Economists can join the brotherhood too

Fratelli Tutti

In his recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis was reported to be highly critical of market economics and there was a strong press response on this issue. This post argues that there is much more to the encyclical than the short sections on economics. At the same time, there is much more to the arguments for market economies than the encyclical gave credit for. This post was first published in The Tablet and is reproduced with kind permission.

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Taking and returning liberties

AJP Taylor wrote in his Oxford History of England:

Until August 1914 a sensible, law-abiding Englishman could pass through life and hardly notice the existence of the state beyond the post office and the policeman…He could travel abroad or leave his country forever without a passport or any sort of official permission. He could exchange his money without restriction or limit. He could buy goods from any country in the world on the same terms as he bought goods at home. For that matter a foreigner could spend his life in the country without permit and without informing the police…All this was changed by the impact of the Great War…The state established a hold over its citizens which though relaxed in peace time, was never to be removed and which the Second World War was again to increase. The history of the English people and the English State merged for the first time.

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Why Saving Catholic Schools from Covid’s Impact Is a National Imperative

Why Saving Catholic Schools from Covid’s Impact Is a National Imperative

This article was originally published in Forbes in July 2020. Previous articles on education have emphasised that Catholic social teaching has mandated that there should be no discrimination against Christian schools when it comes to funding education. This policy imperative runs into different obstacles in different political environments. This article looks at the challenges in the US, especially in the covid crisis.

“Go and set the world on fire.” Those simple words from St. Ignatius of Loyola coloured all of his works, most notably the establishment of the Jesuits, among whose leading contributions is Catholic education.

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Subsidiarity post-covid

Subsidiarity post-covid

“[I]t is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do.” (Quadragesimo anno, 79).

In the current crisis, there is much talk of “policy reset”. Some of that talk seems strange. We have the most centralised health service in the Western world and it has not obviously performed better than healthcare services in other countries. The NHS has also moved infected people out of hospitals and into care homes with disastrous consequences. Despite that, reliable sources in the UK government seem to be suggesting that, following the crisis, there will be a move to centralise political control of the NHS further and also that the NHS will take control of social care from local authorities.

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Government debt – a vacuum in Catholic social thought?

Until Debt tear us apart

The UK government has borrowed huge amounts of money to try to deal with the covid-19 crisis. Catholic social teaching and thought discusses the question of personal debt and poor-country government debt a great deal but, oddly, there is no systematic treatment of government debt more generally. Yet there are several ways in which government borrowing might be thought problematic. This post will deal with just one aspect of the problem – distributive justice.

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‘Dying well’ in the time of coronavirus

Deathbed-Etiquette-During-Covid-19

This article follows the same theme as last week’s article in a rather different context. The virtues of social justice and solidarity demand that we all play our part in ensuring that those who die experience a good death and have the support they need. Catholic organisations are working to ensure this in these difficult times, as are a range of other organisations. However, ultimately, when things return to normal, we know that, though we will learn from the use of technology during this difficult period, we still need human contact.

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What next for Generation 4.0?

working with tech

It seems that England has moved from being a nation of shopkeepers, in Napoleon’s apocryphal phrase, to become a nation of broadcasters. The movement to online presentation and teaching and learning has, of course, taken place worldwide. In this week’s post, Isabel Capeloa Gil, Rector of the Catholic University of Portugal and President of the International Federation of Catholic Universities reflects on this move and the importance of personal relationships in the provision of higher education in a Catholic context.

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Utilitarianism’s Epistemic Space

Utilitarianism’s Epistemic Space

I read the previous two posts on this blog with great interest, and I welcome this opportunity to bring a theological perspective to bear on some of those discussions. In this piece, I want to discuss a passing comment from Trevor Stammers’ post, in which he acknowledges the necessity of employing utilitarian reasoning when faced with the ethics of triage. This acknowledges situations whereby an ethical philosophy considered woefully problematic in normal circumstances, might be permitted due to the extreme complexity at play.

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