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St Mary’s Theologians Publish New Books on Catholic Social Teaching

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Academics from the Institute of Theology and Liberal Arts at St Mary’s University, Twickenham have published two new books in recent months exploring Catholic social teaching.

Dr Theo Hawksley, who teaches on the Catholic Social Teaching masters at St Mary’s, published her book Peacebuilding and Catholic Social Teaching last autumn with the University of Notre Dame Press. The book aims to make the tradition of Catholic social teaching better known and understood, and to encourage its continued development in light of the lived experience of Catholics engaged in peacebuilding and conflict transformation worldwide.

The first part of the book analyses the development of Catholic social teaching on peace from the time of the early Church fathers to the present, drawing attention to points of tension and areas in need of development. The second part engages in constructive theological work, exploring how the existing tradition might develop in order to support the efforts of Catholic peacebuilders and respond to the distinctive challenges of contemporary conflict.

Fellow St Mary’s Catholic social teaching academic Edward Hadas’s new book Counsels of Imperfection: Thinking through Catholic Social Teaching was also published in December. The book argues that for more than a century, the teaching authority of the Catholic Church has attempted to walk along with the modern world, criticizing what is bad and praising what is good, and describes the current state of that fairly bumpy journey.

Through its eleven chapters, the book explores a broad range of topics including politics, economics, and sociological debates, through to Pope Francis’s teachings. For each topic, the book provides biblical, historical and a broad philosophical background drawing on Thomas Aquinas and G. W. F Hegel often. The book aims to explain what the Church really says, but also how it got to its current position and who it is arguing with, pointing out both strong-points and imperfections in the teaching.

Speaking of the books, Programme Director for Catholic Social Teaching MA Revd Dr Ashley Beck said, “These two new volumes are important additions to the discourse around Catholic social teaching. They serve as detailed introductions and explorations of debates surrounding Catholic social teaching, which will be of interest to people exploring the subject for the first time as well as academics in the field. We are proud that both authors teach at St Mary’s and students on our Catholic Social Teaching MA are lucky to be taught by scholars of such calibre.”

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