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A Letter from SCSS President Stephen Krason regarding membership...
I am writing to invite you to apply for membership in the Society of Catholic Social Scientists (SCSS). The SCSS, founded in 1992, is composed of 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. There are now nearly 450 members around the U.S., Canada, and abroad. 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 Blessed 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, psychological, etc., 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. There are other social perspectives that are troublesome from the standpoint of the Church, however, because, as the popes have said, they reflect a flawed human anthropology. Examples are laissez faire liberalism (as opposed to simply stressing the value of the market), socialism, the notion of the paternalistic/welfare state, consumerism, economism, the therapeutic mentality, and positivistic social science. In light of this, the SCSS affirms that a truly just society will strive to respect religion and the family, acknowledge both man's temporal and spiritual good (i.e., man as both individual and person), preserve such crucial principles of social ethics as subsidiarity and solidarity, and promote the true common good.
While always open to various perspectives, the SCSS gives particular attention to the work of outstanding past Catholic social scientists such as the sociologist Msgr. Paul Hanly Furfey, the historian-sociologist Christopher Dawson, the economist Heinrich Pesch, S.J., the psychologist-psychiatrist Dom Thomas Verner Moore, and others who have influenced the Church. Like them, we seek to develop a way of thinking about society that is truly informed by a Catholic vision.
Like most scholarly and professional organizations, the SCSS works to give its members outlets for their work and opportunities for professional development. In addition to this, however, the SCSS's purpose involves evangelization. As an organization it seeks to promote the Faith and particularly the Church's social message in ways that are appropriate for scholarly and professional mediums. It encourages its members to undertake their scholarly and professional efforts in an evangelical spirit--at least to the point of sincerely seeking truth (which is, after all, the Church's aim) and demonstrating, by their scholarly work and professional efforts and example, the truth about what the Church has done, is, and stands for, and the wisdom of her teaching.
The SCSS is headquartered at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio, U.S.A. The SCSS holds an annual meeting-conference in late October which gives members the opportunity not only to get together for fellowship and camaraderie, but also to present papers, share their scholarly work or activity in their fields, and exchange ideas as a way of helping to further the SCSS's above objectives. Preceded by an annual "call for papers," the conference typically features papers, panels, and talks on a wide variety of topics in the social sciences and concerning social questions. We also generally hold a smaller spring conference focused on a particular theme and have, at times, co-sponsored conferences with other institutions and organizations.
Our other efforts include the following: The publication of an annual refereed scholarly journal, The Catholic Social Science Review (published each fall and usually running to over 400 pages; it is also available online in full-text at www.cssronline.org); a recently-launched Catholic Social Thought Book Series through Scarecrow Press (which builds on our previous special publications, including The Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy); giving awards for outstanding contributions to building up Catholic social science and for Catholic social action; maintaining listservs for member announcements and to promote discussion among our members and a website (www.catholicsocialscientists.org); activity as a recognized non-governmental organization at the United Nations, where the SCSS takes part in important conferences to help the Church's efforts for justice, peace, respect for human life, and a sound international morality; a week-long Summer Catholic Social Thought Institute for graduate students and professors, co-sponsored with the Cardinal Newman Society's Center for the Study of Catholic Higher Education; and an M.Th. program in Catholic Social Thought through the Graduate Theological Foundation, where SCSS member scholars direct students toward the degree through tutorial or online studies. The SCSS also has several local/regional chapters and disciplinary sections. It periodically issues statements and analyses about current public and Church questions.
We believe the efforts of this organization are bearing fruit for the Church and society. If you wish to apply for membership, please fill out a membership application form (link at the top of page) and return it with the required vita or bio and the $25 annual dues (graduate student memberships--which are limited to full-time students in masters degree or equivalent programs--are $15) to:
(Make check--(must be drawn on a U.S. bank)--or money order out to "SCSS.")
Dues-paying members receive The Catholic Social Science Review. If for any reason your application is turned down, your money will be refunded in full. If you would like more information, please contact me (phone (740) 284-5377, fax (740) 283-6401 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
I hope you will consider applying for membership, and let us know about others who might be interested. Please also keep the SCSS in your prayers. God bless you
Stephen M. Krason, Esq., Ph.D.
Professor of Political Science and Legal Studies
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Links for membership criteria, application for membership, and accompanying profession of faith are above. For more about us, see our list of National Officers and National Advisory Board.