Catholic Social Thought

The Program in Catholic Social Thought fosters a tradition of reflection on Catholic Social Thought in America in order to address social, economic, and political problems facing both our national and global societies. The program serves as a forum for debate and discussion among scholars, students, and civic leaders at the University of Chicago and internationally.

Current areas of focus include the Program on Economics and Catholic Social Thought, the flagship initiative of the program, and the Crisis of the American Regime, which seeks to identify and address problems facing American democracy at the institutional, ideological, and electoral levels.


Program Co-Chairs

Mary Ann Glendon is the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. She served as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See from 2008 to 2009.  She writes and teaches in the fields of human rights, comparative law, constitutional law, and political theory. Prof. Glendon is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the International Academy of Comparative Law, and a past president of the UNESCO-sponsored International Association of Legal Science. She served two terms as a member of the U.S. President’s Council on Bioethics (2001-2004), and has represented the Holy See at various conferences including the 1995 U.N. Women’s conference in Beijing where she headed the Vatican delegation. Prof. Glendon is author of many articles and books, most recently, The Forum and the Tower: How Scholars and Politicians Have Imagined the World, from Plato to Eleanor Roosevelt (Oxford University Press 2011) and has lectured widely in this country and in Europe.  In May 2012, she was appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent, bipartisan federal body that is principally responsible for reviewing the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and making policy recommendations to the president, secretary of state, and Congress.


Russell Hittinger is Warren Professor of Catholic Studies in the Department of Philosophy and Religion, and Research Professor of Law at the University of Tulsa, and is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas. He works at the intersection of philosophy, law, and theology and has held professorships at the Catholic University of America, Princeton University, Fordham University, and New York University. He has served on the Virginia Governor’s Council for Self-Determination and State Sovereignty and is currently a member of the Ethics Task Force of the St. Francis Health Care System in Tulsa. He also serves on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Jurisprudence and First Things. His honors include the Josephine Yalch Zekan Award for the best scholarly article in faith and law and a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship for university teachers.  Prof. Hittinger’s books include The First Grace: Rediscovering Natural Law in a Post-Christian Age (ISI, 2003) and A Critique of the New Natural Law Theory (University of Notre Dame Press, 1987). He is currently at work on a book on the evolution of Catholic social theory and doctrine during the 19th and 20th centuries.


Economics and Catholic Social Thought

Now in its ninth year, the Conference on Economics and Catholic Social Thought brings together leading economists, social theorists, ethicists, and bishops to discuss and debate state-of-the-art research relevant to important economic and social issues and the life of the Church itself.

Financial Markets and Moral Inquiry 

March 20-21, 2019

Past Conferences

Organizing Committee

Andrew Abela, Catholic University of America
Michael Brennan, UCLA Anderson/London Business School
Mary Hirschfeld, Villanova University
Joe Kaboski, University of Notre Dame
Tom Nechyba, Duke University
Jesús Fernandez Villaverde, University of Pennsylvania
Andrew Yuengert, Catholic University of America