Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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(1910-1991) In addition to degrees in theology and philosophy, Thomas held an M.A. in both English and French literature from the University of Montréal and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago (1949). A Jesuit, he began his teaching and sociological scholarship at St. Louis University (1949-1953) and helped inaugurate the Institute of Social Order, a national Jesuit Research Institute in Social Sciences, at St. Louis (1949-1965). The institute subsequently moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and then to Georgetown, where Thomas worked until 1986. In that year, he moved to Marquette University, where he lived until his death. Thomas was the only person to become president of both the American Catholic Sociological Society (1960) and its successor, the Association for the Sociology of Religion (1976).

Thomas was primarily noted for his scholarship, writings, and lectures on marriage and family, producing at least nine books, numerous articles, and a series of weekly columns carried in 48 Catholic publications (1957-1963). His ACSS presidential address, titled "The Sociological Implications of Catholic Thought," urged the membership to focus on Catholicism itself as an object of sociological research.

Loretta M. Morris

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