The Catholic University of America

The Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies hosted the conference “Erroneous Autonomy: The Dignity of Work” featuring University Chairman of the Board Cardinal Sean O’Malley. It drew media coverage from National Catholic Reporter, America, Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, and Our Sunday Visitor.

In addition to covering the event, Religion News Service also mentioned it in a story on the bishops and health care, as did National Catholic Reporter

The National Catholic Reporter also wrote and editorial on the event. 

David Cloutier, associate professor, theology, was interviewed by Crux on the conference. 

Catholic News Agency covered the event together with a lecture by Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, which was sponsored by the Busch School of Business. See below. 

Lack of just wages, benefits a threat to human dignity

From: National Catholic Reporter
Date: Jan. 13, 2017
Author: Cardinal Sean O'Malley

Editor's note: This talk, titled "The Dignity of Labor," was delivered Jan. 10 at the symposium "Erroneous Autonomy: The Dignity of Work" organized by the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America, Washington D.C.

Today's theme, the dignity of labor, for me isn't some sort of an abstraction, because I lived so intensely a ministry to workers who were exploited, who lived in fear and for whom their work did not represent a life giving, dignified human activity.

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San Diego bishop warns against nationalism, market rule, overconfidence in technology

From: National Catholic Reporter
Date: Jan. 11, 2017
Author: Bishop Robert McElroy

Editor's note: This talk, titled "Three Kinds of Erroneous Autonomy," was delivered Jan. 10 at the symposium "Erroneous Autonomy: The Dignity of Work" organized by the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America, Washington D.C.

It is a great pleasure to participate in this third colloquium on the theme of erroneous autonomy. In 2014 the conference speakers examined the history, tenets and implications of libertarianism as a system of thought and social organization, pointing to the reality that the individualism which is foundational to libertarian thought is itself a form of erroneous autonomy that is incompatible with Catholic social teaching about the nature of the human person, the foundations of economic justice and the establishment of a just society.

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The Church's social teaching is about solidarity, Catholic leaders insist

From: Catholic News Agency 
Date: Jan. 20, 2017
Author: Matt Hadro

Catholics must fight the societal ills of contempt, poverty, and unemployment through solidarity, recent speakers at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. insisted.

“The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost,” Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, quoted the Gospel of Luke in his Jan. 17 address to Catholic University students on “bringing America together.”


The previous week, on Jan. 10, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego and Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston addressed a conference on “Erroneous Autonomy: The Dignity of Work.”

When global markets and institutions are divorced from morality, human dignity is threatened, they insisted. Catholic social teaching challenges the autonomy of markets by emphasizing the dignity of the worker and the right of workers to organize to protect their rights, they said.

“Increasing international trade and financial relationships, combined with rapidly advancing technological innovation and the world of the internet, have produced what we call globalization,” Cardinal O’Malley said.

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Conference aims to debunk ‘higher standard of living’ fallacy

From: Crux
Date: Jan. 27, 2017
Author: Charles Camosy


Camosy: Some heavy hitters showed up at this conference. What do you think prompted the event? What were one or two of your most important takeaways?

Cloutier: It was really an honor to take part in an event featuring figures such as Cardinal [Sean] O’Malley [of Boston] and Joan Rosenhauer of Catholic Relief Services. They are doing such important work in the Church today, and to share that conversation with others in politics and culture like Thomas Frank and Richard Trumpka was a particularly important feature of the gathering.

I think the series of “erroneous autonomy” conferences seek to fill a void in our discourse, both in the Church and in American politics. We talk about individual issues a lot, but ignore larger underlying visions or worldviews that emerge and shape how we debate the issues. A key one is this whole idea of autonomy - or freedom - being misunderstood.

It often feels like the only direction the conversation moves, on either left or right, is a direction where we increasingly defend the rights of people to do whatever they want.

Even issues such as immigration get stuck between the freedom of a nation to defend its borders versus the freedom of people to migrate and not live in the shadows. The framing is off. My most important takeaway from the conference is that we have to pay more attention to framing issues, and tie them to deeper commitments. ...


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