by Stephen Adubato | this piece originally appeared on the Letters page of Communion and Liberation.
From June 28-July 9, a group of fourteen American graduate students met in England for the Scala Foundation’s Summer Seminar. Splitting their time between Magdalen College at Oxford and Ampleforth Abbey in York, the group engaged in a series of discussions about the theme of “Rediscovering Integral Humanism.”
The Seminar is the brainchild of Margarita Mooney, a professor of sociology at Princeton Theological Seminary. Margarita had been teaching sociology at another institution when she came upon the work of Jacques Maritain and his concept of “Integral Humanism.” It was in his writings that she found an intelligent and useful way of integrating her faith with her professional interests.
Her engagement with the works of personalists like Maritain and John Paul II as well as classical philosophers like Aristotle raised the eyebrows of her few fellow sociologists. Can sociology acknowledge certain essential, universal truths about the human person … truths that transcend the measurable and economic categories that most sociologists rely on to do their work?