CHRISTIAN ETHICS AND SOCIAL ISSUESBOSTON COLLEGE
Spring, 2002, Mon., Wed., 3-4:15 p.m.
Instructor: David Hollenbach, S.J.
Cushing Hall 332
Office hours: Monday and Wednesday, 4:30-5:30
Instructor's webpage: http://www2.bc.edu/~hollenb/
Readings marked + are in books available for purchase at the B.C. bookstore and are available on reserve in O'Neill Library. Readings marked * are contained in a course packet of photocopied material available for purchase at the B.C. bookstore. Items marked @ are available online. Some of these online documents are in PDF format. You will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to read them. If you do not have it you can download if without charge from: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html. It is not required that books be purchased; the reserve shelf or copies from other libraries will help keep student costs down. Some of these books are available at a discount through the on-line bookstores.
The books ordered for the B.C. Bookstore are:
Baumgarth, William and Regan, Richard, eds., Thomas Aquinas on Law, Morality, and Politics, Hackett, ISBN: 0-87220-031-0, paper
William Julius Wilson , The Bridge over the Racial Divide: Rising Inequality and Coalition Politics. University of California Press. ISBN: 0520222261
Jonathan Moore, ed., Hard Choices: Moral Dilemmas in Humanitarian Intervention, Rowman and Littlefield, paperback, ISBN: 0847690318
1. Dimensions of the Task of Christian Social Ethics Mon., 1/14
Joe Holland and Peter Henriot, Social Analysis: Linking Faith and Justice, ch. 2.
2. Conflicts over law, morality, and religion Wed., 1/16
@Martin Luther King, Jr. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” available online at:
*Mario Cuomo, "Religious Belief and Public Policy: A Catholic Governor's Perspective, Origins 14, no. 15 (Sept. 27, 1984), 234-240.
Monday, 1/21--No class, Martin Luther King holiday
3. Sources of conflict in policy argument Wed., 1/23
*Ralph Potter, War and Moral Discourse (Richmond, John Knox Press, 1969) chap. 2
B. Theological and ethical frameworks
4. Biblical foundations Mon., 1/28
*John Donahue, "Biblical Perspectives on Justice," in John Haughey, ed., The Faith that Does Justic (New York: Paulist, 1977), pp. 68-112.
John R. Donahue, S.J., “What Does the Lord Require? A Bibliographical Essay on the Bible and Social Justice,” Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits 25/2 (March, 1993), pp. 1-75. This issue of Studies is a valuable resource for further study on the use of the Bible in social ethics, social ministry, and in the formation of a socially conscious spirituality.
5. The role of the church: witness to the world Wed., 1/30
*John Howard Yoder, The Priestly Kingdom (University of Notre Dame Press, 1984), chap. 4, “The Kingdom as Social Ethic,” pp. 80-101.
Ernst Troeltsch, The Social Teaching of the Christian Churches, vol. II, pp. 993-1013.
6. The role of the church: transformation of society Mon., 2/4
@Vatican Council II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes), nos. 1-45 (study nos. 1-10 and 40-45 especially carefully). Available online at:
8. Church, morality, and citizenship Mon, 2/11
*J. Bryan Hehir, "Church-State and Church-World: The Ecclesiological Implications, Proceedings of the Catholic Theological Society of America 41 (1986) 54-74.
@National Conference of Catholic Bishops "Faithful Citizenship: Civic Responsibility for a
New Millennium,” available online at:
C. Economic justice in the United States
9. Inequality in the U.S. Today Wed., 2/13
+William Julius Wilson , The Bridge over the Racial Divide: Rising Inequality and Coalition Politics, Intro. and chaps. 1 and 2.
Video shown in class: "The Two Nations of Black America."
10. Bases for a Christian ethical response Mon., 2/18
@N.C.C.B., Economic Justice for All, nos. 1-27, 170-215. Available online at:
http://www.osjspm.org/cst/eja.htm Note the paragraph numbers indicated here begin AFTER the section entitled "Pastoral Message" that appears before Economic Justice for All itself on this website.
@National Conference of Catholic Bishops, A Decade After Economic Justice for All, United States Catholic Conference. Available online at:
11, 12. The meaning of justice Wed., 2/20
@N.C.C.B., Economic Justice for All, nos. 28-126. Available online at:
+Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae , II-II Q. 58, arts. 1, 5-7, 11,12; Q. 61, art. 1-3, Q. 66, arts. 1- 7. In W. Baumgarth and R. Regan, Saint Thomas Aquinas On Law, Morality, and Politics, pp. 144-146; 151-156; 161-163; 164-170; 176-187.
13. Poverty and Work in the U.S. Wed., 2/27
@N.C.C.B., Economic Justice for All, nos. 127-214, 295-365 Available online at:
+William Julius Wilson , The Bridge over the Racial Divide, chaps. 3-5.
Monday, 3/4 and Wednesday, 3/6--No class, spring break.
14. "Faith Based" community responses Mon., 3/11
*Joe Klein, “In God They Trust,” New Yorker, June 16, 1997, 40-48.
