Date of Award

Spring 2020

Access Restriction


Degree Name

Master of Arts



School or College

Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Matthew R. Petrusek


In the writings of the Vatican, the United States and Latin American bishops, and various theologians since the 1950s, Catholic social thought has generally failed to understand the pernicious depth of the system of racial classification, discrimination, and violence in the Americas. Catholic social thought still sees racism as based on the pre-existing, valid category of "race," requiring individual conversion and social effort. What is required instead is seeing the very concept of " race" as what must be rejected as the product of a racist ideology of politico-economic oppression and developing an anti-racist theological response that overcomes and eliminates this deadly ideology. It involves a re-imagining of the Imago Dei as the image of Jesus on the cross, of Mary and the women at the foot of the cross, as a direct confrontation with the principalities and powers that are invested in racist ideology, where the human and divine are connected through the cross and affirmed in the resurrection. It invokes a re-imagining of Laudato Si' as an anti-racist teaching, using many of the same ideas Pope Francis uses for his integral ecology to overcome the racist ideology that is inextricably tied up with modern capitalism and environmental despoliation.