Solidarity as spiritual exercise
Solidarity as spiritual exercise: a contribution to the development of solidarity in the Catholic social tradition By Mark William Potter Director: David Hollenbach, S.J. ABSTRACT The encyclicals and speeches of Pope John Paul II placed solidarity at the very center of the Catholic social tradition and contemporary Christian ethics. This dissertation analyzes the historical development of solidarity in the Church's encyclical tradition, and then offers an examination and comparison of the unique contributions of John Paul II and the Jesuit theologian Jon Sobrino to contemporary understandings of solidarity. Ultimately, I argue that understanding solidarity as spiritual exercise integrates the wisdom of John Paul II's conception of solidarity as the virtue for an interdependent world with Sobrino's insights on the ethical implications of Christian spirituality, orthopraxis, and a commitment to communal liberation. The dissertation probes the relationship between spirituality and ethics in general, and Ignatian spirituality and Catholic social teaching, in particular. My analysis of solidarity in the encyclical tradition (Chapter 1) provides an historical overview of the incremental development of solidarity in the writings of successive popes and ecclesial councils from Pius XII through Paul VI. In considering the unique contributions of John Paul II, I turn first to the theological and philosophical formation of Karol Wojtyla and the sociopolitical context of Poland (Ch. 2). My analysis then turns to a consideration of Pope John Paul II's social encyclicals (Ch. 3), with the goal of offering a definition of solidarity that integrates his intellectual formation and social context with the development of solidarity in the official social tradition. Next, I examine the development of solidarity in the writings of Jon Sobrino, first through an analysis of his intellectual and spiritual formation in the revolutionary context of El Salvador (Ch. 4), and then through an analysis of his unique theological contributions to the topic (Ch. 5). Based on Sobrino, I offer an articulation of solidarity as spiritual exercise as an original contribution to the development of solidarity in the Catholic social tradition (Ch. 6).