Membership in the Society of Catholic Social Scientists

SCSS Membership

The SCSS is open to Catholic scholars, professors, teachers, practitioners, and others in political science and political philosophy, sociology, social thought, social work, counseling, history, economics, psychology, psychiatry, law, anthropology, geography, and other disciplines whose work touches social or public concerns (e.g., theology, philosophy, medicine). Thus, we do not define the term “social scientist” in the narrow way that is so typical today.

The primary aim of the SCSS is to produce objective knowledge about the political, social, and economic orders that can assist the Catholic Church in fulfilling her various apostolic efforts and bring the Church’s teaching and the natural law to bear on addressing the challenges and problems of modern culture. The SCSS evaluates and critiques contemporary social science work under the guidance of the Church’s social teaching and promotes research on current social problems to determine how to better address them in light of that teaching. The SCSS also seeks to provide opportunities for professional camaraderie among Catholic social scientists.

The SCSS accepts faithfully and enthusiastically Pope John XXIII’s injunction that “Christians…conform their behavior in economic and social affairs to the teachings of the Church.” We believe that the Church and the Natural Law (of which the Church is the divinely-appointed interpreter), not ideologies of left or right, must be the basis for man’s principles about society, and that we must obey all that the Church teaches. The SCSS does not embrace any particular social, economic, political, or psychological systems or approaches because the Church herself does not. Our membership, programs, and journal reflect the many different perspectives that are compatible with Catholic orthodoxy.

If you share these views and meet the membership criteria outlined below, we invite you to apply for membership in the SCSS.

SCSS Membership Criteria

  1. Fidelity to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church in all it teaches including, and especially, her social teachings–always distinguishing between positions asserted in the social encyclicals which are morally obligatory and those which are not and allowing for legitimate differences in views about their application–and teachings on conjugal morality and family life, such as the important encyclical Humanae Vitae, and acceptance of Vatican Council II.
  2. Reasonable knowledge of and interest in deepening one’s understanding of the Church’s social teachings.
  3. The minimum of an earned advanced degree (e.g., M.A., J.D.), except that full-time graduate students who are working toward a master’s degree (or equivalent) and secure the sponsorship of a current regular or associate member of the Society are eligible for student membership.
  4. Support for the purpose of the Society (as stated in Article Two of its Constitution):

The purpose of this organization is to bring Catholic scholars, professors, teachers, practitioners, and the others in the social sciences and related disciplines into association to produce objective knowledge and analysis about the political, social, and economic orders which can assist the Catholic Church in fulfilling her various apostolic efforts, and which can bring the Church’s social and other teaching and the Natural Law to bear on addressing the challenges and problems of modern culture. The Society seeks to promote scholarly efforts which are oriented to helping rebuild the culture according to the principles of the papal social encyclicals (with justice and charity as foremost considerations), securing protection for the dignity and rights of the Christian family and of all innocent human life (from fertilization until natural death), and furthering respect for the legitimate rights and duties of the human person.

Non-Catholics who are knowledgeable about and support the Church’s teachings and the purpose of the Society may become special associate members of the Society (entitled to all the rights and privileges of regular members, except for holding a national office, serving as president or executive head of a local chapter, serving as chairman of a disciplinary or special interest section, and sitting on the national Board of Directors), but, if their consciences do not permit, will not be expected to affirm fidelity to the Magisterium.

All applicants, who are not known about by the Membership Committee and are not specifically invited to join the Society, will be required to submit a vita or other personal information in order to demonstrate, by their academic background, publications/writings, activity, or other service, that they meet the above criteria and are of the categories of people eligible to be members of the Society, as specified in the above statement of the Society’s purpose from Article Two of its Constitution. They will also be required to provide the names of at least two present members of the Society who can be approached by the Membership Committee as references. If the latter is not possible, the Membership Committee may waive the requirement.

Signing the statement on the application form affirming commitment to the Church’s teachings does not preclude a further inquiry into this question by the Membership Committee through careful consideration of the above information, materials, and submissions, and further communication with the applicant. The decision of the Membership Committee regarding the acceptance of any application shall be final.

Apply for membership now.

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