If you ask most people – perhaps Christians especially – what the opposite of competition is, they will suggest it is co-operation. So often you hear the phrase “co-operation not competition”. But co-operation is not the opposite of competition. Monopoly is the opposite of competition. I do wonder if any of the people who call for co-operation rather than competition have ever tried to run a businesses without co-operating with others: it would not be a success.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
“Either we are brothers and sisters or we will destroy each other” said Pope Francis just a year ago. Next week the Pope will visit Iraq where the stark logic of his warning is tragically visible.Read more >>
On 10th February, the Benedict XVI Centre held a webinar on Prisons and Punishment in the 21st Century. We were joined by Caritas Social Action Network and the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales in organising the event.Read more >>
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?Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
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.Read more >>
It appears so simple: whoever believes he holds the truth is a threat to freedom. Or, as was stated in Centesimus annus by John Paul II: “…those who are convinced that they know the truth and firmly adhere to it are considered unreliable from a democratic point of view since they do not accept that truth is determined by the majority, or that it is subject to variation according to different political trends…” (Centesimus Annus, 46).Read more >>
In this post, Maria Power of the Las Casas Institute for Social Justice, University of Oxford, looks at the conflict in Northern Ireland through the lens of Catholic social teaching, drawing on the important research in her new book Catholic Social Teaching and Theologies of Peace: Cardinal Cahal Daly and the Pursuit of the Peaceable Kingdom, available from Routledge.Read more >>