Aims & Scope

Solidarity is a collaboration between the Institute for Ethics and Society at the University of Notre Dame Australia and the Office for Justice and Peace at the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney. The mission statement of both institutions sits at the heart of what the journal hopes to achieve:

- “To promote the study of Catholic intellectual tradition and moral tradition, with a particular focus on faith and ethics and their application and integration into the broader life of society”. (Institute for Ethics and Society)
- “To promote justice, peace, ecology and development through projects and activities based on the social teachings of the Catholic Church” (Office of Justice & Peace)

The aim of Solidarity is to bring together two traditions of ethical thought about social issues. The first is the Catholic tradition of social teaching stemming from Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum. The second is modern secular ethical reflection, stemming from academic philosophy in the analytic and continental styles and embedded in charters like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Dialogue between these two traditions is to be expected because they share a positive vision of human beings as ethical agents. The Catholic tradition draws on the gospels and a natural law view of the sociality of humans, according to which the family and higher levels of social organization are a natural outgrowth of the rational and social nature of persons which, in turn, requires respect for the equality of worth of all persons as members of a divinely created order. Secular ethics, though very varied, generally highlights such concepts as human rights, autonomy, harm and virtue, which suggest the “dignity (an absolute inner worth) by which [people] exact respect for [themselves]” of which Kant speaks.

Both traditions share concerns for the poor and vulnerable, and accept the moral responsibilities of the powerful to respect rights and create a more just society. Thus, the Catholic tradition explicitly, and secular philosophy often implicitly, promote the virtue of solidarity. Solidarity involves an appreciation of our common humanity that issues in practical compassion, both in interpersonal encounters and in the design of social, institutional and economic policies, which determine what chances people will have to live their lives in virtue and autonomy. St John Paul II wrote of solidarity that it ‘is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and each individual, because we are all really responsible for all’ (Sollicitudo rei socialis).

Despite some differences between Catholic and secular perspectives, such as the Catholic orientation towards a supernatural end for human life, their commonalities with regard to personal and social goals provide an opportunity for fruitful interaction. We wish Solidarity to be a forum for academic engagement, and believe that interaction between diverse views in the journal should model the virtue of Solidarity: using academic dialogue and debate to build civic friendship across (sometimes) irreconcilable difference.

Solidarity therefore welcomes articles that discuss ethical issues in all fields in the light of Catholic social teaching, secular ethics or their interactions. We also welcome submissions in the humanities, social sciences and law that engage with Catholic social thought and its core principles such as solidarity, subsidiarity, the common good, and human dignity. In keeping with the themes of the journal and the Catholic intellectual tradition, Solidarity seeks to publish articles that are simultaneously of high academic standard, and that engage with contemporary issues and existing scholarship with civility, curiosity, and willingness to enter into the argument of others. We welcome innovative and challenging submissions and seek to be a forum for rigorous academic debate.

The journal is housed at The University of Notre Dame Australia, and thus is sensitive to the nature of the contemporary academic environment. We take seriously the obligation of solidarity within the context of increasingly precarious working conditions for emerging scholars in academia. We wish to foster junior scholars and to this end provide opportunities for postgraduate students and early career researchers to publish and participate in the intellectual exchange within the pages of the journal.