Like everyone, as I progressed through my life, there has been no shortage of moral dilemmas. Whether related to family, career, or personal choices, I did my best to navigate them, enlisting the help of my priest when I felt I couldn’t get to the right solution on big problems. Every time I brought a dilemma to my priest, he seemed to have a solution that felt much better than what I was able to come up with. As relieving as it was to have sound guidance in these situations, it highlighted the fact that I was missing something. My priest possessed a reliable compass that allowed him to determine the right direction even in difficult circumstances. Over the years, I’ve searched for such a compass like the one my priest possessed, and I feel I’ve found a very good one, which is called Catholic Social Teaching, or CST.
You may be intimately familiar with CST, or you may just have a vague knowledge of it as a Catholic. To help the latter group, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has highlighted seven themes found in the documents in which CST is defined. These are 1) life and dignity of the human person; 2) call to family, community, and participation; 3) rights and responsibilities; 4) option for the poor and vulnerable; 5) the dignity of work and the rights of workers; 6) solidarity; and 7) care for God’s creation (usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catholic-social-teaching/seven-themes-of-catholic-social-teaching.cfm).
Are your actions and decisions in alignment with these themes? Whether you answer “yes,” “no,” “sometimes,” or “I don’t know,” you have something to gain from and contribute to the Society of Catholic Social Scientists (SCSS). Because of the scholarly nature of the society, you must be a graduate student or possess a graduate degree to join. Nonetheless, we need people to join the society who are willing to commit themselves or who have already committed themselves to CST.
SCSS (national) has granted the Colorado Springs chapter interim recognition if it is able to grow. There is great opportunity for the chapter to be shaped into something that is of use to the community and to the chapter’s members.
What will you get from joining? The current intent for the organization is to 1) provide an outlet for members to spread their current knowledge of CST within the community; 2) develop members’ understanding of CST regardless of current knowledge; and 3) advance understanding of CST as it applies to the professional fields of the chapter’s members. With a little growth in membership, we can begin teaming with each other, the national members, and local organizations to accomplish these goals. In addition to getting to help shape an organization that has the potential to significantly benefit the local community and yourself, you will receive the benefits of national membership as well. These include both a subscription to the society’s journal, the Catholic Social Science Review, and connection to a national community of professionals dedicated to CST.
How does one join? Download the membership application form and the Profession of Faith on the SCSS website, http://www.catholicsocialscientists.org/apply.html, complete these forms, and send them, along with the required vita or bio and the $25 annual dues ($15 for a graduate student membership — limited to full-time students in master’s degree programs) to:
Dr. D. Paul Sullins
SCSS Membership Chairman
4303 Gallatin Street
Hyattsville, MD 20781
For more information, contact Cory Sanders at email@example.com.