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A Framework for Christian Social Involvement from the Writings of Dean Brackley, SJ

Edryan Paul J. Colmenares (Philippines)

Master of Arts in Theological Studies with field of specialization in Systematic Theology
Adviser: Fr. Peter O. Pojol, S.J. S.T.D.


When self-identifying Christians do not see socio-political involvement as being demanded by their faith, revisiting the affirmation by the Second Vatican Council of the relationship between Christian faith and social involvement becomes preeminently crucial. Social involvement is the Christian response given the Church’s scrutiny of “the signs of the times.” Yet, one is still led to ask: is there a framework we may follow to guide our Christian pursuit of social involvement as a Church? If so, what theological foundations and resources back up such a framework so that it may motivate the Church to be more socially involved?

This thesis attempts to answer the aforementioned questions by drawing from some of the writings of the late Jesuit moral theologian Fr. Dean Brackley, SJ. Fr. Brackley was an American Jesuit who worked with several communities in the Bronx while teaching at Fordham University. After the El Salvador massacre, he volunteered to be a faculty member and formator at the Universidad CentroAmericana in El Salvador while organizing grassroots communities. While doing all these, Fr. Brackley wrote several books and articles, delivered speeches, and conducted workshops with different groups. Throughout his life, Fr. Brackley wore many hats which provided him a unique perspective in his engagements and writings.

As a theologian, Fr. Brackley grounds his framework in Scriptures, particularly in the Proclamation of the Reign of God. He also appeals to the work of Karl Rahner and Gustavo Gutierrez in asserting that the inherent sociality of human beings is within the scope of God’s salvific action. As a Jesuit, Fr. Brackley sees the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius as a tool to deepen one’s faith life and ground one’s social engagement in the call of Christ. Lastly, as a Catholic educator, Fr. Brackley believes that Catholic education should take up the higher standard of teaching and integrating social justice in its academic endeavors.

Final Defense:

22 July 2022, 9:00am, online

Proposal Defense:

Date: October 15, 2020 (Thursday)

Board of Examiners: Fr. Peter O. Pojol, S.J. S.T.D. (Adviser), Eric Marcelo O. Genilo, S.J., S.T.D. and Fr. Rowan Rebustillo, S.T.D.

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Loyola School of Theology