Catholic social teaching needed to tackle the unravelling in society

Catholic Social Teaching has the potential to unlock the challenges facing western society, Sr Helen Alford will argue in her upcoming lecture for the Lincoln Lecture Series.

Lincoln Cathedral is hosting a series of eight lectures over 2022 and 2023 on the theme of social theology – how God calls us to engage with the world, in terms of the economy, work, nature, freedom, social peace, politics and civic life. The lectures feature speakers from different traditions who draw on Catholic Social Teaching and who explore how the Christian tradition can be a blessing to public life and discourse.

The series forms a part of the wider Lincoln Cathedral Common Good Project, which frames the cathedral’s civic and social engagement, and the lecture series has been curated by Together for the Common Good (T4CG), a national Christian charity dedicated to the renewal of the civic ecology by bringing covenantal thinking into church and civic life.

We are living through a time of great unravelling. Trust is breaking down and society is increasingly fractured on tribal lines. While the undermining of established truth and the deconstruction of institutions is celebrated by a significant minority, a disturbed majority is asking how this is happening and what can be done. Now that the scale of fragmentation is becoming clear, some are questioning whether social peace is even possible.

Sr Helen Alford, President of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences and Dean of the Faculty for Social Sciences at the Angelicum, Rome’s Pontifical University, said: “Catholic Social Teaching has a lot to offer our current situation. It is not an either/or, nor is it either right-wing or left-wing. It is much more about us as relational beings, as beings who are able to build relationships that are important in themselves, and that’s the basis of the common good.”

“Historically, if you look at how Church teaching has developed, it’s tended to be more tolerant of the free market than Communism, because Communism doesn’t give any place to freedom. But – Church teaching has still got a lot of questions about the Liberal system, because it’s just too narrow. It’s not realistic enough about what it means to be human, and it doesn’t give enough importance to our relational dimension.”

“This relational approach is what is needed to restore trust in one another as well as in our institutions. Without this relationality, and the ability to understand our differences, it is difficult to see how else we can heal these often-tribal divisions.”

Sr Helen Alford will be speaking on Just Peace? On social peace and the causes of division, the latest lecture in the prestigious Lincoln Lecture Series exploring how Catholic Social Teaching can be a blessing onour discourse and public life.

Jenny Sinclair, Founder and Director of Together for the Common Good, said: “Catholic Social Teaching provides a framework for good judgement that can help us discern how to build the common good in our time. It does not propose a theocracy, rather it offers a coherent, gospel-rooted worldview that can help us read the signs of the times, and address the challenges, and growing divisions society faces.”

“Sr Helen Alford brings her deep experience as a Dominican Sister and as President of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences to provide a unique insight into the role Catholic Social Teaching can play in reorienting our society towards the common good.”

The Revd Canon Dr Simon Jones, Interim Dean of Lincoln, said: “The common good was a quinquennial goal of the Church of England between 2005 and 2010, helping to shape the Church’s engagement in civic and political life. This social mission continues, which is why Lincoln Cathedral is delighted to partner with Together for the Common Good and CCLA to deliver the Lincoln Lecture Series, which will help to shape our social engagement by exploring both Anglican Social Theology and Catholic Social Teaching.”

Lecture #8: Sr Helen Alford | 27th  November 2023, 6.30pm – 7.45pm | ONLINE

Book your place HERE

JUST PEACE? On social peace and the causes of division.