Moses, Sarah. “Agency and the Elderly”, Boston College, 2011. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/3707.
Informed by Gaudium et Spes and Ron Thiemann's "public theology," this dissertation examines the role of the church in responding to the contemporary ethical challenge of providing long-term care for the elderly in a manner that respects and promotes their human dignity. Biblical sources and the theological concepts of discipleship and friendship found in Karl Barth and Paul Wadell insist on the agency of older people as called by God and as participating members of the community. This vision complements and connects with secular visions of justice such as Martha Nussbaum's "capabilities approach" and the concept of justice as participation found in United Nations' documents. Two concrete examples--the Community of Sant'Egidio and the Green House project--provide important models of long-term care that foster the agency of older people and their ongoing participation in human community and fellowship. An ethical vision based upon the elderly themselves as subjects with ongoing agency and purpose demands the church's engagement with the wider society to reform the United States' current long-term care system so that care is provided at a level and in a manner that overcomes marginalization of the frail elderly.