Education for justice is both a commitment and theme embedded in courses, programming, and work with faculty of the Center for Social Concerns. The Center sponsors and cosponsors events for the campus and local community that serve to educate and to encourage action on behalf of justice and peace. Where possible, we wish to provide various forums for members of our campus and local community to consider and analyze pressing social problems and to draw “principles of reflection, norms of judgment and directives for action from the social teaching of the Church,” (Octogesima Adveniens 4).
The Center was founded upon the themes of Vatican Council II, which appealed to the faithful to be “artisans of a new humanity." It is a symbolic and living commitment to Pope Paul VI's claim that action for justice is a personal and institutional responsibility involving both the effort to bear witness to the principles of justice and acting to give those principles life in society. The Center takes seriously its role in educating for justice as a fundamental part of its Catholic mission and the Catholic mission of the University.
The Center's justice education range of events, initiatives, and issues have included farmworkers' and workers' rights, fair trade coffee, anti-death penalty, globalization, children's rights, international conflicts, racism, domestic and international poverty, AIDS/HIV, advocacy, human rights, and hunger.
Catholic Social Tradition Annual Themes
Since 2007 the Justice Education team of the Center, comprised of staff members and students, has selected an annual theme from Catholic Social Tradition to serve as a focus for programming and courses. The theme is drawn from a Papal encyclical or Bishops’ statement. The original document, along with other commentary and related resources provide context and background for analysis of pressing social issues.
Care of All Creation is the theme for the 2015-16 academic year, selected in response to Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Sí: On Care for Our Common Home promulgated in the summer of 2015. Events planned for this year will examine the call to action that Pope Francis makes to ‘become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening in the world into our own personal suffering and thus discover what each of us can do about it ." (LS19)