Early Modern Catholic Social Teaching and World Order

Apr 5, 2018
Swift Hall, Common Room
1025 E 58th St,
Chicago, IL 60637
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David LantiguaUniversity of Notre Dame

  • Early Modern Catholic Social Teaching and World Order

Free and open to the public. Cosponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies, the Early Modern and Mediterranean Worlds Workshop, and the Ethics Club at the Divinity School.

Western distrust in liberal internationalism offers an opportunity for renewed theological reflection on the moral foundations of world order. After the Second World War, transitional popes and Thomistic philosophers articulated a Christian vision of supranational society to quicken the support of universal human rights. Their personalist global ethic outlines the contribution of sixteenth-century Spanish theologians who promoted a conception of world order that affirmed the basic rights of believers and nonbelievers against the violent excesses of colonial expansion in el Nuevo Mundo.

The turn to early modern Catholic social teaching among Spanish theologians associated with the School of Salamanca represents an effort to break out of the Westphalian world system that dominates modern thinking about international relations. This lecture retrieves early modern Spanish theological voices to expose the colonialist underbelly of Westphalian rights discourse, typified by Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, and its radical domestication of the Church and human nature. Going beyond Westphalia and its anarchical view of global society enables a reconsideration of the Church’s moral witness of world order anew and the ongoing struggle for justice among dispossessed peoples besieged by aggressive forms of neocolonialism.

On April 6, David Lantigua also led a Master Class on "Bishop Bartolomé de las Casas, OP: Christian Faith and Amerindian Rights."

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David Lantigua is Assistant Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame where he is also Co-Director of the Catholic Social Tradition Minor and faculty fellow of both the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Institute for Latino Studies. He previously taught at The Catholic University of America and was a former graduate fellow of the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study. He is author of Infidels and Empires in a New World Order: Early Modern Spanish Contributions to International Legal Thought (Cambridge, 2020). He is co-author of Comparative Religious Ethics: A Narrative Approach to Global Ethics (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011) and co-editor of Bartolom√© de las Casas and the Defense of Amerindian Rights (University of Alabama Press, 2020). He has published articles in Modern Theology, Journal of Law and Religion, and Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics.