3.5 REVIEW AND DISCUSSION OF UNIT 3

Back to 3.4.2

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As a reminder of what you have covered in this unit, open Unit 3 Contents. You might like to revisit some of the specific pages.

Below are two ways in which you can review what you have learned (whether you are doing the module as part of a degree or using it to study informally).

A.       Assessing the ‘learning outcomes’

Look again at the ‘learning outcomes’ for this unit, as pasted in below (from 3.1.1).  I have added references to the particular pages in which each was covered.

By the end of this unit, you should be able:

  • to outline the meanings of distributive justice, commutative justice, retributive justice and the rule of law (3.1.2, 3.1.4, 3.1.5)
  • to explain the principle of subsidiarity (3.2)
  • to summarize three main aspects of CST’s understanding of the role of government (3.3.1, 3.3.2, 3.3.3)
  • to discuss and assess CST’s view of the role of government in relation to liberalism, conservatism and socialism (3.4) 

As you re-read these points, do you think you can do those things?

At least after looking at some of the material again, you might be surprised about the extent to which you can.

B.       Discussing your study

If you are studying formally, you will, as after each unit, be expected to participate in a seminar on what you have read for Unit 3.  The format of this will be determined by the Module Convenor in your university/college.

If you are studying informally with others in a parish, other Christian community or workplace, it will be worthwhile to join with others to compare and contrast your reactions so far.

If you are studying the module alone, so cannot have a face-to-face discussion of it, you are very welcome to post your reactions to it and any questions at ‘Comments on Unit 3’.

Whichever of the above applies to you, the material in this unit is bound to have provoked questions.  The ‘reflections’ are of course intended to do this.  You might like to have another look at the particular pages in which you were most interested to see what the ‘reflections’ asked you to consider.  There have also been two ‘exercises’:

  • in 3.3.3, on whether there would need to be government in a perfect human society
  • in 3.3.6, on the two different senses in which the term ‘the common good’ is used in modern CST.

In addition to discussing any questions you have come up with, here are some which you could address:

(i)  Formally, to do justice is to render what is due (3.1.2).  What does this mean in relation to each of distributive justice and retributive justice?

(ii)  Why does the principle of subsidiarity matter?

This question was suggested for discussion half way through the unit also (3.2.6).  But it is so fundamental for the topic of Unit 3 that it is worth addressing again, in light of the second half.

(iii)  We have seen that CST’s view of the role of government can be summed up as threefold:

– Recognizing civil society bodies

– Upholding human rights

– Directing society towards the common good

Try to address what this should mean for one of the following major areas of public policy:

* Policy in relation to family life

* Social security policy, i.e. state welfare provision

* Education policy

This is not easy – but is the kind of discussion that this unit naturally leads into.

(iv)  How would you respond to a Catholic Christian who insisted that their faith meant that in politics they had to be a socialist… or a conservative… or a liberal?

(v)  To what extent have you achieved the Unit 3 learning outcomes (as listed above on this screen)?

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If your discussions of these or other questions prompt you to want to post in COMMENTS ON UNIT 3, please do.

You are now at the end of Unit 3.  You might wish to review the Module B Outline or go directly to Unit 4 Contents (when this becomes accessible in March 2014).

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End of Module B Unit 3

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