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  • Drew Christiansen S.J.

    1. Drew Christiansen is a Jesuit priest and editor of America, a weekly journal of opinion. For fourteen years he worked for the United States Catholic Conference, and for eight of those years (1991–1998), he was director of the Office of International Justice and Peace, where he supervised the conference's environmental justice program. This paper, based on that experience, is adapted from three of six chapel talks he prepared on Catholic Social Teaching for the 2010 Star Island Conference. His mailing address is America Press, 106 W. 56th St., New York, NY 10019, USA; e-mail:
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Abstract Adapted from the six 2010 Star Island Chapel Talks, the paper introduces the readers to contemporary Catholic Social Teaching and its application and implementation, particularly in the fields of environmental justice and human rights. An opening vignette explains how ideas about the common good contributed to the defeat of “Takings” legislation aimed at undoing environmental regulation in the 104th Congress (1995–1996). The teaching is presented as a vision of society centered on the communion of persons and creation rather than a discrete set of principles, with human rights and charity being the twin pillars of an evolving tradition. The interaction among ideas, historic events, and social movements is stressed throughout.