Center for Catholic Social Thought

Catholic social teaching emanates from a Church responding to the “signs of the times” with regard to the challenges of the modern world. It promotes the importance of ethical values as foundational for personal and professional life and the attainment of the common good.

Since the establishment of the Office for Mission & Ministry in 2000, it has worked to familiarize the Villanova University community to the fundamental principles of Catholic social teaching and encourage faculty, in particular, to embed Catholic social teaching within their own coursework and research.

The Center for Catholic Social Thought was established in 2014 to give greater visibility to the efforts of the Office for Mission & Ministry and to create a home for all members of the Villanova community interested in supporting this goal.




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 an annual two or three day conference 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.


Among the most important goals of Catholic higher education is the preservation of and contribution to the Catholic intellectual tradition. Resources to assist with this goal are provided here.

New and In Print

Educators in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition
Edited by John Elias and Lucinda Nolan 
Sacred Heart University Press (2009)

God, Philosophy, Universities:
A Selective History of the Catholic Philosophical Tradition

Alasdair MacIntyre
Rowan and Littlefield Publishers (2009)

Additional Resources

Bibliography (2000)


ICST Programs

The office sponsors a significant number of lectures each semester. Among its most prominent contributions were a year long multi-lecture series in support of the Jubilee Year Dedicated to the Apostle Paul (2008) and a similar program in celebration of the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Franciscan Order and the relevance of the Franciscan Traditon(2009). Over the course of 2010-2012, the office sponsored a series of lectures on Virture Ethics. In each case, the series was published in book form. The office currently coordinates three annual lecture series:

  • Lectures on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition
    focuses on giants of the tradition, Augsutine, Aquinas, Bonaventure, among others as a means of porfessional development for Villanova faculty.
  • Catholic Imagination & the Arts
    is designed to demonstrate how religious faith informs and inspires the work of artists, writers, poets, playwrights, musicians, film makers and culture in the broadest sense.
  • Studies in Augustinian Spirituality
    demonstrates the relevance of St. Augustine and his distinctive spirituality to Villanova University and young adults living in the 21st century.

Additional lectures, panel discussions and performances are scheduled throughout the year in collaboration with academic departments and programs.

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. Our May 2018 Workshop is offered for Villanova faculty only.