Over the past fifty years, Catholics have sought to provide a positive contribution in response to important trends in economic, political, and social spheres. The 1960s marked a period of dramatic change for Catholics in the United States. Catholics gained more influence in an increasingly pluralistic national landscape. At the same time, the teachings of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) called all members of the church to engage in dialogue with the wider world regarding the “signs of the times” and to give “witness and voice to the faith of the whole people of God gathered together by Christ” (Constitution Gaudium et Spes, December 7, 1965, 3-4.) Engagement in such a dialogue is a sign of solidarity, respect, and love for the entire human family bound together by myriad challenges in an interconnected world.
Four Objectives that Guide the Institute for Catholicism and Citizenship
1. To create a platform for theological voices in conversation with other disciplines to reach the public in the service of civil discourse, faithful citizenship and the common good.
2. To disseminate theological and interdisciplinary research applicable to public life, including economic, political and social issues, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
3. To develop and enrich the Catholic profile of the University of St. Thomas by improving interdisciplinary communication and cooperation and by being of service to the students, alumni and the campus community at large.
4. To be involved but not partisan; engaged but not used; principled but not ideological. (USCCB, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States,” [November 2007], para. 58-60.)