Established in the Holy Year of 2000, the mission of the Committee on Catholic Social Thought at Loyola University Maryland is to foster intellectual reflection on questions of justice. It is unique amongst Loyola's committees and programs in developing intellectual forums for the whole campus community, events serving faculty, staff, administrators, and students. Each semester the Committee hosts lunch discussions, evening lectures, and occasional workshops.
Catholic social thought is a broad tradition of reflection within the Catholic Church on social issues. As is evident from the numerous lunchtime topics and wide-ranging lectures, the Committee on Catholic Social Thought has as its focus the papal encyclical tradition, but also attends to the varied tributaries of Catholic engagement with the world. Discussions fostered by the Committee are built around reading the encyclicals of the popes, documents from the Bishops, philosophical and theological works, but also plays, novels, and poetry by Catholic and Christian authors, such as Muriel Spark, Evelyn Waugh, G. K. Chesterton, and T. S. Eliot.
Conversations are about contemporary issues of justice but rely on a serious engagement with the modern tradition of the Church's social teaching. Aquinas and natural law informs the modern tradition, and the Committee's focus stretches from Pope Leo XIII's seminal document of 1891 On the Condition of the Working Classes up to the 2013 Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel, and beyond.
A fundamental charge of the Committee is to keep the College aware of developments in Catholic social thought. For this reason, the Committee devotes a semester’s reflection to each major social justice document from the popes shortly after one appears.