Solidarity: The Journal of Catholic Social Thought and Secular Ethics is a refereed academic online journal published semi-annually to provide a forum for the discussion of social ethics, social justice and Catholic social thought. The journal promotes ethical reflection and stimulates dialogue on a range of topics and issues of practical and international import as well as of theological and secular significance.


The Globethics library contains articles of Solidarity as of vol. 1(2011) to current.

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  • The Dialectic of Autonomy and Beneficence in the Standard Argument for ‘Death with Dignity’

    Bell, Jeremy Raymond (ResearchOnline@ND, 2016-12-22)
    Philosophers who defend a person’s right, under certain circumstances, to end his own life or to have a physician end it for him typically appeal both to respect for patient autonomy and to considerations of beneficence. Neither autonomy alone nor beneficence alone can ground a persuasive case for euthanasia. I argue, however, that the standard argument for euthanasia is unsound. It is not possible to combine the principles of autonomy and beneficence in such a way as to justify euthanasia for those who request it and are either incurably ill, in irremediable pain, or fearful of future incapacity, while excluding both involuntary euthanasia and assisted death for those who request it despite being neither incurably ill, in irremediable pain nor fearful of future incapacity.
  • “Such is Life”: Euthanasia and capital punishment in Australia: consistency or contradiction?

    Quinlan, Michael (ResearchOnline@ND, 2016-12-22)
    Lawful euthanasia involves State endorsed termination of human life. Apart from a period of less than 9 months, in the Northern Territory, euthanasia has been illegal in Australia. Many of Australia’s parliaments have regularly considered introducing the practice and they continue to do so. In this context, this paper considers another type of State endorsed termination of human life: capital punishment. These took place in Australia from 1788 to 1967. The practice was abolished nationwide by 1985 and the Commonwealth passed laws, in 2010, to prevent its reintroduction. This paper does not consider all of the arguments for or against euthanasia or capital punishment and nor does it argue that the two practices are identical. Instead, it argues that introducing euthanasia without careful consideration of the arguments and experiences of capital punishment would risk repetition of past mistakes. The paper considers whether introducing euthanasia would be inconsistent with arguments accepted as grounds for the abolition of capital punishment. It focuses, on the irrevocable argument. This is the argument that death is irrevocable and that the risk of an innocent person being executed should never be taken. The paper argues that, any criteria which might be adopted by the State as sufficient to justify euthanasia, would run the risk of people outside that criteria being euthanised. The paper argues that capital punishment and euthanasia each pose disproportionate risks to minority and vulnerable groups. The paper also argues that, the evidence of pain and suffering endured by the condemned in their execution require careful consideration in relation to arguments for euthanasia as a means to a quick and pain free “good death.” It considers the evidence that demonstrates that, like execution, euthanasia in practice can be slow and painful. The paper then argues that requiring health professional to administer lethal injections in acts of euthanasia would be inconsistent with the approach taken in Australia and the United States to the identification of those willing to administer the death penalty. The paper concludes that many of the key arguments which resulted in the abolition of the death penalty in Australia support the continued prohibition of euthanasia in Australia and ought to be addressed by proponents of change but its primary aim is to encourage further examination of the extent to which learnings relevant to the current euthanasia debate can be gained by examining the arguments and experience of capital punishment.
  • The Future in Our Hands? - A Dialectical Argument against Legalising Euthanasia

    Angier, Tom (ResearchOnline@ND, 2016-12-22)
    In this paper I argue that no state should legalise euthanasia, either voluntary or non-voluntary. I begin by outlining three political arguments against such legalisation, by Russell Hittinger, Elizabeth Anscombe and David Novak. Each concludes, on different grounds, that legalised euthanasia fatally erodes the role and authority of the state. Although correct in their conclusion, the arguments they provide are deficient. To fill this gap, I elaborate what I call a ‘fourfold dialectic’ between autonomy and compassion, the two central motivations for legalising euthanasia. I show that these motivations systematically and progressively undermine each other, yielding a situation where individual autonomy and doctors’ duty of care are effectively eviscerated. It follows that state authority, which depends on upholding both of these, is itself eviscerated. In this way, the conclusion of the political arguments above finally finds demonstrative support.
  • Professional Responsibility: A Deontological Case-Study Approach

    Larrauri Pertierra, Iñaki Xavier (ResearchOnline@ND, 2021-08-04)
    Kantian Deontological Ethics concerns itself with the will as grounded in universalisable maxims. Such maxims are in turn based on rationally conceived laws that, in a professional setting, find expression in the autonomously made agreements constituting professional protocols and regulations. When applied to a case-study wherein public safety has been possibly jeopardised by company products, we can argue for priority in the agreed-to responsibility towards the good of professional autonomy, expressed as a rational mandate of nondisclosure of confidential product information, over that of the good of public safety. This priority persists regardless of whether the good of truth, such as the disclosure of confidential product information, has its value grounded in itself or the good of safety. Nevertheless, company and individual professional responsibility may prioritise safety over autonomy, but how this prioritisation is made must be sensitive to the autonomously willed choice of the employed professional.
  • Gender Reality

