s Populorum Progressio, his landmark encyclical on economic and social development. To commemorate this anniversary, the Journal of Moral Theology has published a themed issue on the encyclical. Co-edited by Mari Rapela Heidt and myself, the issue covers a broad range of contemporary scholarship on the encyclical. Several of the essays in the issue provide new insights into Populorum Progressio. Mari Rapela Heidt starts off the issue with an introductory essay providing valuable historical context for the encyclical. In particular, she looks at two important intellectual influences on the document:...

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Martin Luther King: The Divisive Dreamer

In his address to the U.S. Congress in September, 2015, Pope Francis pointed to four great Americans who “shaped fundamental values which will endure forever in the spirit of the American people”: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton. Although for Americans it was not surprising that King would be identified as a great American whose memory should be honored, it was nevertheless startling for the head of the Catholic Church to put forward a Baptist minister as a model of virtue. Speaking of King, Pope Francis praised him for daring to dream, and goes...

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Our Lady of Guadalupe as a Model for the U.S. Catholic Church

It is no surprise that the Catholic Church in the United States is dramatically polarized. In our deeply politically-divided society, partisan identities shape how U.S. Catholics view their own faith and interpret the church’s social teachings. This political polarization is closely woven together with the sharp disagreements over the liturgy, authority in the church, and morality that have developed within the church since the Second Vatican Council. And there is no doubt that this polarization within the church intensified during the recently-concluded presidential election campaign; for example, the unprecedented unpopularity of both candidates contributed to contempt for one another’s...

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Fake News and the Intellectual Virtues

One of the most intriguing stories to emerge in the aftermath of the presidential election earlier this month concerns the increasing prevalence of “fake news.” A growing number of people access the news through social media, in particular through links to articles posted on Facebook and Twitter. Taking advantage of this shift, a number of web sites have popped up that generate news stories that are completely or in part fabricated, and amid the chaos of social media, these fake stories are posted and shared right alongside evidence-based journalism. There is evidence that during the election campaign, people were...

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The Future of Faithful Citizenship

I recently gave a presentation at a local parish outlining some of the key concepts provided by the U.S. Catholic bishops in their document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, published every four years as a guide for Catholics preparing for the elections. I talked about how the bishops insist we have a duty to resist evils such as abortion, racism, and euthanasia, but also a duty to promote the common good, for example by protecting the environment and ensuring that the basic needs of all are met. I also waded into the thorny issue of cooperation of evil, distinguishing...

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