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A closer look at Catholic Social Teaching just for women


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Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 06/11/21

A new study by Endow brings into focus the history and meaning of Catholic Social Teaching -- especially for women.

Have you ever wondered what Catholic Social Teaching is, exactly? Even many people who are Catholic haven’t heard of it, but the concept is having a resurgence in recent years. A beautifully written new study unpacks the history and meaning behind the phrase, helping us understand this important part of Church teaching.

Catholic Social Teaching refers to the body of Church’s wisdom on social, political, and economic matters. More specifically, it includes a collection of Magisterial documents addressing these issues, starting with Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum in 1891. 

Because of the recent popularity of the concept, Catholic Social Teaching can seem trendy or new, but it’s actually a profound, traditional part of the deposit of faith. Yet the buzz around it conceals that it’s not always well understood. 

“While Catholic Social Teaching can be a buzzword, the actual content of the social doctrine is not as well known, especially in a nuanced way,” said Laura Zambrana, Director of Content at Endow.

Endow recently published the study on Catholic Social Teaching, which became available June 11. Endow stands for “Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women” and the organization unites the Catholic intellectual tradition with intentional community by creating study guides and organizing women into small groups.

The new Study Guide takes a chronological approach to Catholic Social Teaching, showing the development of this body of work and how critical it is to human flourishing. This historical approach to Catholic Social Teaching begins with Creation and the Fall, continues with Christ Himself and the Gospels, and then takes a close look at key Magisterial documents and influential figures from the Modern Era. It covers the following topics, among others:

  • The Dignity of Work and the Human Person
  • Social Doctrine in the Old and New Covenants
  • Aquinas and the Common Good
  • The Enlightenment and the De-Humanization of Culture
  • Pope Leo XIII and Subsidiarity
  • Marriage, the Family, and the Working Poor
  • Totalitarianism and Personalism
  • The Witnesses of Moses, Mary, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein), St. John Paul II, St Teresa of Calcutta, Dorothy Day, St. Gianna Molla
  • The Eucharist as the preeminent locus of Catholic Social Teaching
  • Each participant’s personal role in living out Catholic Social Teaching in daily life

Today’s cultural landscape inspired the creation of this study. 

“At Endow, we are constantly in dialogue with our women and seeking the Holy Spirit’s wisdom about what kind of intellectual formation is needed for today’s Catholic women,” Zambrana said. “We wanted to share the story of Catholic Social Teaching, how and why it developed, so that today’s woman can learn and have an authoritative lens as we navigate living as a Christian in the world.”

The new guide is an incisive introduction to Catholic Social Teaching and its pivotal texts and key players. But most importantly, “it will be a means for dialogue, for reclaiming the role of women in the world as leaders and teachers and influencers,” Zambrana said. 

Catholic Social Teaching is a vital topic for today’s women to understand. 

“We are the ones who can heal our culture and our country, starting with our own hearts and communities. We are called to participate and be key players in this narrative of God’s love and make this manifest in our homes and communities.”

This study is a perfect opportunity for women to invite their friends, neighbors, and family members to join them in this study. Especially as pandemic restrictions lift in many places, the time is ripe for gathering together and growing as a community.

“The void created by the pandemic has made community more palpably needed than ever. Creating an Endow group to study this material will be a spark of hope and catalyst for change within any group of friends gathered!”

Endow was founded to educate today’s women on her nature and dignity and her role to renew the culture by embracing and nurturing her feminine genius. Their study guides create a platform for friendships over the Western intellectual tradition and are designed to be read with other women desiring this same growth in love and knowledge of the inheritance. The new study on Catholic Social Teaching is of the same caliber as their previous exemplary work, and is well worth reading.

If you’re wanting a reason to gather with friends and learn together through meaningful, thought-provoking reading and conversations, don’t hesitate to join or start an Endow group today. It can only change your life for the better. 

Social DoctrineWomen
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