Fortress Press

The Vision of Catholic Social Thought: The Virtue of Solidarity and the Praxis of Human Rights

The Vision of Catholic Social Thought

The Virtue of Solidarity and the Praxis of Human Rights

Meghan J. Clark (Author)


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The Vision of Catholic Social Thought traces the emergence of solidarity and human rights as critical theological and philosophical pillars of the anthropology and ethics foundational to the development of Catholic social teaching. Meghan J. Clark argues that the integration of human rights and the virtue of solidarity at the root of the Catholic social tradition are the unique contributions Catholic thought makes to contemporary debates in ethics, political, and philosophical theory.

Building upon the historical framework of the development of Catholic social thought, drawing deeply from the papal encyclical tradition and the theological and ethical developments of Vatican II, Clark forwards a constructive vision of virtue and social practice, applying this critical question of human rights on the international stage.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781451472486
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 224
  • Publication Date April 1, 2014


2015 Catholic Press Book Award: 1st Place in Catholic Social Teaching 

Review on Millennial Journal

Review in Choice

Review in National Catholic Reporter

Review in Religious Studies Review


1. Catholic Social Teaching on Human Rights and Solidarity
2. Anthropological Foundations for Human Rights and Solidarity
3. Integral Human Development, Practicality, and Social Analysis
4. The Social Virtue of Solidarity and the Praxis of Human Rights
5. Engaging the Future of the Human Rights Project and Building Solidarity


"Clark's The Vision of Catholic Social Thought picks up where David Hollenbach’s Claims in Conflict, a classic in Catholic rights theory, leaves off. Focusing on the encyclicals from John XXIII to the present, Clark argues convincingly for the necessary interdependence of the concept of human rights and that of solidarity. This is a must-read for those wanting to stay abreast of recent developments in Catholic social teaching."
—Todd D. Whitmore
University of Notre Dame
"At the backdrop of David Hollenbach's reconstruction of human rights, The Vision of Catholic Social Thought sheds an original light on a community-oriented praxis of human rights, in which the virtue of solidarity is the key. Via a critical dialogue with Charles Taylor, contemporary imago Dei theology, and the capability approach of Amartya Sen, Meghan J. Clark's interpretation opens inspiring perspectives on authentic human development and a more participative society. Mandatory reading, even for theologians (like me) who plead for a more articulated focus on justice in Catholic social thought."
—Johan Verstraeten
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
"This timely and original work places Catholic social teaching in a valuable new perspective. Clark's experiences in Africa and Latin America make her exceptionally attuned to the concrete task of building worldwide relations of justice and solidarity between the privileged and the poor. Drawing on themes like solidarity, subsidiarity, and participation, Clark shows how first-world philanthropy and activism can succeed, by building relations with rather than by patronizing the poor. This book is a step forward for scholars, and Clark's use of personal experiences and examples make it an unexcelled resource for those leading or participating in university and college service trips, or treating social justice in the classroom."
—Lisa Sowle Cahill
Boston College

Reviews and Awards