Origin and Development
The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences was estabished by the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II with the Motu Proprio of 1 January 1994. Each of the Academy's meetings begins with a report on the Church's social teachings relative to the topic in question. The Academy investigates points where further elaboration of these teachings seems advisable and provides a constructive evaluation of the teachings in the light of the social sciences. To achieve its aims the Academy organizes conferences and workshops on specific themes, promotes scientific surveys and research, helps institutions and private individuals to execute them, publishes the results of its own consultations and issues publications of a scientific nature. Thus far the Academy has addressed the following topics:
- Work and employment (1996, 1997 and 1999 Plenary Sessions)
- Democracy (1996 Workshop; 1998 and 2000 Plenary Sessions)
- Globalization (2000 Workshop; 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2012 Plenary Sessions; 2002 Round Table)
- Intergenerational Solidarity (2002, 2004 and 2006 Plenary Sessions)
- Charity and Justice (2007 Plenary Session)
- Solidarity and Subsidiarity (2008 Plenary Session)
- Human Rights (2009 Plenary Session)
- Crisis in a Global Economy (2010 Plenary Session)
- Religious Freedom (2011 Plenary Session)
- Pacem in Terris Fifty Years Later (2012 Plenary Session)
- Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery (2013 Workshop; 2015 Plenary Session; 2015 Workshop; 2015 Youth Symposium)
The Academy's Premises
The Academy's headquarters are in the Casina Pio IV, in the Vatican City. Built in 1561 as a summer residence for Pope Pius IV and surrounded by the trees and lawns of the Vatican gardens, the Casina is a well-preserved treasury of 16th century frescoes, stucco reliefs, mosaics and fountains.
Who are the Pontifical Academicians?
The Pontifical Academicians are no less than 20 and no more than 40 men and women, suitably representing the various disciplines of the social sciences and geographical regions. They are appointed by the Holy Father after nomination by the Academic body on the basis of their competences and outstanding contributions in the social sciences, and of their moral integrity. The Academy is headed by a President, who acts with the assistance of the Council of the Academy, which meets at least twice a year. The President is appointed by the Supreme Pontiff, to whom he or she reports directly, and is assisted by the Chancellor. The Pontifical Academicians take part in the sessions organized by the Academy together with a few carefully-selected experts on the specific topic addressed. Their deliberations and scientific papers are published by the Academy (or other publishers). They also have the right to propose candidates for nominations and subjects for work. The Council is currently made up of the President and 6 members of the Academy appointed by the Supreme Pontiff, on the proposal of the President, after consultation with the Academicians.
Funding and International Cooperation
For its operating expenses, the Academy receives financial support from a special Foundation for the Promotion of the Social Sciences and from donations and gifts. At present, when these means are not sufficient, the Holy See covers the rest of the budget. The Academy maintains relationships and exchanges publications with other academies and institutions of scientific research.
The Acta series comprises major works such as the proceedings of the plenary sessions. Miscellanea and Extra Series contain proceedings of workshops, as well as special studies concerning scientific subjects. Publications can be downloaded here while hard copies can be ordered directly.