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

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Modern Catholic doctrine clearly states that education for justice is constitutive of a Catholic university. However, the Catholic university had a long history of educating for justice even before the advent of the Church’s social teaching in the late nineteenth century. What are the warrants or precedents, if any, for the contemporary focus on justice in Catholic higher education? Is this an innovation or a development? By examining two major sources from the tradition of Catholic higher education, Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman and Saint Ignatius of Loyola, this essay will demonstrate that concern for social justice has long been a fundamental dimension of the Catholic university, seen through the intellectual and moral formation of its students. A concluding section explores how this tradition has been reinvigorated and implemented in the contemporary Catholic university.

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