A Catholic Vision of the Good Society

In economics, culture, and politics, there are many competing methods of measuring the good of a society, or to what degree a society enables human flourishing. Some look at GDP, others the Cost of Living Index, a Happiness Index, or the Community Well-Being Index.

But what would a Catholic Index of Well-Being look like? What might it measure? What should Catholics think about when they weigh what a good society looks like when it comes to human dignity, the common good, solidarity, and subsidiarity—the permanent principles of Catholic social teaching? In this inaugural economics workshop presented in partnership with the St. Monica Institute for Education and Evangelization, we bring together theologians, policy thinkers, and experts in Catholic social teaching to discuss what a theoretical Catholic Index of Well-Being might include.

We cannot know how to pursue human flourishing and the good society unless we think through what it looks like. During this event, we intend to do some of that thinking, using the immense wisdom and vision of human flourishing inherent in Catholic social teaching.


Christine Firer Hinze is Professor of Theological and Social Ethics, Chair of the Department of Theology and emerita Director of the Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham University; and 2021-22 president of the Catholic Theological Society of America. Her teaching and research focus on foundational and applied ethics, especially the dynamics of social transformation, Catholic social thought, and economic and work justice for vulnerable women, families, and communities. Her publications include three books: Comprehending Power in Christian Social Ethics (Oxford, 1995); Glass Ceilings & Dirt Floors: Women, Work, and the Global Economy (Paulist, 2015); and Radical Sufficiency: Work, Livelihood, and a U.S. Catholic Economic Ethic (Georgetown, 2021); two co-edited books; and scores of scholarly essays in books and journals such as Theological Studies,The Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, The Journal of Catholic Social Thought, Studies in Christian Ethics, and Studies: Irish Theological Quarterly

Msgr. Martin Schlag holds the Alan W. Moss endowed chair for Catholic Social Thought of the John A. Ryan Institute in the Center for Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota), where he is full professor with dual appointment in the department of Catholic Studies and the Opus College of Business. He is also the Director of the Markets, Culture and Ethics Research Center at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, and Honorary Chair of the Program for Church Management. Born in New York, raised in England and Austria, Msgr. Schlag has authored more than 80 publications, among them: (together with Domènec Melé) Humanism in Economics and Business: Perspectives of the Catholic Social Tradition, The Handbook of Catholic Social Teaching: A Guide for Christians in the World Today, and The Business Francis Means: Understanding the Pope’s Message on the Economy.

His latest books are:
Martin Schlag and Giulio Maspero, After Liberalism? A Christian Confrontation on Politics and Economics (Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2021)
Martin Schlag, Holiness Through Work? Commemorating the Encyclical Laborem Exercens (in print; Southbend: St. Augustine Press)

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