This unit probes contemporary justice issues from the perspective of Moral Theology. A theological examination of justice draws on relevant biblical texts and writings of St Thomas Aquinas. The virtue of justice and its allied virtues are considered in some detail. An introduction to Catholic Social Teaching over the last 140 years is provided highlighting its theological foundation. From this perspective specific issues are addressed. The specific issues will be topical and may include: poverty, racism, peace, the just war tradition, social justice and liturgical prayer, property ownership, work, wages, and leisure.

Unit code: DT2040C

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Moral Theology

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Describe the basic notions of justice including those in the Old Testament and New Testament.


Show a basic understanding of relevant Thomistic sources on justice and the other cardinal and allied virtues.


Critically analyse the significant developments in the Catholic social justice tradition as presented in Magisterial teaching.


Discuss specific social justice issues and their implications for ministry in the light of the teaching of the Catholic social justice tradition.

Unit sequence

BS1001C; BS1002C; CT1100C & CT1110C


Lectures, tutorials, Seminars

Indicative Bibliography

  • Benedict XVI. Caritas in Veritate. Encyclical Letter. 2009.
  • Francis. Laudato Sì. Encyclical Letter. 2015.
  • Benestad, J. Brian. Church, State and Society: An Introduction to Catholic Social Doctrine. Catholic Moral Thought. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2011.
  • DeBerri, Edward P., James E. Hug, Peter J. Henriot, and Michael J. Schultheis. Catholic Social Teaching: Our Best Kept Secret. 4th ed. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2004.
  • Houston, Walter J., Contending for Justice: Ideologies and Theologies of Social Justice in the Old Testament. London: T & T Clark, 2008.
  • Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. 2004.
  • McOustra, Christopher. Love in the Economy: Catholic Social Doctrine for the Individual. Slough: St. Paul’s, 2000.
  • Pieper, Josef. The Four Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003.
  • Schubeck, Thomas L., Love that does Justice. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2007
  • Scott, Margaret, The Eucharist and Social Justice. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2009.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Seminar or Tutorial

1000-word seminar paper

1000 30.0
Essay 2000 40.0
Written Examination

1-hour written examination

1000 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 22 Jul, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:51 +1000