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Notre Dame Economist Releases Small-Group Guide to Economic Justice

August 9, 2011

Charles K. Wilber, University of Notre Dame emeritus professor of economics, has released his new book, Catholics Acting and Spending Justly, a timely resource for Catholics looking to incorporate Church teaching into their everyday economic decisions, and modeled after the See-Judge-Act method of Catholic practice popularized by Cardinal Joseph Cardijn and formally recognized by Pope John XXII in his encyclical Mater et Magistra.

With U.S. stock markets in dramatic flux, and the increasing strain this places on the global economy, the moral implications of economic decisions are brought into sharper focus—at both a national and individual level. At the May 2011 Vatican conference sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which convened to find ways to communicate how Catholic social teaching speaks to issues of finance and economics in a globalized world, Margaret Garding, a member of the justice and peace commission in Sweden, said, “The biggest weakness is that many Catholics are not even aware of the Church’s social teaching.”

The newest addition to the series that started with Catholics Going Green, Catholics Acting and Spending Justly organizes its lessons into an eight-week program designed to help Catholics make informed decisions about the spending of limited human, natural, and monetary resources. After an introductory session, the lesson for each week focuses on one of the seven core themes of Catholic social teaching:

Dignity of the Human Person
Community and the Common Good
Rights and Responsibilities
Preferential Option for the Poor
Dignity of Work
Solidarity
Subsidiarity

Wilber expertly guides Catholics through key economic questions and encourages readers to challenge themselves between meetings to apply what they are learning about Catholic social teaching to their own lives, from studying family consumption patterns to helping someone who is unemployed find a job.

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