This unit will examine Catholic social and political ideas and movements in Europe and elsewhere and evaluate their impact and interpretation in Australia. It will consider key issues in Catholic social movements in Europe, outline the backgrounds to the papal social encyclicals and trace their development internationally to Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis.

Unit code: DT3230Y (Approved)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Moral Theology

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


Show competence in reading and interpreting the main social encyclicals


Demonstrate the importance of key social concepts: the common good, solidarity, social and distributive justice, capitalism, communism, socialism, corporatism


Describe key debates about Catholic social movements


Critique the strengths and weaknesses in the development of Catholic social thought


Demonstrate the current relevance of Church social justice efforts.

Unit sequence

A foundational unit in Church History or Moral Theology


The unit requires students to read closely the major social justice encyclicals in light of the historical context and the social justice debates at the time. Students are also required to discuss their findings and evaluate Church social reform efforts overseas and their impacts in Australia. The unit will outline the development of Catholic social thinking in Australia, including as reflected in the social justice statements of the Australian bishops. The lecturer will also make use of film and digital resources which succinctly portray various aspects of these developments. Written assessment requires significant reading and evaluation.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Essay 3000 words

3000 60.0

Essay 2500 words

2500 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 27 Sep, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2019-11-21 13:59:05 +1100