Catholic social teaching to come alive at upcoming seminars

05 May 2022

By Jamie O'Brien

United States Jesuit priest Fr Fred Kammer SJ will next week speak at two seminars with the aim of animating Catholic social teaching and bringing alive the Church’s best kept secret. Photo: Supplied/Fred Kammer.

Perth Catholics will be privileged to learn more about Catholic social teaching through two seminars by renowned United States author, advocate and lawyer, Fr Fred Kammer SJ.

Fr Fred will firstly speak at the University of Notre Dame next Tuesday 10 May, on the topic ‘A Passion for Justice and God’s Own Poor’.

The seminar will explore ten ways Catholic charities are authentically ‘Catholic’, distinct from secular social services.

The seminar will draw from Fr Fred’s decades of experience both in leading Catholic charities and social services, where he worked to serve people experiencing vulnerability, as a lay volunteer, attorney, advocate, and administrator.

In an exclusive interview with Fr Fred, who is visiting Australia while on sabbatical, he highlighted the importance of Catholic social teaching.

“It’s the Church’s best kept secret that many Catholics haven’t been given the opportunity to learn more about,” Fr Fred explained.

“It speaks to our daily life in so many ways, the economic, the social, our human dignity and our duty to work for peace and justice,” he said.

Archbishop Costelloe SDB with Identitywa CEO Marina Re and resident Josh and Simon. A seminar by US Jesuit Fr Fred Kammer SJ will look at ways Catholic charities are authentically ‘Catholic’, distinct from secular social services. Photo: Identitywa/Archdiocese of Perth.

The second seminar, co-ordinated by the Western Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (WACMRO) is titled ‘Welcome the Stranger!’ and will be held on Wednesday 11 May at the Newman Siena Centre.

This talk will examine the phenomena of human mobility as a social reality and in light of understandings from Scripture and key principles from Catholic Social Teaching.

“It will be a considered Christian response which enhances the Catholicity of the local church, with online and written resources, as well as plenty of Q&A,” Fr Fred explained.

Staff from Archdiocesan agency The Shopfront following the opening of the new building in September 2020. Perth Catholics will be privileged to learn more about Catholic social teaching through two seminars by renowned United States author, advocate and lawyer, Fr Fred Kammer SJ. Photo: Ron Tan.

Hailing from New Orleans, Louisiana, Fr Fred told The Record his passion for Catholic social teaching developed having grown up in an era when society was legally segregated based on colour.

“This was a time of enormous social change and has shaped my own desires to support the poor, to animate what the Church teaches and to encourage renewal where necessary and possible,” he said.

A member of the Central and Southern Province of the Jesuits, Fr Fred is the Director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute, a post he has held since 2009.

Fr Fred was previously President of Catholic Charities USA from 1992 to 2001; the largest voluntary human service network in the US.

Fr Fred has also been a Policy Advisor for Health and Welfare Issues, Department of Social Development and World Peace, US Catholic Conference and from 1984 to 1989, he was Executive Director of Catholic Community Services of Baton Rouge, Inc.

Fr Fred has long been deeply passionate about his faith and social justice advocacy, which lead to his call to the vocation of priesthood with the US Central and Southern Province of the Jesuits.

A founder and former director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University in New Orleans, Fr Fred has previously served as President of Catholic Charities USA.

More information on the UNDA Seminar is available by Clicking Here.

More information on the WACMRO seminar is available by Clicking Here.