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About the Initiative

The Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life is a unique effort to promote dialogue on Catholic social thought and national and global issues, build bridges across political, religious, and ideological lines, and encourage a new generation of Catholic lay leaders to see their faith as an asset in pursuing the common good.


Young professionals sitting on the lawn in front of the United States Capitol building.

Keeping Faith in Demoralizing Times Event

This Salt and Light Gathering for young Catholic leaders in public life will explore how to live with faith, hope, and charity at a time of division in the United States, crisis in the Catholic Church, and paralysis in Washington, DC. Four remarkable leaders will share their experiences and the…


Panelist Michael Steele gestures during the May 22, 2019 Public Dialogue at Georgetown University.

Amid polarization, the church must work to build bridges

In this article posted by Catholic News Service, Associate Director Kim Daniels highlighted the Initiative's 2018 National Leadership Convening on Overcoming Polarization Through Catholic Social Thought held at Georgetown University. In June 2018, 100 emerging and established leaders from different political, ecclesial, racial and ethnic perspectives came together to address the Convening's goals to "start genuine, productive dialogues; to build relationships across existing divides; and to lift up the principles of Catholic social thought as avenues to help shape a more faithful and unified Catholic contribution to public life."

Over a year later, the United States still faces divisive political rhetoric and polarization. "In these challenging times for our church and country," Daniels wrote, "it’s more important than ever to bring Catholic teachings to public life with humility and love, and to work for the common good together as a communion of faith."

Daniels concluded, "To renew efforts toward unity and communion, we should remember that a true conversion of heart must be at the root of our response for real changes to be effective."

Civil Dialogue in a Divided Nation, Lay Leadership in a Broken Church

This Dialogue, conducted at a Georgetown University Board of Regents meeting, featured panelists Mark Shields, weekly political analyst for PBS NewsHour and syndicated political columnist; Emma Green, staff writer on politics, policy, and religion at the Atlantic; Kim Daniels, associate director of the Initiative and member of the Vatican Secretariat for Communication; and John Carr, founder and director of the Initiative and chair of the board of Bread for the World. Frank Previti (C'69, R'79, Parent), member of the Board of Regents and leader in the Regents' Mission & Ministry committee, opened the Dialogue.

Beyond the Wall: Human Impacts, Moral Principles, and Policy Directions on Immigration

The current divisions over a border wall and immigration policies have shut down parts of the federal government; fundamentally divided Congress and the president of the United States; and undermined the lives, livelihoods, and dignity of both government workers and immigrant families. Today’s headlines and 24-hour news cycle focus primarily on politics, power, and personalities—who will win or lose, and what that means for 2020. This urgent Public Dialogue looked beyond the politics, anger, and fear to focus on the human costs and moral principles that should shape our policy choices and can offer a way out of this crisis.