    Allen, Sr. Mary Prudence (ResearchOnline@ND, 2014-04-16)
  • Business Ethics: Diagnosis and Prescription in Caritas in Veritate and Vocation of the Business Leader

    Wishloff, Jim (ResearchOnline@ND, 2014-04-16)
    An examination of two recent documents of Catholic Social Doctrine, Caritas in Veritate and Vocation of the Business Leader, is undertaken to uncover their assessment of our current cultural and moral crisis, of which our present economic distress is but one aspect, and their proposal for cultural renewal including a return to sound economic decision making. The intellectual commitments of molders of the modern mind such as Bacon, Descartes, and Hobbes severed morality at its metaphysical roots. Destroying the anthropological underpinnings of ethics catapults the contemporary world into a state of nihilism. In such a condition economic disorder is inevitable. The human person is crushed in a regime that searches for more relentlessly. The demand for metaphysical and moral reconstruction is met by Pope Benedict XVI with his insistence on receptivity to what is. Contemplation of an ultimate reality given to us takes us to the Person of Jesus Christ. The Christian faith is the context of authentic integral human development. Being made in the image of God gives every human person an inviolable dignity and makes every person subject to transcendent moral norms. A truth-filled love informs the conduct of enterprise. Goods that are truly goods and services that truly serve are produced or supplied. Promotional efforts are conducive to the pursuit of wisdom. People are given meaningful work that utilizes and develops their higher faculties and are let in on the financial success of the venture. The environment is respected as a home place ought to be. The Christian business leader can have a transformative effect on the business world through the power of grace.
  • Climate Justice: The Cry of the Earth, the Cry of the Poor (The Case of the Yolanda/Hayain Tragedy in the Philippines)

    canceran, delfo cortina (ResearchOnline@ND, 2018-12-20)
    In the Encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis relates the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. Literally, cry is a metaphor pregnant with meanings. It can mean the feeling of pain and suffering, the experience of sadness and loss calling out for relief and sympathy. The earth and the poor have equally endured this tears of lamentation. The cry is not just an expression of pain but also an appeal to responsibility. Thus we need to take seriously the groaning of our ecology and humanity. In the context of climate change, the global warming affects the whole world but it specifically affects the poor more. The poor people vulnerable to exposure to disaster as demonstrated by the supertyphoon - internationally known as Haiyan and locally known as Yolanda - tragedy that worsens the poverty of the already poor. The poor daily depend on the earth for their sustenance and livelihood. Moreover, they are mostly endangered in times of disaster. Since they are made from light and cheap materials, their properties are easily damaged or even totally destroyed in times of disaster. Scholars argue that climate change is an issue of justice. Thus, they propose climate justice in distributing responsibility caused by global warming and eventually taking responsibility to the earth as a common home.
  • Catholic Treatment Ethics and Secular Law: How Can They Cohere?

    Balch, Thomas J (ResearchOnline@ND, 2016-12-22)
    Central elements of Roman Catholic treatment ethics include: 1) that rejection of treatment with the intent of hastening death (even for a good end) is ethically equivalent to active euthanasia with the same intent; 2) a distinction between morally obligatory “ordinary” treatment and morally optional “extraordinary treatment”; 3) that the quality of the patient’s life is not be a legitimate basis for rejecting treatment; and 4) that extraordinary treatment is not forbidden, but optional, and that it is the patient or the patient’s legal surrogate–not the doctor– who has the right to choose or reject it. Despite these principles, even in a cultural climate fully sympathetic to Catholic treatment ethics, it is appropriate as a legal matter to maintain the doctrine of informed consent under which it is possible for patients or their surrogates to reject life-preserving treatment, including for unethical reasons. It is normally impossible to enforce in practice in the external forum a differentiation between rejection of treatment for ethically acceptable and ethically unacceptable reasons. By contrast, in cases of direct killing, such as assisting suicide, the intent to cause death is unmistakable (as opposed to accepting an increased risk of death as a foreseeable but unintended consequence of pursuing a good end). In a pluralistic society Catholic ethics cannot be legislatively enforced on the ground that they are compelled by Catholic teaching. However, the basic principles of Catholic treatment ethics may be justified based on logic and widely accepted norms of human equality independently of revelation or ecclesiastical authority. Particularly in protecting the right of individuals to choose and obtain life-saving medical treatment regardless of their “quality of life,” and in suicide prevention, secular law can and should be congruent with key aspects of Catholic health care ethics.
  • Promoting what we Oppose - Part 2

