The Catholic Church’s head, Pope Francis, has appointed a Filipino priest to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in the Vatican, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) announced on Wednesday (September 15). 

The Vatican released the decision a day earlier on Tuesday (September 14), which will see US-based Dominican Priest Fr. Albino Barrera become a member of the academy. 

Barrera, who is 65 years old, is currently serving as a moral theologian and professor of economics and theology at Providence College in Rhode Island. 

According to CBCP, he was born in Manila and was ordained as a priest for the Dominican Order in 1993.

He studied engineering at the De La Salle University in Manila and earned his doctorate in economics from Yale University in 1988. Apart from this, he also obtained a degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., in 1994.

As a member of the academy, established by Pope John Paul II in 1994, Barrera will be part of a group that will study and discuss the progress of the social sciences, primarily economics, sociology, law, and political science, which will help in assisting the church to navigate contemporary society. 

“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,” the Vatican News said. 

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Image credit: Providence College USA’s Official Website