Occasional Paper Series

The Center for Social Concerns at the University of Notre Dame is an academic institute committed to research in the areas of Catholic social tradition and community-engaged learning and scholarship. The Occasional Papers Series was created to contribute to the common good by sharing the intellectual work of the center work with a wider public. It makes available some of the lectures, seminars, and conversations held at the Center. The papers in the series are available for download free of charge; as long as proper credit is given they can be used as any other academic reference.

COVID-19 and Catholic Social Tradition: Reading the Signs of the New Times

Author(s): Emily Garvey, Dan Graff, Adam Gustine, Mike Hebbeler, Felicia Johnson O’Brien, Melissa Marley Bonnichsen, Margaret Pfeil, Bill Purcell, Clemens Sedmak, Nicole Watts, Ben Wilson
2020, 1
In the gospels we find Jesus practicing “situational theology,” responding to the particular dynamic of local situations in specific and new ways while maintaining the commandments to love God and neighbor. The enactment of Catholic Social Tradition takes a similar approach. This paper collects contributions from different colleagues here at the center reflecting on different aspects of the pandemic in the light of CST. Fundamentally, the articles are invitations to see certain aspects and move to judgments that prepare appropriate action. 

Reflections on Memory, the Common Good, and Being Human

Author(s): Margo Borders, Patrick Calderon, Juanita Esguerra, Kevin Kho, Tracy-Lynn Lockwood, Andrew Mach, Theodore Mueller, Adrian Pacurar, Clemens Sedmak, Rachel Ziegler
2018, 2
This paper is an exercise in the communication of memories. A group of young adults, all graduate students from the University of Notre Dame, traveled to Germany and Austria for a week in spring 2018 to experience Holocaust memorial sites. The immersion was part of the “Common Good Initiative” and intended to provide access to the cultivation of a “thick sense” of the Holocaust, a creative understanding of an ethics of remembering and its connections to Catholic social tradition.

Issa, Teacher of Solidarity

Author(s): Clemens Sedmak, Felicia Johnson O’Brien, and Leslie Eid
2017, 1

In 2016, the Center for Social Concerns sponsored a workshop called “CST and the Idea of the University.” Felicia Johnson O’Brien presented on the story of her daughter’s life as an example of how the Center for Social Concerns enacted Catholic Social Tradition. Her presentation, included in the second section, inspired the development of this occasional paper.

Community, Reciprocity, and Collaboration: Reflections on Catholic Social Teaching’s Notions of Subsidiarity and Participation

Author(s): Mary Beckman
2016, 2

This paper poses two applications of Catholic social teaching’s concepts of subsidiarity and participation to academic community engagement. The first pertains to the very general use of the term community. The second refers to a distinction between reciprocity and collaboration. 

Principles in Action: Tracing Catholic Social Tradition in Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program Courses

Author(s): Susan Sharpe
2016, 1

The national Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program anchors hundreds of college and university courses that examine crime and justice from a range of disciplinary perspectives, and through a pedagogy that fosters dialogue between students from a college campus and people who are incarcerated. While Inside-Out pedagogy is secular in nature, one can see principles of Catholic Social Tradition laced into its design. This paper opens with a brief description of the Inside-Out model and then traces, first in the model and then in this author’s particular Inside-Out course, a range of Catholic Social Tradition principles: human dignity, the common good, solidarity, participation, subsidiarity, and rights and duties. 

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