JP Shortall | March 9, 2018
The University of Notre Dame's Center for Social Concerns will sponsor “Beyond Mere Generalities: Applying Catholic Teaching in the Present Context,” a conference at the Notre Dame London Global Gateway, March 8-10. It will be the second gathering of the Applied Catholic Social Tradition Network, an international group of scholars focused on the application of Catholic social tradition (CST) to various social problems. The network first met in Rome in January 2017 and continues to expand its membership.
The idea for the network originated with Clemens Sedmak, professor of social ethics at the Keough School of Global Affairs and adviser in Catholic social tradition at the Center for Social Concerns, and Bill Purcell, associate director of Catholic social tradition at the Center for Social Concerns.
This conference will build on the one in Rome by focusing on the relationship between the fundamental principles of Catholic social tradition and the complex realities of particular situations. As Sedmak said, “We want to ask what it means to translate the principles of CST into practices and judgments in real-world situations, and how realities on the ground challenge the fundamental principles of CST.”
The London conference is the second in what will be a series of conferences intended to engage the expertise of an international network of academics, religious and nonprofit professionals. Those in attendance will focus on fundamental and practical questions about the difference Catholic social tradition can make in concrete social situations, especially at the peripheries of society. The aim of the network is to respond to Pope Francis’ reminder in Evangelii Gaudium (Joy of the Gospel), “to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the light of the Gospel.”
Rev. Kevin Sandberg, C.S.C., acting executive director of the Center for Social Concerns, said that networks and conferences like this one are important for the center, for Notre Dame, for the Church and for the world. “When there’s a rare disease that no one medical field of specialization alone understands, it’s important to gather specialists from various fields to approach it. The CST network conferences gather people with various gifts and perspectives to approach challenging social problems that none of us alone understands completely or can remedy.”