Disability Ethics and Preferential Justice

cover art
138 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781647123086 ()

138 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781647123093 ()

ISBN: 9781647123109

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March 2023
Sales Rights: WORLD


Table of Contents

Disability Ethics and Preferential Justice
A Catholic Perspective
Mary Jo Iozzio
A primer on disability ethics from a Catholic perspective offers practical strategies for inclusion

Persons with disability make up at least 15 percent of the global population, yet disability is widely unacknowledged and unexplored in theology. Moreover, many people join this minority community in their lifetimes through compromises to their health due to aging or accident. However, too few people without immediate experience of persons with disability remain unconcerned with this largest and most diverse minority of people across the globe.

Disability Ethics and Preferential Justice is a response to a dearth of theo-ethical reflection on disability, arguing that justice requires a preferential safeguard for persons and communities of people with disability. Mary Jo Iozzio introduces the basics of disability realities and etiquette for those who have not recognized their absence in common human activities. She uses reflection on the image of God as a foundation for a theological lens within disability ethics and exposes personal and systemic forms of control that able-bodied people (knowingly or not) exercise to maintain power over people with disability. She offers strategies based on Catholic social teaching to inspire deliberate action with an increasingly inclusive and participatory Church and society.

Iozzio invites readers to think about their responses to matters of disability inclusion across the common spaces to which all of us should have access. She challenges secular spaces as well as the Church's response to persons with disability concerning especially structural accessibility to worship, the sacraments, and community.
Mary Jo Iozzio is a professor of moral theology at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. She is the author of Self-determination and the Moral Act: A Study of the Contributions of Odon Lottin, OSB and Radical Dependence: A Theo-anthropological Ethic in the Key of Disability (forthcoming).
"This succinct book is an introduction to disability justice and a prophetic call to a radically inclusive vision for ethical living. It envisions Catholic moral theology accessibly and is an excellent resource for anyone who desires to recenter the grounds of Christian ethics towards greater human flourishing."—Heike Peckruhn, author of Meaning in Our Bodies

"In Disability Ethics and Preferential Justice, Mary Jo Iozzio lays out a powerful and urgent call for placing disability at the very center of the Catholic ethical tradition—and illuminates how Catholic commitment to social justice can catalyze profound solidarity with disability movements."—Julia Watts Besler, associate professor of Jewish Studies and Disability Studies, Georgetown University

Table of Contents

1. Disability Basics
Words Matter: Disability Terminology
A Brief History of Experience
Norm-making, Norm-imposing, and Norm-challenging

2. Contributions from the United Nations and the World Health Organization
The United Nations
The World Health Organization
A New Paradigm Beyond Accommodation to Affirmation and Advocacy

3. Natural Law and the Common Good
The Natural Law
The Common Good
Wherefore Justice?

4. Imago Dei, Theological Anthropology, and Catholic Social Teaching
An Imago Dei Theological Anthropology of Radical Dependence
The Church's Work for Human Dignity, Solidarity, and the Promotion of Peace

5. A Preferential Justice for Those Who are Poor or Otherwise Marginalized
Justice for People with Disability
Preferential Justice
Intentionality and Inclusive Relationship

Conclusions: Inclusion in Place of Neglect
A Theology-Inspired Practical Take-Away for Inclusion