Thomas O’Brien provides a “contextual theological analysis of some key elements of [Frederic] Ozanam’s beliefs and practices, especially as these influence the birth of Catholic social theory and its subsequent developments.” O’Brien addresses Ozanam’s advocacy of direct service to the poor as part of discipleship for all Christians (part of what is known today as the option for the poor). The formation of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul was both conservative because it continued the Church’s tradition of charity and radical because it organized laypeople and allowed them positions of leadership hitherto reserved for priests and religious. Ozanam was also the first to advance the concept that Catholic teaching develops over time and is influenced by historical events and circumstances. The implications of this are drawn out, as are similarities between Ozanam and John Courtney Murray, the writer of the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Liberty. Ozanam’s support of religious liberty is described as part of his commitment to liberalism and democracy, ideas which he saw as beneficial to the Church. The impact of religious and political events of Ozanam’s day is also explained.
O'Brien, Thomas W.
"Pioneer and Prophet: Frédéric Ozanam’s Influence on Modern Catholic Social Theory,"
Vincentian Heritage Journal: Vol. 31
, Article 1.
Available at: http://via.library.depaul.edu/vhj/vol31/iss1/1