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Center for Catholic Social Thought

Catholic social teaching, or CST, emerges as the Church continually reads and responds to the “signs of the times”: the challenges of the postmodern world. It promotes the importance of ethical values as the ground for personal and professional life and the attainment of the common good.

Since its creation in 2000, the Office for Mission & Ministry has worked to familiarize the Villanova University community to the principles of CST and to encourage faculty them in their coursework and research.

The Center for Catholic Social Thought was established in 2014 to give greater visibility to these efforts create a home for all members of the Villanova community who want to support this goal.

statues of Augustine and three students talking

Founded in 2003 and published twice yearly since 2004, the Journal of Catholic Social Thought was created in direct response to a call from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to "integrate and to share the riches of the Church's social teaching in Catholic education and formation at every level." Annual subscriptions are available in both print and electronic format.

The office sponsors conferences focused on Catholic social teaching on some contemporary economic, social or political theme. Contributors are encouraged to explore:

  • Themes in Catholic social teaching which illuminate and inform the nature, causes and consequences related to each issue.
  • Theoretical or empirical research that advances the discourse of Catholic social teaching.
  • Analysis of existing literature and research from the Catholic perspective that is particularly relevant to the theme.
  • Recommendations on how future teaching documents might advance our understanding of the theme.

Papers presented at the conference are frequently published in the Journal for Catholic Social Thought published by the Office for Mission and Ministry.

 

The office sponsors individual lectures and lecture series throughout the academic year.  Previous themes include the jubilee year dedicated to St. Paul, the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Franciscan Order and the relevance of the Franciscan traditon, virtue ethics, racism, and iliving in a multifaith world. Recurring lecture series include

  • Catholic Intellectual Tradition, focusing on Augsutine, Aquinas and Bonaventure, among others, as a means of professional development for faculty
  • Reading the Signs of the Times, examining current issues and challenges in the world from a CST perspective
  • Catholic Imagination & the Arts, highlighting how religious faith informs and inspires the work of artists, writers, poets, playwrights, musicians, filmmakers and culture in the broadest sense
  • Studies in Augustinian Spirituality, exploring the relevance of St. Augustine and his spirituality to the Villanova community

Additional lectures, panel discussions and performances are offered in collaboration with academic departments and programs.

 

priest speaking at Pope Francis conference

Mission & Ministry offers Catholic Social Teaching and Issues of Justicea curriculum development workshop designed to encourage faculty to become familiar with the core principles of Catholic social teaching and with exploring ways to enrich an existing course syllabus with exposure to Catholic social teaching. 

 

As a part of the Institute for Catholic Social Thought, the Faith & Culture Forum reflects on how faith of all varieties and culture interact, which methodological foundations guide these reflections, and how the study of faith and culture transforms our relationships with the world. The Faith & Culture Forum promotes the creation of an inclusive intellectual community of faculty and graduate students at Villanova and beyond through substantial and accessible scholarly dialogue about the interaction between faith and culture. The activities of the Forum promote both the sustained engagement with these questions through seminars that meet regularly over a period of time, and the intense, focused investigation of specific issues in the form of conferences or workshops.

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Resources

Teaching Race

Advisory Board

James Wetzel, PhD
The Augustinian Endowed Chair in the Thought of St. Augustine
Director of the Augustinian Institute
Professor of Philosophy

Kathleen Grimes, PhD
Assistant Professor, Theology and Religious Studies

Kathryn Getek Soltis, STL, PhD
Executive Director, Center for Peace and Justice Education
Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics

Kerry SanChirico, PhD
Assistant Professor, Theology and Religious Studies