@Interview with John DiIulio, by Jim Wallis. "With Unconditional Love." Sojourners (September-October 1997): 16-22. Available online at:
D. Human rights and International Economic Justice
15. Human Rights Violation: a case study of the Rwanda genocide Wed., 3/13
@Samantha Power, "Bystanders to Genocide," Atlantic Monthly, September 2001, available online at:
Videotape in class: "The Triumph of Evil."
16. Conflict and the international political system today Mon., 3/18
*Samuel Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations,” Foreign Affairs, 72, no. 3 (Summer, 1993): 22-49.
@Kofi A. Annan, "Two Concepts of Sovereignty," The Economist,18 September 1999. Available online at:
17. Historical context of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Wed., 3/20
@United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Available online at:
*Mary Ann Glendon, "Knowing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," Notre Dame Law Review 73, no. 5 (1998), pp. 1153-1176.
18. Natural Law and Christian Roots of Human Rights Mon., 3/25
+Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Ia IIae, q. 91, arts. 1-3, q. 94, arts. 2, 4, 5; q. 96, arts. 1-2; IIaIIae, q. 42, arts. 1, 2, 7; q. 66, art. 2 (selections on law, property, and sedition). In W. Baumgarth and R. Regan, Saint Thomas Aquinas On Law, Morality, and Politics, pp.17-22, 46-48, 50-54, 65-68, 176-179, 185-187; 231-232.
19. The church and the challenge of human rights today Wed., 3/27
@Pope John Paul II, “Respect for Human Rights: The Secret of True Peace,” World Day of
Peace Message, Jan. 1, 1999. Available online at: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/messages/peace/documents/hf_jp-ii_mes_14121998_xxxii-world-day-for-peace_en.html
@John XXIII, Peace on Earth (Pacem in Terris), esp. nos. 1-45. Available online at:
Monday, 4/1--No class, Easter Monday
20. Human rights and economic development Wed., 4/3
@United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 2000: Human Rights and Human Development, Overview, and chap. 1. Available online at:
21. A Christian Assessment of the Market Mon., 4/8
@ John XXIII, On the Hundredth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum (Centesimus Annus). Study especially nos. 22-52. Available online at:
22. Responsibility toward Poor Countries Wed., 4/10
@N.C.C.B., Economic Justice for All, nos. 251-294. Available online at:
*Douglas A. Hicks, "Inequality, Globalization, and Leadership: 'Keeping Up with the Joneses' across National Boundaries," The Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics, vol. 21 (2001), pp. 63-80.
Monday, 4/15--No class, Patriots' DayE. Peace, Conflict, and the Use of Force
23. Nonviolence, Pacifism, and Peacemaking Wed., 4/17
*Theodore Koontz, "Christian Nonviolence: an Interpretation," The Ethics of War and Peace: Religious and Secular Perspectives (Princeton University Press), ch. 9.
@ National Conference of Catholic bishops, The Harvest of Justice Is Sown in Peace,
November 17, 1993, Introduction and Part I (section A and section B, 1). Available online at: http://www.nccbuscc.org/sdwp/harvest.htm
24. Just War and the Use of Force Mon., 4/22
+Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae II-II, Q. 40. Art. 1; Q. 64, Art. 6, 7, 8. In W. Baumgarth and R. Regan, Saint Thomas Aquinas On Law, Morality, and Politics, pp. 223-228.
@ National Conference of Catholic bishops, The Harvest of Justice is Sown in Peace,
November 17, 1993, Part I (section B, 2, and section C), Part II, Part III. Available online at: http://www.nccbuscc.org/sdwp/harvest.htm
25. Humanitarian Intervention Wed., 4/24
*J. Bryan Hehir, "Military Intervention and National Sovereignty," in Jonathan Moore, ed. Hard Choices: Moral Dilemmas in Humanitarian Intervention, pp. 29-54.
26. Conclusion to the course Mon., 4/29
*Jon Sobrino, “The Cost of Speaking the Truth: The Martyrs of Central America, El Salvador,” Journal for Peace and Justice Studies 3, no. 2 (1991), pp. 1-11.
1. Required reading done in full before session for which it is assigned.
2. Active participation in class discussions.
Class participation may affect the final grade by a plus or minus added to or deducted from the letter grade calculated on the basis of papers and exam.
3. Writing requirements (60% of grade)
4 short papers, 4 pages each, double spaced.
The papers will be on the material covered in unit B, C, D, and E. A topic to frame the approach to the paper will be distributed in advance.
Each of these papers is due at the first class following the unit(s) for which the paper is written. The paper on unit E is due at the time of the final exam.
4. Concluding the course (40% of grade)
- For undergraduates:
Five questions for the exam will be distributed in advance; you will be asked to respond to two of these in the exam. The questions will be formulated to evaluate your synthesis of the material treated in the course. Thus they may cross boundaries between the units of the course..
- For graduate students
Either: The final exam as described above.
Or: A 12-15 page paper (double-spaced) on a topic to be determined through discussion with the instructor. This paper should directly address one of the topics treated in the course. It should build on the assigned readings and show that the student has a solid grasp of the issues raised by some of these readings. The professor can suggest supplementary reading the may relate these topics to areas of special interest to the student. If this option chosen, a written proposal should be submitted to the instructor by April 3 and must be approved by April 10. If this has not been approved by April 10 the student will be required to take the exam. The paper is due on the day scheduled for the exam.