Articles

No salvation in fiscal policy

Yesterday, I ended a presentation to sixth-formers by commenting that nobody would want to be Rishi Sunak. Of course, in the strict sense that is not true – indeed, many of the people to whom I was talking might well have had ambitions to be Chancellor of the Exchequer. What I meant was that the Chancellor was facing the most difficult combination of circumstances of anybody in his position since the mid-1970s.

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Citizenship and Education

In this post I explore citizenship education through the lens of Catholic teaching on education. I also make reference to Pope Leo XIII’s teaching on citizenship. I show that there is such a thing as a Christian ‘idea’ of citizenship. This might not sit comfortably in a society which seeks to marginalise (intentionally or unintentionally), the Christian voice.

Citizenship, education and religion 

How citizenship education in the Catholic school is both understood and taught makes it a crucial feature of the contemporary educational scene.

 

Citizenship education flows from a political or civic desire to build community cohesion – universally deemed a ‘good thing’. How to promote, far less achieve, this in a multi-cultural society remains problematic.

 

For some, citizenship education is a ‘secular’ version of religious education: values emerge, it seems, from reason alone without a concomitant contribution from revealed religion. Although religious belief and practice should be fundamental parts of citizenship education, contemporary articulations of citizenship education minimise discussion of the difficult issues arising from religious faith or identity. Nonetheless, the number of children of all faiths and none who are educated in Catholic schools should place the Catholic school not at the margins but at the heart of citizenship education.

 

Religions, of course, are an expression of diversity. This leads to the following question: is contemporary education a means of monopolising thought and values within a conceptual framework which purports to be inclusive but, intentionally or otherwise, fails in this objective?

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The Real ‘Patria Grande’: Africa’s 55

As 2020 ended Pope Francis’s Fratelli tutti called with passion for the world to discover the energy to rediscover ‘lost dreams’. Building on his experience in Buenos Aires and his creation of a Pontifical Commission for Latin America to bring that region into the heart of the Roman Curia, he specifically suggested that a symbol of such a dream was a ‘patria grande’. The idea of ‘patria grande’, of course, has a long history in the Americas: part rallying cry of Simon Bolivar, part lament at the division of what had been ‘Spanish America’ and part radical social and economic project. Like many visions at scale it is fed by multiple sources.

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Darkness cannot seize the Light: O admirabile Commercium!

Light

It is sometimes tempting to think of Catholic social teaching as being based in political philosophy, informed, of course, by aspects of theology, whilst forgetting the transcendental aspects of our faith. We cannot, though, divorce any aspect of Christian endeavour from our understanding of God, the Christian mysteries and the incarnation. This includes consideration of the social teaching of the Church. However dark some aspects of the world are today, a light shines in the darkness! In that context, I thought that Fr. William Massie’s sermon at Christmas was an appropriate post on this blog. Fr. William is Catholic Chaplain at the University of Hull.

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Covid and human dignity

human Dignity

This post by Edward Hadas is part of a longer article on covid, lockdowns and Catholic social teaching published by Together for the Common Good

Much has been written about the medical aspects of Covid-19. Some attention has been paid to the effectiveness of the lockdowns ordered to combat the disease. Much less interest has been shown in evaluating the gamut of their non-medical effects. “Lockdown” refers to any collection of severe and fairly long-lasting governmental restrictions on the normal activities of human beings. This article is a critical study of what these lockdowns have done from the perspective of the first principle of Catholic social teaching – the promotion of human dignity.

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Character in the Courtroom

Amy Coney Barrett

The confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment to the United States Supreme Court were fascinating. These days, Parliament is not necessarily held in high regard in the UK and politics in the US is not held in high regard either. However, the Select Committee hearings and meetings of All Party Parliamentary Groups are a real credit to all politicians. Politicians at those hearings actually question each other and question witnesses in a far more interesting and skilled way than interviewers do on your average edition of BBC Newsnight, where the objective seems to be to catch politicians out so that politicians, in turn, play a boring, defensive game.

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Catholic teaching on usury and interest – continuity amidst change

Carlo Crivelli, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Finance and banking are institutions heavily associated in most people’s minds with modernity and the development of modern economies. While there is a certain truth to that, in the sense that the scale and reach of such institutions accelerated in the nineteenth century, it disguises the fact that most of the tools, methods and institutions associated with modern finance attained their mature form in the Catholic world of mediaeval Europe.

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