Towards a Social Theology of the Child

Project Details


In response to the Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Catholic Church and based on the assumptions that there is a need for a systematic theology of the child and that theology in general and Catholic Social Tradition in particular have to offer important contributions to the discourse on childhood the applicant suggests organizing a series of three conferences to explore the possibilities for a Social Theology of the Child:
The initial stage of the project will be shaped by Social Ethics in the Catholic Tradition (“Catholic Social Teaching”); we want to bring a group of about eight to ten social ethicists together to develop a sketch of a “CST-based social theology of the child” based on an initial document distributed to the participants and involving youth as well as a member of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and either a member of the Congregation for the Clergy or a member Council of European Conference of Priests. The proposed location is Salzburg (conference center St. Virgil).
In a second stage we would continue with 4-6 participants of the first meeting and have a conversation with theologians from different disciplines, namely history, systematic theology, biblical theology, canon law, liturgy and practical (pastoral) theology. Again, young people should be present and representatives of “institutional players.” Again, the proposed location is Salzburg (St Virgil).
In the third stage the initiative will organize a symposium on “good childhood” bringing together theologians, practitioners (from NGOs like The Children’s Society) and scientists from different disciplines (psychology, biology, sociology political science, history, cultural anthropology). The outcome of the meeting will be a document that is something like a “commentary on the theological discourse,” a list of tasks for theology and some institutional policy recommendations. The proposed location is the University of Notre Dame Campus.
After the third meeting a research project can be designed with the aim of shaping the discourse on “theology of child” (maybe by especially involving future academic leaders).

Short titleTheoChild
Effective start/end date1/03/2031/08/21


  • Theology
  • Childhood
  • Catholic Social Teaching