The Catholic University of America

Feb. 7, 2007

CUA to Host Discussion Series on 'Economic Justice for All'

Two decades ago the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops sent out a pastoral letter asking American Catholics to consider their economic behaviors and responsibilities to the poor in the context of their religious beliefs.

This month theologians, sociologists, historians and advocates for the less fortunate will speak on the impact of that letter in a discussion series, "Catholic Social Justice: Looking Back and Moving Forward," to be held Feb. 9 through March 14 at The Catholic University of America.

Organized by the Center for American Catholic Studies, the Life Cycle Institute and the American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives at CUA, the series will feature discussions of Catholic social justice theory and its relevance today. That dialogue will begin with a lecture on "Economic Justice for All: Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy," the letter issued 20 years ago by the USCCB. Written in consultation with a range of Catholic social justice and lay groups, the letter came out during a political climate that was hostile to reminders about communal responsibilities and the needs of the poor, according to Timothy Meagher, curator of the American Catholic History Research Center and university archivist.

"It is not only appropriate but fitting that Catholic University sponsor such a series, not only because of its general mission to serve the Church, but because the university has a long tradition of interest in, and advocacy for, the needs of poor and working people," Meagher says.

The discussions will look back on the anniversary of the release of the letter and forward to new strategies on implementing Catholic social justice to address the needs of the poor in today's economy.

All of the lectures are free and open to the public. For details, see below.

Friday, Feb. 9, 1:30-3 p.m.
Caldwell Hall 100, Happel Room
"The 1986 Economic Pastoral: Two Views on Its Making and Meaning"
Speakers: Rev. Bryan Hehir, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and David O'Brien, History Department, College of the Holy Cross

Friday, Feb. 9, 3:30-5:30 p.m.
Caldwell Hall 100, Happel Room
"Impact of the 1986 Pastoral: At Home and Abroad"
Speakers: Joseph Capizzi, School of Theology and Religious Studies, The Catholic
University of America; William D'Antonio, Department of Sociology, The Catholic University of America, and Kathleen Maas Weigert, Center for Social Justice, Research, Teaching and Service, Georgetown University

Thursday, Feb. 15, 4-5:30 p.m.
Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center, Room 321/323
"Asset Building: Catholic Social Thought and a New Strategy for Helping the Poor"
Speakers: James Bailey, Department of Theology, Duquesne University, and Ray Boshara, New America Foundation

Wednesday, March 7, 4-5:30 p.m.
Pryzbyla Center, Great Room A
"Catholic Social Justice: The Current Legislative Agenda"
Speakers: John Carr, Office of Social Development and World Peace, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; Candy Hill, Catholic Charities USA, and Catherine Pinkerton, Network, a national Catholic social justice lobby

Wednesday, March 14, 7-8:30 p.m.
Pryzbyla Center, Room 321/323
"Workshop: The Living Wage Movement: Why it Matters and How to Help"
Speakers: Mackenzie Baris, DC Jobs With Justice, and Thomas Shellabarger, Office of Social Development and World Peace, United States Conference of Catholic Social Bishops

For more information about the conference, contact Maria Mazzenga, education archivist, at 202-319-5065 or You may also get more information from the CUA archives' Web site at

MEDIA: For more information or to cover the event, contact Chris Harrison or Katie Lee at 202-319-5600.

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Media contact(s):
· Chris Harrison, CUA Office of Public Affairs, 202-319-5600,
· Katie Lee, CUA Office of Public Affairs, 202-319-5600,