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Catholic Social Learning

Educating the Faith That Does Justice

Roger Bergman

Publication Year: 2011

The canon for Catholic social teaching spreads to six hundred pages,yet fewer than two pages are devoted to Catholic social learning or pedagogy. In this long-needed book, Roger Bergman begins to correct that gross imbalance. He asks: How do we educate (lead out) the faith that does justice? How is commitment to social justice provoked and sustained over a lifetime? To address these questions, Bergman weaves what he has learned from thirty years as a faith-that-does-justice educator with the best of current scholarship and historical authorities. He reflects on personal experience; the experience of Church leaders, lay activists, and university students; and the few words the tradition itself has to say about a pedagogy for justice.Catholic Social Learning explores the foundations of this pedagogy, demonstrates its practical applications, and illuminates why and how it is fundamental to Catholic higher education. Part I identifies personal encounters with the poor and marginalized as key to stimulating a hunger and thirst for justice. Part II presents three applications of Catholic social learning: cross-cultural immersion as illustrated by Creighton University's Semestre Dominicano program; community-based service learning; and the teaching of moral exemplars such as Dorothy Day, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and Archbishop Oscar Romero. Part III then elucidates how a pedagogy for justice applies to the traditional liberal educational mission of the Catholic university, and how it can be put into action.Catholic Social Learning is both a valuable, practical resource for Christian educators and an important step forward in the development of a transformative pedagogy.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-x

Many years ago, I asked the students in an introductory Christian ethics course, ‘‘Why are there poor people?’’ After some moments of uncomfortable silence, one student threw caution to the wind, raised his hand, and volunteered, ‘‘To clean up after us?’’ More recently, one of my students acknowledged...

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pp. xi-xiii

As the articulation of what I have learned from 30 years as a faiththat- does-justice educator, this is a very personal book. Many friends and colleagues who have contributed in one way or another to that three decades of my own learning are named in the book, especially in the ‘‘autobiography’’ in Chapter 1. I...


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pp. 1

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1. Personal Encounter: The Only Way

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pp. 3-20

The inspiration behind Catholic Social Learning: Educating the Faith That Does Justice flows from three principal wellsprings: (1) my 30 years as a reflective practitioner of justice education in various faith-related settings; (2) my awareness (for almost as long) that the tradition of Catholic social teaching (hereafter abbreviated...

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2. Ignatian Pedagogy and the Faith That Does Justice

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pp. 21-38

The Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), the first teaching order in the Church,1 is known for producing both master teachers and, in the second half of the sixteenth century, the world’s first school system, ‘‘one of the most successful . . . the Western world has ever seen.’’2 Although Ignatius of Loyola had...

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3. Teaching Justice After MacIntyre: Toward a Catholic Philosophy of Moral Education

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pp. 39-56

Thirty years into a career as a social justice educator, half of that directing and teaching in a Justice and Peace Studies program of a Catholic university, I have come to think of myself as something of an Aristotelian. I have discovered that my understanding of justice pedagogy is better articulated, at least...


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pp. 57

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4. Immersion, Empathy, and Perspective Transformation: Semestre Dominicano, 1998

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pp. 59-76

On Good Friday, 1998, 15 Creighton University undergraduates, two professors and their two teenage children, the program director and his assistant, with two guide/interpreters, participated in a uniquely powerful version of the traditional Catholic...

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5. ‘‘We Make the Road by Stumbling’’: Aristotle, Service-Learning, and Justice

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pp. 77-91

In Pedagogy of Hope, Paulo Freire relates ‘‘the most bruising lesson’’1 he had received in his life as an educator. Early in his career, he was giving a talk in Recife, in the extremely impoverished northeast of Brazil, on Jean Piaget’s The Moral Judgment of the Child.2 At the conclusion, ‘‘a man of about forty, still...

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6. Meetings with Remarkable Men and Women: On Teaching Moral Exemplars

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pp. 92-116

Since the first offering in the fall of 1995, I have taught some 50 sections of an upper-division undergraduate seminar titled ‘‘Faith and Moral Development,’’ a required course in the Justice and Peace Studies Program, which I direct. The course is innovative or at least unusual in three ways. First, it...


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pp. 117

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7. Education for Justice and the Catholic University: Innovation or Development? An Argument from Tradition

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pp. 119-136

The previous chapter concludes Part II, in which the foundational insights and themes developed in the three chapters of Part I—on personal encounter, the Pedagogical Circle, and Catholic justice pedagogy as a MacIntyrian social practice—were seen to be variously at work in three justice pedagogies in university...

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8. Aristotle, Ignatius, and the Painful Path to Solidarity: A Pedagogy for Justice in Catholic Higher Education

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pp. 137-162

This final chapter has five purposes: (1) In keeping with the pedagogical practice of repetition, I highlight in narrative fashion the principle images, arguments, insights, and discoveries of the preceding chapters; (2) I bear down more deeply into the question of shame, in both its unhealthy and healthy forms, a perhaps...


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pp. 163-182


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pp. 183-194


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pp. 195-203

E-ISBN-13: 9780823248797
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823233281
Print-ISBN-10: 0823233286

Page Count: 160
Publication Year: 2011

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Social justice -- Catholic Church -- Study and teaching.
  • Christian sociology -- Catholic Church -- Study and teaching.
  • Catholic Church -- Education.
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