The Catholic University of America

Dissertation Defense: Hung Pham

Final Examination of

Rev. Hung Pham

for the degree of

Doctor of Sacred Theology

10 a.m. Friday, May 1, 2009

Caldwell Room 125-15

Committee in Charge

Chair: Joseph Jensen, O.S.B., S.T.D.

Secretary: Joseph Shields, Ph.D.

Director: Joseph E. Capizzi, Ph.D.

Reader: John S. Grabowski, Ph.D.

Reader: William C. Mattison III, Ph.D.

Summary of Coursework

TSHS 726: Capital Sins

THEO 725: Topics of War and Peace

THEO 765: The Beginning of Life Issue

THEO 774: Sex and Virtue

THEO 789: Philosophy and Theology of Slavery

THEO 792: Human Sexuality According to New Testament

THEO 828: Natural Law and Natural Right

TRS 732A: Sexuality, Person and Ethics

TRS 737A: Ethics and Action

TRS 744: Eucharist: A Liturgical Theology

TRS 768: Theology of Liberation

TRS 897: Directed Research


John Paul II's Concept of Solidarity with the Poor as a Eucharistic Dimension of the Christian Moral Life

Hung Pham

Director: Joseph Capizzi, Ph.D.

Solidarity with the poor was a major theme in the social teaching of Pope John Paul II during his papacy (1978-2005). His concept of solidarity traces back to The Acting Person, his major philosophical work written years prior to his elevation to the papacy. In his papal social teaching, he developed his concept of solidarity, incorporating in it a solid theological foundation and a global aspect. The Pope considered solidarity as a human and Christian virtue, the fruit of a process of conversion in which the individual's attitude is changed into taking sides with the poor. He adopted for the first time the "preferential option for the poor" in papal teaching as a primary form of Christian charity. Moreover, he affirmed an intrinsic link between solidarity with the poor and the Eucharist. Solidarity is understood by the Pope as a "Eucharistic" mission for Christians who participate in the Eucharistic celebration. Within his anthropological framework-the action reveals the person-John Paul argued that solidarity reveals Christians as "Eucharistic" persons.

This dissertation presents an exposition of the correlation between solidarity with the poor and the Eucharist in the papal teaching of Pope John Paul II. For this purpose, the first part of the study presents the philosophical and theological foundations of solidarity in the writings of Wojtyla/John Paul II. The second part analyzes the concept of solidarity with the poor and its relation to the Eucharist in his papal writings. The last part offers an evaluation of the Pope's thought on the correlation between solidarity with the poor and the Eucharist with regard to the renewal of social ethics and moral theology after Vatican II.