Catholic Social Ethics: The Antidote to Ideology

Dr. Matthew Petrusek · Release Date: May 23, 2022

Today, much of our social and political dialogue is dominated by ideological thinking. But the many ideologies that are now considered mainstream—such as liberalism, fascism, socialism, and more—all have one thing in common: a lack of transcendence. In seeking to achieve the perfect society apart from God, they end up creating societies that lack true justice, solidarity, and pursuit of the good.

Thankfully, there is an alternative—not an alternative ideology, but an antidote to ideological thinking itself. In this course, Dr. Matthew Petrusek contrasts various ideologies with Catholic social ethics, demonstrating how only a Catholic worldview can shape our society into one where both the individual and the community flourish. Navigating various ideological approaches to relevant issues—including free speech, human dignity, and the perfection of society—Petrusek proposes Catholic solutions that avoid common ideological pitfalls while attaining real social progress. With an emphasis on grace and an eye toward heaven, these lessons offer a path forward that is as hopeful as it is realistic.

About Instructor

Dr. Matthew Petrusek

Dr. Matthew Petrusek is the Fr. Servais Pinckaers Fellow of Catholic Ethics and the assistant director at the Word on Fire Institute. He received an MA (Yale University) and PhD (University of Chicago) in religious ethics and was previously associate professor of theological ethics at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He specializes in Christian ethics, though lectures broadly, in English and Spanish, on philosophy, theology, and the Catholic intellectual tradition. In addition to serving as a WOFI fellow, Petrusek is author of Evangelization and Ideology: How to Understand and Respond to the Political Culture, co-author of Jordan Peterson, God, and Christianity: The Search for a Meaningful Life, and co-editor of Ethics and Advocacy: Bridges and Boundaries and Value and Vulnerability: An Interfaith Dialogue on Human Dignity. He has also hosted the lecture series "The Idolatry of Identity" and the bilingual show "Reasons to Believe/Razones Para Creer." He lives with his wife and children in Rochester, MN.

2 Courses

Not Enrolled


  • 7 Lessons
  • Course Certificate
  • Course Discussion Forum