Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: U20086-M-6
Catholic Social Thought in Contemporary Society
Course info
Course moduleU20086-M-6
Credits (ECTS)6
CategoryMA (Master)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byTilburg University; Tilburg School of Catholic Theology; TST: Prac. Theology/Religious Studies; Practical Theology and Religious Studies;
Is part of
M Theology and Religious Studies (track Christianity & Soc)
prof. dr. C.N. de Groot
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2020
Starting block
SM 1
Course mode
RemarksCaution: this information is subject to change
Registration openfrom 17/08/2020 up to and including 20/08/2021
Discuss the history and transformation of Catholic social thought.
Describe contemporary Catholic social teaching and its reception
Analyze the historical contribution of Christian social thought to the formation of welfare states.
Evaluate ecclesial documents.
Evaluate a social practice that is inspired by the perspective of Christian social thought.
Formulate a call to action in an academic opinion article.

The course starts with the societal relevance of Catholic social thought and ends with it. In the first meetings, we will study the Christian roots of the welfare state. In the last meetings, we will study contemporary practices from the perspective of Catholic social thought. In between, we study the continuities and discontinuities of Christian social thought. You will get an overview of the way contemporary Catholic social doctrine came into being in relation with non-official Catholic thought. You will learn how to evaluate examples of this doctrine, such as encyclical letters.

Type of instructions

Type of exams
Reading assignments (75%); essay (must be sufficient) (25%).

Recommended Reading
  1. Linda Woodhead, An introduction to Christianity, Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  2. Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Licap, 2008. (Links to an external site.)
  3. Himes, Kenneth R., Lisa Sowle Cahill, Charles E. Curran, David Hollenbach, and Thomas A. Shannon, eds. Modern Catholic Social Teaching : Commentaries and Interpretations. 2nd edition. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2018.
  4. Schlag, Martin, and Cardinal Peter K. A. Turkson, Handbook of Catholic Social Thought.  Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2017. Ebook Library
Required reading
  1. Kees van Kersbergen, Social Capitalism: a Study of Christian Democracy and the Welfare State, London: Routledge, 1995, ISBN 0415116708. (Ch.1 and 8)
  2. Bäckström, Anders (Ed.) (2011). Welfare and Religion in 21st Century Europe. Volume 2, Gendered, Religious and Social Change. Farnham: Ashgate. (Ch. 4 (Links to an external site.)) direct
  3. Francis P. McHugh, Catholic Social Thought, Renovating the Tradition. A Keyguide to Resources, Leuven: Peeters, 2008, pp. 12-32.
  4. Michael Hornsby Smith, An introduction to Catholic Social Thought, Cambridge University Press, 2006. (Ch. 5 and Ch. 12)  
  5. Francis, Laudato Si' (Links to an external site.), 2015.
  6. Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum (Links to an external site.), 1891.
  7. Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno (Links to an external site.), 1931. (Links to an external site.)
  8.  Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith / Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Oeconomicae et pecuniariae quaestiones (Links to an external site.), 2018. (Links to an external site.)
  9. Joris Luyendijk, 'Finance, amorality and double-speak', OECD Yearbook 2016, 2016. Retreived from [accessed 10 September 2019]
Course available for exchange students
Master level
Contact person
prof. dr. C.N. de Groot
Timetable information
Catholic Social Thought in Contemporary Society
Required materials
Recommended materials
Title:An introduction to Christianity
Author:Linda Woodhead
Publisher:Cambridge University Press, 2006

Kies de Nederlandse taal