Personal Responsibility & The Common Good: Our Liberal Arts Education and the Social
Teaching of the Church
Date published: October 31, 2016
The annual Braniff Salons have focused upon important classical works in the Western
tradition such as those by Shakespeare and Aeschylus. This November, the Braniff Salon
will consider a topic that is a point of departure from this tradition: the social
teaching of the Catholic Church.
As is manifest in its Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, published in
2005, no other institution has as comprehensive an approach to personal responsibility
and the common good. With this in mind, each professor is asked to consider the question
of personal responsibility and the common good from the vantage point of what he or
she has learned from his or her own discipline so that in our discussion their insights
may be placed in dialogue with Christian teaching.
Assistant Professor of Theology Irene Alexander, Ph.D. is one of the panelists and will share her insights on Catholic Social Teaching (CST)
with the audience.
“There has often been a misunderstanding that CST only means implementing certain
‘structures’ in the social realm,” Alexander said. “This faulty idea ignores the effect
of the individual person on society, both the good he or she can contribute, and unfortunately
also the evil. Both the Catholic tradition and the best of classical philosophy has
demonstrated that the city is a mirror of the soul, and if a person's soul is deeply
disordered and he or she renounces certain personal responsibilities, the common good
of the whole society is in in fact in jeopardy.”
Joining Alexander as panelists are Aida Ramos, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics, Jonathan J. Sanford, Ph.D., dean of Constantin College, Richard Dougherty, Ph.D., associate professor of politics and Gregory Roper, Ph.D., associate professor of
English and department chair.
“Both the liberal arts tradition and the Catholic faith aim to discover the true,
the good, and the beautiful as ennobling both man and society,” Alexander said. “I
look forward to engaging with the community on such a rich and timely topic!”
Continuing a tradition of conversation and conviviality, the Braniff Salons extend
the fine practice of discussing interesting and important topics and texts to alumni
of the school and guests, together with current students and faculty. Consider personal
responsibility and the common good alongside professors from various disciplines at
the Braniff Graduate School as they comment on and then lead a discussion of how their
disciplines help us to understand this important topic on Friday, Nov. 4 at 6 p.m.
in the Art History Auditorium
The Braniff Salons are sponsored by The Braniff School of Liberal Arts, The Braniff Graduate Student Association, and the Office of Alumni Relations. They are open to all alumni, students and former students of The Braniff Graduate
School, as well as to faculty of the University of Dallas and their guests. RSVP at