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The Catholic Social Imagination as Doctrine and Practice

The Catholic Social Imagination as Doctrine and Practice

(p.205) 5 The Catholic Social Imagination as Doctrine and Practice
The Catholic Social Imagination
Joseph M. Palacios
University of Chicago Press

This chapter argues that for the Catholic social doctrine to be social, the ideas emerging from the general Catholic social imagination must correspond with social opportunity structures that allow the doctrine to be implemented freely in civil and political spheres. Sociology itself, which Catholic social actors use as an analytical framework, functions as a normative social science that describes injustice, and which, through its analytical categories—equality, freedom, solidarity, democracy, fairness, etc.—helps social actors to move toward critical resolution of unjust behaviors and attitudes. For ideas to become social reality in both the U.S. and Mexican churches, their advocates must grapple with the endemic conundrum of using philosophical precepts from natural law to guide the resolution of empirical social problems—the inductive-deductive problematic. That is, the social teaching of the Catholic Church cannot be truly social unless it can actually resolve social problems as experienced by social actors.

Keywords:   United States, Mexico, Catholic Church, social justice, social imagination

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