Pope Francis has appointed Filipino Dominican priest Fr. Albino Barrera as a member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, the Vatican announced on September 14.
As a newly-appointed member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, he has a term of 10 years that Pope Francis can renew.
Filipino Dominican priest
Fr. Barrera is a 65-year old priest based in the United States. He is a moral theologian and professor of economics and theology at Providence College in Rhode Island.
Fr. Barrera studied engineering at the De La Salle University in Manila and earned his doctorate in economics from Yale University in 1988.
Born in Manila, the Filipino Dominican priest was ordained for the Dominican Order in 1993. He obtained a degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., in 1994. (Read: Pope Francis Names Six Filipino Priests As ‘Missionaries of Mercy’)
Fr. Barrera has authored numerous publications in the field of moral theology, economic ethics, development, and international trade. In 2013, the Dominican Province of St. Joseph conferred him the degree of Master of Sacred Theology for his “outstanding contribution to the theological sciences.”
Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences
The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences was established in 1994 by Pope John Paul II. It has disciplines, including law, economics, social philosophy, political science, sociology, history, and other disciplines: demography, political philosophy, psychology, and international development.
Each of the Academy’s meetings begins with a report on the Church’s social teachings relative to the topic in question. The Academy also 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 goals, the Academy organizes conferences and workshops on specific themes, promotes scientific surveys and research, helps institutions and private individuals execute them, publishes the results of its own consultations, and issues publications of a scientific nature. (Read: 3 Inspiring Quotes From Pope Francis On People With Disabilities)
According to the Vatican News, the Academy helps offer the Church those elements which she can use in the development of her social doctrine and reflects on the application of that doctrine in contemporary society.