April 1, 2016

In the business world, where money and profits are often the ultimate goal, the principles of Catholic social teaching such as solidarity or caring for the poor may fall by the wayside. With that in mind, The Catholic University of America School of Business and Economics has developed a new online certificate course that aims to educate working professionals from around the world about the basics of Catholic social doctrine and how it can be applied in the real world. The eight-week course, "Catholic Social Doctrine for the Lay Professional," will begin Monday, April 11.

According to Luanne Zurlo, assistant professor of finance, the course will offer practical guidelines working professionals can use to better understand Catholic social doctrine and its implications. The course was inspired by the work of the Vatican organization Centesimus Annus, which was founded in the early 1980s with the mission of explaining Catholic social doctrine to lay people.

"A lot of people don't fully understand what Catholic social doctrine is so we want to explain how we can bring it from the theoretical world to our daily lives," she said. "This is effectively about trying to understand how we can bring Catholic values to our lives whether at home or amongst our family and friends, how we can make it concrete so that our lives represent the Gospel ideals."The course will be presented in eight modules over the course of eight weeks. Each module will include readings pulled directly from official Church documents, as well as videos, animations, or PowerPoint presentations showcasing real world examples of how Catholic social doctrine can be applied.

Though anyone can access the course materials for free by registering, students who are interested in receiving a certificate of completion from the Vatican must pay a fee of $129. To earn the certificate, students will be required to participate in weekly online discussions moderated by University business school professors. In addition to Zurlo, participating professors include Joseph Capizzi, associate professor of moral theology and ethics for the School of Theology and Religious Studies (STRS) and associate dean for graduate studies; George Garvey, professor emeritus in the Columbus School of Law; Andreas Widmer, director of entrepreneurship for the School of Business and Economics; Brian Engelland, professor of marketing and interim dean of the business school; and John Grabowski, associate professor of moral theology and ethics for STRS. For those who complete the program, Zurlo hopes they find some clarity in our "complex and challenging world." For business leaders, especially, she hopes the course will help shed light on ways to make a positive impact in the world.

"It's really important to have a true light by which we can illuminate the decisions we make," she said. "There are so many competing voices out there, but the Catholic Church has a perspective on the social world in which we operate that is very unique and special. It's incumbent upon us as Christians and Catholics to use the wisdom and the truth of the Church to illuminate these decisions."

The Catholic Social Doctrine Certificate program will begin April 11 and will run for eight weeks. For more information about the course or to sign up, visit http://csdcertificate.com.