Date of Award

Summer 2002

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Fahey, Michael A.

Second Advisor

Hughson, D. H.

Third Advisor

Hinze, Christine F.


In the summer of 1996, I enrolled in an ecclesiology course taught by Michael Himes and his brother Kenneth Himes, OFM, at the Institute of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry at Boston College. As an inexperienced graduate student in theology, I had been seeking a way to integrate my theological interests with my background in economics and business management. During this course, and in particular through the lectures of Kenneth Himes, I realized for the first time that my own faith tradition, Roman Catholicism, contained a substantial body of social teachings precisely in my area of interest. In large measure because of this introduction to Catholic social teaching I decided to focus my doctoral studies at Marquette University on the connection between Christian faith and economic justice. When I began researching dissertation topics, my advisor, later dissertation director, suggested that I concentrate on this connection between faith and justice by demonstrating how Catholic social teaching has been applied in a specific area of the world, preferably an area about which there had been little in-depth study. One of the areas he suggested was sub-Saharan Africa. As I began research into African theology I found, quite to my surprise, that a number of African bishops' conferences as well as African Catholic theologians had produced a body of scholarly work in this area that builds upon the universal principles of Catholic social teaching and demonstrates the role the Catholic Church could play in the economic development of the African subcontinent. As will become evident through this study, economic development is a vitally important issue facing the sub-Saharan people. If the Roman Catholic Church is to be a relevant force in the lives of the African people, it must be concerned not solely with the numbers of people it baptizes nor only with preparing souls for the next world. Instead, it must draw upon both the principles of Catholic social teaching and the insights of the African people themselves in order to demonstrate a theology of development that will help to create a more just and equitable society for all. While I do not claim to have all the answers concerning sub-Saharan economic development, I hope my study will help to demonstrate what the universal Church can offer to the African people and also what the people of Africa can offer to the world-wide Church.



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