    Tilley, Robert (ResearchOnline@ND, 2014-04-16)
    In the first part of this series it was argued that there is an inextricable bond between economic and cultural liberalism such that when Catholics identify the faith with the defence of neoliberal economics, even though they may oppose abortion, they end up promoting exactly that which they oppose. In this the second part this point is expanded upon and the argument made more explicit and that by reference to Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudium Evangelii. The Exhortation evidences a view of matters economic that sits ill with capitalism, a point understood by Catholic commentators who champion Neoliberalism. This essay argues that Francis’ comments are nothing new, especially when compared to what John Paul II and Benedict XVI have written on the subject; indeed, that Francis’ Exhortation can be seen as a tempering of their critique of economic liberalism. The essay attempts to tease out what it is that informs the critique of the popes and shows that it has to do with what flows out from the rejection of metaphysics proper, a rejection that defines Modernity, and which ends in the deracination of all things such that even the very concept of ‘substance’ is dissolved and, thereby, all is made plastic and malleable, including human life. The important point the essay wishes to make is this: the popes are quite clear that the form a culture’s economy takes can both ground and exacerbate this anti-essentialist logic, what’s more the economy above all others that does this is the one they identify with neoliberal capitalism. As a consequence, Catholics who champion this form of economic theory must think seriously as to whether or not they or the popes are wrong on this matter.
  • Universalism in Catholic Social Thought: 'Accompaniment' as Trinitarian Praxis

    Roberts, Kathleen Glenister (ResearchOnline@ND, 2012-04-24)
    Cosmopolitanism is an ancient concept whose meaning and significance have shifted over the last two millennia. Most recently, cosmopolitanism has been resurrected to mean “world citizenship” – a renunciation of one’s national identity for the sake of the universal human family. While such an endeavor seems as though it should correspond to Catholic social thought, its iterations in academia and elsewhere have resulted in a preoccupation with personal identity and political doctrine rather than love. Cosmopolitanism is complex and harbors many weaknesses in both theory and practice. Considered in relation to universalism in Catholic social thought, one weakness is thrown into specific relief: cosmopolitanism as a personal identity or political doctrine lacks a unified philosophy of the human person. This essay recasts the desire to form solidarity across national boundaries as universalism within Trinitarian anthropology and discusses accompaniment as exemplary of the love this thought system requires.
  • Catholic Education and the Bureaucratic Usurpation of Grace

    Rowland, Tracey A (ResearchOnline@ND, 2014-04-16)
  • Review: The Logic of Gift – Rethinking Business as a Community of Persons

    Drummond Young, Elizabeth (ResearchOnline@ND, 2013-11-21)
  • Review: Belle

    Ekman, RSM, Sister Mary Julian (ResearchOnline@ND, 2015-12-23)
  • Review: The Ultimate Price

    Fox, Brian (ResearchOnline@ND, 2013-11-21)
  • Book Note: Our God is Undocumented

    Pickens, Donald K (ResearchOnline@ND, 2013-11-21)
  • Review: Laudato Si’: Love of God, Love of Neighbour, Love of Creation

    Smith, Father Peter (ResearchOnline@ND, 2015-12-23)
  • A Woman in Stone or in the Heart of Man?

    Schumacher, Michele M (ResearchOnline@ND, 2014-04-16)
  • Review: The Preferential Option for the Poor

    Giddy, John Patrick (ResearchOnline@ND, 2015-12-23)
  • Abortion in/as a Consumer Structure

    Tan, Matthew (ResearchOnline@ND, 2014-04-16)
    This article argues that the contemporary acceptability of abortion is not solely due to the Liberal imperative to exercise individual choice. Rather, abortion's acceptability needs to be explained with reference to the techniques of consumer culture. This article will begin by explaining how practices in general predispose one to gravitate towards one form of practices rather than another. It will then look at how consumer practices generate a biopolitics of economic efficiency and corporeal commodification which culminates in a politics of visibility. Under such conditions, even basic categories like mere existence is dependent on its ability to be displayed for public view. This article will conclude by reflecting on the necessity of forging the Church not as a subsection of a public framed by consumerism, but as an alternative public in its own right.
  • The Cathedral of Being: Re-enchantment and the Writings of the Popes

    Tilley, Robert (ResearchOnline@ND, 2015-12-23)
    A rarely discussed issue that bears upon the topic of education is that which takes seriously the relationship between medium and message; how is the content of what is taught shaped by the way in which it is taught? It is a question of especial pertinence today when in all areas of pedagogy we find people advocating the use in education not only of computers but on-line access and the wonders of the virtual world as well. The argument of this paper, via the writings of the recent Pontiffs (and more secular authors with a philosophical and political interest in the area), is that the use of computers and on-line technology is deleterious to all education, but especially to Catholic education. This is because, while the understanding of real presence and mediation are fundamental to the faith, the idea of insubstantiality and friction-free immediacy are of a piece with virtual technology. As a medium of dissemination the latter cannot help but invest the content of the former with its understanding of presence. The paper also touches upon the economic factors at play in the use of virtual technology as well as the utopian hopes this technology gives rise to, hopes that are fundamentally inhuman and therefore at odds with the Catholic faith. The paper argues its point using the trope of fairyland and the opposition between, on the one hand, enchantment, and on the other, glamour.