Examining the Foundations of Solidarity in the Social Encyclicals of John Paul II

by Uzochukwu Jude Njoku (Author)
©2006 Thesis 456 Pages


This work elucidates the theological and philosophical backgrounds of the ethics of solidarity in official Catholic social thinking, with a focus on John Paul II’s social encyclicals. His concept of solidarity springs from a complex combination of history, tradition and philosophy. This study not only illustrates these backgrounds, but also the basic hermeneutical conditions for a reappraisal of the concept of solidarity in Christian social ethics and in contemporary debates. While recognising the fluidity, which characterises the articulation of this concept, it underscores an orientation to a particular version of personalism as being central to the pope’s understanding of solidarity. With insights from Liberation theology, other thinkers like Enrique Dussel and Paul Ricœur and the social history of Africa, this work attempts to criticise and enrich the personalist approach of John Paul II with a more structural methodology. It argues for an appropriation of Paul Ricœur’s notion of creative tension between person and social structures for a balanced understanding of solidarity and social change.


ISBN (Softcover)
Johannes Paul (Papst, II.) Sozialenzykliken Katholische Soziallehre Globalisation Liberation Theology Person Social Structures Solidarität Catholic Social Thought
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2006. 456 pp.

Biographical notes

Uzochukwu Jude Njoku (Author)

The Author: Uzochukwu Jude Njoku, born in Nigeria, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from the Pontifical Urban University Rome. He holds a Diploma in Academic Teaching, a Master’s degree in Religious Studies, a Master’s degree in Theology and a Doctorate degree in Theology from the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium).


Title: Examining the Foundations of Solidarity in the Social Encyclicals of John Paul II