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Rivista di etica e scienze sociali / Journal of Ethics & Social Sciences


Andrija Zivković on the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Angelicum (1954)




This text is an excerpt from the paper "Understanding the Church’s Social Teaching in the Thought of Dr. Andrija Živković", which the author presented as part of her coursework for the lecture course: "History of Christian Social Thought II: Modern Period", which she followed as part of her post-doctoral programme in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Angelicum, February - June 2023


Prof. Andrija Živković, Ph.D. (1886-1957) was a priest of the Diocese of Đakovo and Srijem, professor of moral theology at the philosophical and theological college in Đakovo and later at the Catholic Faculty of Theology in Zagreb (1925-1957).


In this paper, based on the unpublished manuscript Catholic Social Teaching, we present Živković’s understanding of the Church’s social teaching and the reasons why he distinguishes it from sociology, as presented in the first chapter of the pdfunpublished manuscript. Živković believes that sociology should not only study society phenomenologically but must also offer solutions for social evils and injustices, which, as he says, can only be done by “Catholic sociology”. In the second part of the paper, we will emphasize the importance of educating priests for social thought and action because Živković emphasizes this as the need of the hour. It is also worth mentioning that in his manuscript, Živković provides, as an encouraging example, the study plan for the social education of priests implemented at the Pontifical University Angelicum in Rome in the academic year 1952/1953 when the Institute for Social Sciences (Institutum scientiarum socialium) was founded at the Dominican Faculty of Philosophy. At the end of the paper, as an appendix, we will include from Živković’s manuscript a list of works by other Croatian authors who promoted Catholic social thought between the two world wars and offered solutions to the social injustices of the time.


He especially points out that Catholic sociology is becoming an increasingly essential auxiliary science in theology, more than some courses in history or linguistics. It is becoming an indispensable science in explaining the role of the Church and its duties in modern life. As an example of good practice, Živković cites the example of the Pontifical University Angelicum in Rome, which, in the academic year 1952/53, founded the Institute for Social Sciences “Institutum scientiarum socialium” at the Faculty of Philosophy. The incentive came from Pope Pius XII’s exhortation “Menti nostrae”. He therefore lists the fundamental purposes of the newly founded Institute: “a) to acquaint young priests with Christian social teaching, as expressed in papal documents during the last hundred years, based on the principles of Thomistic philosophy and theology; to evaluate the progress and current state of economic, social and political life in the world; to qualify young priests not only to be promoters of the correct social teaching in theory and practice, but also to be teachers of Christian sociology and other social teachings in seminaries and other institutes; b) to create a center for social teachings, where they will be cultivated in the spirit of Christianity and in the light of the Catholic view of the world and life. Access and training should be allowed for lay people as well; c) to encourage and promote scientific work in this field with the intention that the modern world, whose social teaching has been exposed to the wrong principles of non-Christian science, comes to the conviction: that social teaching cannot be successfully and beneficially applied to the benefit of humanity, if it remains outside the influence of the Church and the Catholic faith.”

In the continuation of the manuscript, Živković presents the curriculum of the Institute, with the desire to establish something similar in Croatia as well. He points out that the academic programme is divided into three sections: main, auxiliary, and special courses, and emphasizes that it is beneficial to know how they are arranged and graded by value. He thus states: I. Main courses: Church documents on social realities; Social Theology and Philosophy; Philosophy of Law; General Positive Sociology; Social Economy; Civil Law; Union and Labor law; Constitutional Law; International Law; Social History of the Church; Political History; History of Economic and Social Development. II. Auxiliary courses: Religious Sociology; Statistics; Ethnography; Demography; Social Psychology; History and the System of International Society. III. Special courses: General International Associations (UNESCO, UNO, etc.), Associations with religious significance (Pax Romana, Caritas, etc.), Political associations (Schuman Pact, European Defense Community, etc.), Systems of social organization (communism, socialism, fascism, etc.).


Martina Ana Begić


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