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Living Justice: Catholic Social Teaching in Action 3ed

by Thomas Massaro, SJ Rowman and Littlefield
Pub Date:
Pbk 232 pages
AU$54.99 NZ$56.51
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Now in its third edition, Living Justice is an ideal introduction to Catholic social teaching. Thomas Massaro introduces readers to the history and basics of Catholic social teaching while highlighting new developments and helping readers understand how to apply this teaching to life today.


Living Justice leads readers step-by-step through the building blocks of Catholic social thought, including its central themes, sources, and methods. Along the way readers encounter great heroes of social change and prophets of peace and justice. The third edition features significant updates throughout, including extensive coverage of Pope Francis and his two major social teaching documents: Evangelii Gaudium on gospel-grounded justice and Laudato Si’ on the environment. It also looks at the Pope’s contributions to peace and justice efforts around the world, including his advocacy for diplomacy, simplicity of lifestyle, and healthy family life. The third edition includes two new case studies in the dynamics of globalization—the global migration crisis and the scourge of human trafficking. It also contains expanded sections on globalization, the environment, and issues of peace and war.


With its accessible and reader-friendly style, the third edition of Living Justice includes new discussion questions, revised topics for further study, and an updated list of resources that make the book an excellent resource for students or parishes.

Chapter One: Social Justice and the Mission of the Church
The Religious Motivation for Social Justice Efforts
Social Mission and Church Morale
Sharing “Our Best-Kept Secreta
From “Charity Alonea to a Justice Orientation
Looking Ahead
Questions for Reflection
Topics for Further Research

Chapter Two: Going Public with Your Faith
Bridging Two Distinct Worlds
Tertullian's Question
The Perils of the Crusading Spirit
Religious Idealism: Its Contribution to Politics
Maintaining a Delicate Balance
Together on Pilgrimage
Questions for Reflection
Topics for Further Research

Chapter Three: Inheriting the Tradition of Catholic Social Teaching
The Documentary Heritage
A Look Back to the Nineteenth Century
Pioneers of Social Catholicism
The Writing of the Social Encyclicals
Questions for Reflection
Topics for Further Research

Chapter Four: The Sources and Methods of Catholic Social Teaching
The Four Sources of Christian Ethics
Universal Principles and Local Applications
Questions for Reflection
Topics for Further Research

Chapter Five: Nine Key Themes of Catholic Social Teaching
1.The Dignity of Every Person and Human Rights
2.Solidarity, Common Good, and Participation
3.Family Life
4.Subsidiarity and the Proper Role of Government
5.Property Ownership in Modern Society: Rights and Responsibilities
6.The Dignity of Work, Rights of Workers, and Support for Labor Unions
7.Colonialism and Economic Development
8.Peace and Disarmament
9.Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
Questions for Reflection
Topics for Further Research

Chapter Six: The Role of Catholic Social Teaching Today
A Blueprint? An Ideology? A “Third Waya?
The Catholic Critique of Communism
The Ongoing Catholic Critique of Capitalism
Benedict's Encyclical Treating Global Markets and Business Ethics
Pope Francis and the Renewal of the Social Message of the Church
Applying Catholic Social Teaching in the Real World
Commitments to Social Justice: Heroic and Ordinary
Questions for Reflection
Topics for Further Research

Chapter Seven: Future Directions for Catholic Social Teaching
Four Continuities: Further Shifts in Emphasis
Two New Challenges: The Environment and Globalization
Spreading the Word about Catholic Social Teaching
The Surprising Future
Questions for Reflection
Topics for Further Research

Annotated List of Resources for Further Study

I am grateful for this updated edition of Massaro's Living Justice. I have used the earlier edition for several years now, and my students have found it a clear and accessible presentation. However, as Fr. Massaro notes, Pope Francis has changed Catholic social teaching forever, not only with his writing but especially in his action. This new edition nicely integrates reflections on the Pope's personal way of 'living justice,' as well as exploring his written contributions in Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato Si'. I continue to find particularly helpful the questions for reflection provided at the end of each chapter, as well as the quite useful section on 'Applying Catholic Social Teaching in the Real World,' always the challenge for my students and for all of us in the Church.
Thomas Massaro, SJ, is dean of the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, where he is also professor of moral theology. He is a regular contributor to America magazine and often leads parish and community workshops on social justice and Catholic social teaching. He is the author of several books, including U.S. Welfare Policy: A Catholic Response, and coeditor of American Catholic Social Teaching.