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Seven modern books with Catholic Social Teaching Themes

August 30, 2020
By Carroll English Faculty
Catholic Social Teaching themes in modern Literature

Carroll High School’s English Department is honored and privileged to be able to talk about literature under the scope of the seven principles of Catholic Social Teaching. Any work we read can be applied to one of the seven principles, if not more.  We would like to take this opportunity to show the link between each principle and one of the works we read throughout a student’s four years at Carroll.


Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning

Life and Dignity of the Human Person

Many of our works greatly exemplify this principle, but our seniors would say Man’s Search for Meaning gives them insight on how we must hold onto this principle, even when the world around us shouts that it is unimportant.



Call to Family, Community, and ParticipationAlan Paton's Cry the Beloved Country

In Cry, The Beloved Country we see how we must build strong community foundations to bridge the differences between classes and ethnicities. Destroying the pillars of marriage, family, and community, while also widening the gap between the haves and have-nots, will cause distrust, hatred, and collapse. Only by working to strengthen these pillars for all can we achieve the world we wish to have.


Ray Bradbury's Farenheit 451Rights and Responsibilities

Fahrenheit 451 gives us a glimpse of what happens when people allow themselves to be stripped of the opportunity to think, feel, and fight for what is right. If we do not take up the responsibility of fighting for the dignity of life and care of the individual, our society will implode.



Option for the Poor and VulnerableHarper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird is a work that can be applied to all seven principles easily. However, maybe the biggest takeaway is that all people deserve to be heard, treated, and cared for with respect and dignity. We can not stand by and watch injustice. We must take a stand and work to change the views of our community and world.


Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two CitiesThe Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers

A Tale of Two Cities makes the reader examine how the workers are treated with respect to the employers. To put ourselves in the middle of the conflict between classes allows us to reflect on and answer the tough questions about the rights of all, not just the privileged.



SolidarityWilliam Golding's Lord of the Flies

We must stand together for the greater good. We all have a responsibility to make policy that leaves this world better than we found it. Lord of the Flies demonstrates what happens when the structure of society is stripped away, and we must start from scratch. The outcome is our choice, but it is not an easy path.


Ernest Hemmingway's The Old Man and the SeaCare for God’s Creation

The Old Man and the Sea is an example of how all life is interconnected. To use resources without respect cheapens the value. To recognize the power, grace, and dignity of all creatures allows us to be true stewards of the earth. We must appreciate and use our resources responsibly and honorably.

Posted in Voices of Learning