Being a Catholic Sociologist

With as much as I struggle through graduate school and complain that it is quite literally taking over my life, I feel compelled to say that I truly do love what I\’m doing. Finding sociology for me is probably akin to finding a husband. It feels right. I belong there. It combines my favorite things like people and research with an overarching goal of trying to make the world a better place. I understand it and after all this time, I can\’t imagine being anywhere else in my life.

That being said, something recently got brought up in one of my classes that really bothered me: the debate between \”objective\” academic science (of which sociology tries to be a part) and religion. Particularly, there was one person in my class that straight up said that a religious sociologist was an oxymoron, and he couldn\’t see how academia and religion could possibly coexist given their seemingly different objectives. Now, assuming you know me, you know that I am a Roman Catholic. A practicing Roman Catholic at that, and though I wouldn\’t say I am the most devout Christian in the world, heaven knows I\’m not, I like to think that I take my religion seriously. I\’m also a sociologist, or at least I\’m in training to be. And I\’m trying to be a good sociologist. One who sees the world and the social functions of those things that we take for granted. I want to make the world a better place, but I realize, that professions like counseling and social work (professions that work in the trenches everyday) are not a good fit for me. Social research is a way that I feel I can not only do what I love and care about, but also give back to the world.

I don\’t think there is a fundamental disagreement between the two. They have two different functions. Understanding the Church from a social perspective does not mean that I cannot have a spiritual life. Not thinking that it\’s even a possibility is just as close-minded and intolerant as I\’ve been accused of.

\”Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one\’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others. \” – John F. Kennedy

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *