This unit examines the fundamental principles of Catholic Social Teaching and applies them to the moral challenges of the present day. A survey of the historical development of the Church’s teaching is provided. Drawing upon biblical and theological aspects of the tradition, the unit explores specific issues of a topical nature, including: wealth distribution, property ownership, unemployment, poverty, housing and homelessness, immigration, the just war tradition and care for the environment.

Unit code: DT2041C

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Moral Theology

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Demonstrate a sound knowledge of the major themes and key principles of Catholic Social Teaching


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


Evaluate the effectiveness of the social mission of the Church


Discuss specific social issues in the light of Catholic Social Teaching

Unit sequence

Prerequisites: BS1001C, BS1002C, CT1000C, CT1001C Prohibited combinations: DT2040C/DT3040C


Lectures, tutorials, seminars

Indicative Bibliography

  • Benedict XVI. Caritas in veritate Encyclical Letter. 2009.
  • Francis. Laudato Si’. Encyclical Letter. 2015.
  • Benestad, J. Brian. *Church, State and Society: An Introduction to Catholic Social Doctrine. Catholic Moral Thought. Washington: 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 Books, 2004.
  • Himes, Kenneth, ed. Modern Catholic Social Teaching: Commentaries and Interpretations. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2004.
  • McOustra, Christopher. Love in the Economy: Catholic Social Doctrine for the Individual. Middlegreen, UK: St. Paul’s, 2000.
  • Pieper, Josef. The Four Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003.
  • Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. 2004.
  • Schubeck, Thomas L. Love that does Justice. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2007.
  • Schuck, Michael. That They Be One: The Social Teaching of Papal Encyclicals 1740-1989. Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 1990.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

2000 word research essay

2000 40.0
Seminar or Tutorial

1000 word seminar paper

1000 30.0
Oral Examination

15 minute oral exam (1000 words)

1000 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 31 Dec, 2017

Unit record last updated: 2019-06-27 09:30:26 +1000