New book series approaches justice questions through Catholic social tradition

June 20, 2023

Catholic social teaching is often called the Church’s best kept secret, but a new series of books titled Enacting Catholic Social Tradition is trying to change that. 

The series is being written by participants in SPIRE: The Global Catholic Social Tradition Network and published by Liturgical Press. It is dedicated to the systematic application of Catholic social teaching to real world problems and is meant for academics, pastoral practitioners, and Church leaders and members.

Counting the Cost

The first book in the series is an exploration of the difference Catholic social tradition (CST) would make if it guided our personal and communal financial decision-making and was published earlier this spring. In Counting the Cost: Financial Decision-Making, Discipleship, and Christian Living, Clemens Sedmak and Kelli Reagan Hickey suggest a theological and spiritual discernment process for the everyday reality of budgeting and financial planning grounded in CST.

The book explains how Catholic Social Teaching provides a framework for our thinking around finances by answering questions such as: 

  • What does this fundamental decision look like in times of financial scarcity and stewardship responsibilities? 
  • How do the attitudes that Jesus invites us into shape the ways we make financial decisions? 
  • How can budgeting be and become a way of discipleship for individuals, parishes, and dioceses? 

The book includes a range of financial decision-making examples and reconstructs them as decisions about priorities, values, and commitments to respond to the world and its material realities in a gospel-inspired way.

Sedmak is a professor of theology and Catholic social tradition advisor in the Center for Social Concerns at the University of Notre Dame and concurrent professor of social ethics and director of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies at the Keough School of Global Affairs. Reagan Hickey is the director of formation for the Francesco Collaborative, a team inspired by the Economy of Francesco Movement and the emerging solidarity economy. 

Next in the Series

Four more books are currently in the works: 

  • A Human Right to Housing? Homelessness and Catholic Social Teaching, Suzanne Mary Mulligan, St. Patrick’s Maynooth, Ireland
  • CST & Technology, Walter Schreirer, Megan Levis, and Louisa Conwill, University of Notre Dame
  • Catholic Social Teaching and Community Organizing, Erin M. Brigham, University of San Francisco and Maureen O’Connell, LaSalle University
  • Peace-Building with the Catholic Social Tradition, Jerry Powers, the Catholic Peacebuilding Network, University of Notre Dame. 

Series coordinators are currently seeking authors for volumes on racism, immigration, and disability.

SPIRE was created in 2018 to apply the Church’s social teaching to concrete social problems communities face around the world and share the results with practitioners who can implement them. The Network was built on the idea that justice requires connecting those who are thinking deeply about it with institutions working for it in communities around the world. 

To learn more about the Network, visit the SPIRE website