This month, Pope Francis welcomed Paolo Carozza, director of the University of Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies, into the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. St. John Paul II established the academy in the mid-1990s to promote social science as a platform for the betterment of society.
“The Church needs a sophisticated engagement with the best of the social sciences in order to be able to judge as fully and realistically as possible what is happening in our world,” Carozza told Today’s Catholic. “And the social sciences need the deeply humanizing vision of Christian tradition in order to remain open to ‘the whole breadth of reason,’ to use the phrase of Benedict XVI —and to the most authentic and relevant questions of human and social life.”
Carozza’s experience in bridging social science with human and social issues extends beyond his role as director of the Kellogg Institute, which concentrates on societal development on a global level. Carozza directed Notre Dame’s Center for Civil and Human Rights from 2011-13, and he previously served as the president of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Currently, he teaches at the university’s law school; his areas of expertise include comparative law, human rights and international law.
Carozza lends his background to society in other ways as well. He is actively involved with Notre Dame’s faith-based student club, Communion and Liberation. The club works to foster the maturity of faith of its members, including an understanding of the connection between Catholicism and culture.
“I help guide the communion and liberation community at Notre Dame because one can’t experience the exceptional beauty and fullness of humanity that we encounter in Christ’s presence and not be filled with the desire to share it with others,” he said.
He considers his admittance into the academy to be a responsibility, and believes that his background will blend well with his involvement on the board.
“It is a real gift to be invited to serve the Church in a way that puts all of my experience as a scholar in play so directly,” he commented.
Along with the other members of the academy and the Holy Father, Carozza will concentrate on a variety of current issues — including topics taken up at the direct request of Pope Francis, such as religious freedom, modern forms of slavery and sustainable development.
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