Catholic Social Thought is the body of learning and teaching concerning the Catholic Church’s considered views about a broad range of social, political, and cultural concerns informed by and in response to changing circumstances. Here is a new book that locates the role of the virtues (as developed in the Western philosophical tradition) within Catholic Social Thought, Catholic Social Teaching in Practice: Exploring Practical Wisdom and the Virtues Tradition (Cambridge University Press), by Andrew Yuengert.
Although the virtues are implicit in Catholic Social Teaching, they are too often overlooked. In this pioneering study, Andrew M. Yuengert draws on the neo-Aristotelian virtues tradition to bring the virtue of practical wisdom into an explicit and wide-ranging engagement with the Church’s social doctrine. Practical wisdom and the virtues clarify the meaning of Christian personalism, highlight the irreplaceable role of the laity in social reform, and bring attention to the important task of lay formation in virtue. This form of wisdom also offers new insights into the Church’s dialogue with economics and the social sciences, and reframes practical political disagreements between popes, bishops, and the laity in a way that challenges both laypersons and episcopal leadership. Yuengert’s study respects the Church’s social tradition, while showing how it might develop to be more practical. By proposing active engagement with practical wisdom, he demonstrates how Catholic Social Teaching can more effectively inform and inspire practical social reform.