Mr. Godswill Uchenna Agbagwa presented his dissertation for the Degree of Sacred Theology, Moday, April 18, 2016. His Disseratation is titled, " Towards Situating Solidarity in the Thomistic Understanding of Virtue."
Final Examination of
Mr. Godswill Uchenna Agbagwa
for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Moday, April 18, 2016
9:30a.m., Caldwell Room 125
Towards Situating Solidarity in the Thomistic Understanding of Virtue
Director: Dr. Joseph Capizzi, Ph.D.
The idea of speaking of solidarity as a virtue first appeared in literatures toward the end of the twentieth century. As he travelled the world, Pope John Paul II (1978-2005) was struck by the widening gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots” resulting in widespread poverty and underdevelopment. John Paul II (JPII) attributed this problem to the decline in the concern for common good. He then proposed solidarity as a “path to true development” arguing that in our de facto interdependent world, it is by embracing solidarity as a virtue that we can be better disposed to challenge the status quo. He wrote, “It is above all a question of interdependence, sensed as a system determining relationships in the contemporary world, in its economic, cultural, political and religious elements, and accepted as a moral category. When interdependence becomes recognized in this way, the correct response as a moral and social attitude, as a virtue, is solidarity” (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, no.38). He defined the virtue of solidarity as “a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the universal common good” (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, no. 38).
Although solidarity has been in use since the sixteenth century, its development in Catholic social teaching as a virtue of interdependence raises questions about its theoretical plausibility as a true virtue in traditional virtue ethics. While some Thomistic thinkers have argued that solidarity can either be a virtue of justice or charity in the Thomistic scheme, some other thinkers are doubtful whether solidarity even qualifies as a true virtue within the boundaries of traditional virtue ethics
This study seeks to identify with more precision the meaning of solidarity as a true virtue in traditional virtue ethics. Based on Thomistic virtue theory, it explores the possibility that as a virtue necessitated by and particularly suited for contemporary interdependence, solidarity can be situated as a virtue fitting in the moral virtue category, but occupying space of its own in the schema. This is because, as a virtue that specifically informs and responds to contemporary interdependence (SRS, 38), solidarity has the potentials to approach old sets of moral obligations in ways that Aquinas’s medieval concept of justice and charity may not adequately account for.
Godswill Uchenna Agbagwa was born and raised in Imo State, Nigeria. After completing eight years of Seminary training during which he earned Bachelor of Arts Degrees (Summa Cum Laude Probatus) in Philosophy and Theology respectively, at the Seat of Wisdom Major Seminary, Owerri (Affiliate of Pontifical Urban University, Rome), he was ordained a priest for the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri on December 20, 2003. He worked as a Parochial Vicar at St. Mulumba’s Catholic Parish in Owerri from 2004 to 2005 and as Dean of Students Affairs as well as Ethics, Religion and Latin Instructor at the St. Peter Claver Seminary, Owerri, from 2005 to 2006.
In 2006, Fr. Agbagwa moved to the United States for further studies and earned an S.T.L (Licentiate in Sacred Theology) in Theology of New Evangelization in 2008 from Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit (Aggregate of University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome), while serving as an assisting Priest at the twin parishes of Saints Stanislaus and Helen in Wyandotte.
Late 2008, Fr. Agbagwa moved to Maryland to work as a full time Chaplain at the Catholic Charities of Baltimore. In 2010 he returned to the classroom and earned an M.A. in Legal/Ethical Studies at the University of Baltimore in 2012 while pursuing his Doctorate in Moral Theology and Ethics at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Between his full time chaplaincy work and Doctoral studies, Fr. Agbagwa also taught 400 Level Ethics class at I.T.T. Institute, Maryland.
In 2013, he founded the Center for Social Awareness, Advocacy and Ethics, Inc. (CSAAEINC), a fast growing non-profit educational organization that is fighting poverty and underdevelopment in Africa by helping emerging African Leaders build the capacities, competencies and character to achieve sterling successes and bring positive changes to the continent.
Fr. Agbagwa has trainings in Clinical Pastoral Education with four units of CPE (2009) from ACPE, Atlanta. He also has trainings in Mediation with a Certificate from Maryland Mediation Association.
He plans to go into full or part time teaching while continuing research and advocacy in the areas of ethics and development.
Summary of Coursework
733C Topics in War and Peace
732G The Human Person
734C Theories of Justice
897 Directed Research: Freedom, Responsibility and Rights
996 Dissertation Guidance