Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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(1900-1994) Born in Berlin, Germany, Mueller studied at the University of Berlin and the Berlin School of Commerce, where in 1922 he earned his master's degree in business administration, his thesis director being Werner Sombart. He continued his studies at the University of Cologne, writing his Ph.D. dissertation under the direction of Leopold von Wiese. He married Dr. Therese J. Geuer, a member of the Königswinter Study Circle, which did preparatory work for the papal labor encyclical Quadragesimo Anno . Mueller was Assistant Director for Research in Social Sciences at the University of Cologne until he was dismissed by the Nazis in 1934. He went to England and from there, in 1935, to St. Louis University, where he stayed until assuming the post of Professor of Economics at the College of St. Thomas (now St. Thomas University), St. Paul, Minnesota. There he remained until 1968, when he was made Professor Emeritus of Economics. President, American Catholic Sociological Society, 1948.

Mueller was always concerned with Catholic social teaching, and in 1988 he was awarded the Heinrich Pesch Prize for Social Science and Social Action by the Federation of Catholic Student Fraternities in Germany. Contributing many articles to the American Catholic Sociological Review , Mueller periodically addressed what was a burning issue in the early history of the society: the possibility of a Catholic sociology . He strongly objected to the ideological connotations of the term, calling for rigorous scientific methodology and constant attention to scholarship. Mueller wrote in the Fiftieth Anniversary Special Issue of Sociological Analysis ,

I hope and pray that our early endeavors as Catholic sociologists to see to it that sociology be recognized as an empirical science have not been in vain. . . . But I am convinced that there is no such thing as Catholic or Christian sociology and that we can serve our highest ideals best if we do a good job as genuine sociologists who stick to what the scholastic philosophers called the formal (or specific) object of each science and strive to provide the actionists with reliable data and, perhaps, even forecasts. (p. 389)

Loretta M. Morris


F. H. Mueller, "The Formal Object of Sociology," American Catholic Sociological Review 1(1940):55-61

F. H. Mueller, The Church and the Social Question (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1984 [1963]).

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