Center For Social Concerns to host international experts on peace and justice

by John Guimond

Peace Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: Celebrating 50 Years of "Pacem In Terris"

The University of Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns will host leading international scholars in the Catholic Social Tradition on campus March 21-23 (Thursday-Saturday) for a conference titled “Peace Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: Celebrating 50 Years of ’Pacem In Terris.’” The conference will kick off with a viewing of the film “Monseñor: The Last Journey of Oscar Romero” at 7 p.m. March 20.

The conference will explore the thematic peace and justice issues that have been addressed by modern Catholic social thought, especially those within Pope John XXIII’s encyclical “Pacem In Terris” including human rights, political structures, ecumenism and environmentalism. Speakers from around the world, who represent the international and interfaith approach to peacemaking and promotion of human rights that has profoundly affected Catholic teaching and practice, will address the weaknesses or gaps that exist within “Pacem In Terris” as well as how the Church of today can move forward in the promotion of peace and justice in our pluralistic world.

“Fifty years after its release, Pope John XXIII’s encyclical ‘Pacem in Terris’ remains a profound and meaningful document,” said Rev. Paul V. Kollman, C.S.C., executive director of the Center for Social Concerns. “This conference rightfully places the University and the Center at the heart of thoughtful and reflective conversations by church and academic leaders on peace and justice issues raised in ‘Pacem in Terris’ that continue to challenge the church and our world today.”

Julian Filochowski, chair of the Archbishop Romero Trust in England and former director of CAFOD, the official Catholic aid agency for England and Wales, has been invited to offer the annual Romero Lecture titled “Oscar Romero: The Martyrdom of an Apostle for Peace and a Vatican II Champion.” It will also serve as the conference keynote address and will take place at 8 p.m. March 22 (Friday) in the McKenna Hall Auditorium.

Bill Purcell, associate director for Catholic Social Tradition at the Center and convener of the conference, stated: “We are excited to be at the heart of a dialogue between leaders in higher education, the nonprofit sector and the Church as they seek to develop practices, grounded in our Catholic social tradition, that address the most pressing issues of our time.”

The conference is being convened by the Center for Social Concerns, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, Catholic Relief Services, the Henkels Lecture Series of Notre Dame’s Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, as well as 14 other sponsors to foster dialogue between scholars, Church leaders and practitioners in the church and nonprofit sector. The lectures are free and open to all students, faculty and the public.

The Center for Social Concerns facilitates community-based learning, research and service, informed by the Catholic Social Tradition.