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Catholic Social Teaching at the Catholic University

Catholic Social Teaching at the Catholic University

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Published by: Center for the Study of Catholic Higher Ed on Jun 30, 2010
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Perspectives 
in Catholic Higher Education
A
n insistence on spreading the Church’s socialdoctrine among all Catholics, especially by educational programs or the laity, runs throughoutthe modern papal Magisterium, beginning with Leo XIII’s exhortations to the laity o the late 19
th
cen-tury. At that time, it was indeed somewhat unusualor a pope to appeal directly to the people and to ask them to acquire the intellectual and moral trainingrequired to conront successully the ever-growingchallenges o the modern world. Yet by the time wereach Pius XI and Pius XII, it is taken or grantedthat the main audience or papal teachings on eco-nomics and politics must be Christ’s lay aithul, whoare striving to impress the divine law upon and apply the natural law to the changing situations o theirtemporal lie. Tus, while even the orward-looking Leo XIII ad-dressed his celebrated 1891 encyclical
Rerum Novar-um
on labor and capital (or the rights and duties o  workers and employers) to the bishops o the world,Pius XI, commemorating the 40
th
anniversary o thesame with his 1931 encyclical
Quadragesimo Anno
onthe reconstruction o the social order, added to hisaddressees “likewise all the aithul o the Catholic world.Tis is only to be expected, or while theclergy have as their primary task the internal gov-ernance and strengthening o the Church, believersliving in the world have the corresponding task o puriying and sanctiying secular realities with a view to leading souls to salvation in Christ.I there is a denite Catholic doctrine on social, po-litical, and economic lie – and o course there is just
Catholic Social Teaching at the Catholic University
by Peter A. Kwasniewski, Ph.D.
 June, 2010
Copyright © 2010 The Center for the Advancementof Catholic Higher Education9415 West Street, Manassas, Virginia 20110703/367-0333 ext. 105www.CatholicHigherEd.org
such a thing: a rich and detailed
corpus
o teachingrooted in Scripture and radition, rened by cen-turies o experience – then it only stands to reasonthat educating the Catholic aithul in this body o doctrine is o paramount importance, a basic andnecessary component o their ongoing catecheticaland theological training.Along these lines, Blessed John XXIII’s great encyc-lical
Pacem in Terris
o 1961 stated (and these wordsare representative o many other papal documentsthat might be cited):
 We must rearm most strongly that thisCatholic social doctrine is an integralpart o the Christian conception o lie.It is thereore Our urgent desire thatthis doctrine be studied more and more.First o all it should be taught as part o the daily curriculum in Catholic schoolso every kind…Our beloved sons, thelaity, can do much to help this diusiono Catholic social doctrine by studying itthemselves and putting it into practice,and by zealously striving to make othersunderstand it…It is vitally important,thereore, that Our sons learn to un-derstand this doctrine. Tey must beeducated to it.
 Te natural conclusion is that Catholic colleges anduniversities (or chaplaincies connected with non-Catholic ones) must make room in their curricula ormandatory instruction and optional specialized work in this crucial area o the Magisterium.

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