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Update on COVID-19

In accordance with university guidelines regarding COVID-19, the Initiative has suspended all in-person dialogues and gatherings until campus reopens to students. We will explore how we can offer interactive event opportunities virtually and keep you posted on what we have lined up. Be sure to stay connected with us for all the latest updates via email, Facebook, and Twitter.

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 people at a candlelight vigil in memory of George Floyd in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Racism in Our Streets and Structures Event

We have watched a police officer kneel on the neck of a black man on a street in Minneapolis, Minnesota, destroying a life and igniting protests across the United States. We have seen a young black man gunned down on a street in Glynn County, Georgia. We have seen a young woman shot by police…


Our response to the coronavirus pandemic reveals who we truly are

Our response to the coronavirus pandemic reveals who we truly are

In this article posted by America Magazine, Initiative director John Carr writes about the unprecedented health crisis, growing economic disaster, and fundamental moral test of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Our response demonstrates who we are, what we believe and what kind of society we are becoming," Carr writes. " Terrible times reveal our true values, priorities, and character as individuals and as a society."

Relatedly, the Initiative hosted an online Public Dialogue, Salt and Light Gathering, and Latino Leader Gathering on March 26, 2020 on Catholic Social Thought and the Coronavirus Crisis: Moral Principles for Terrible Times. With a panel of several respected leaders, the Initiative explored questions related to the coronavirus crisis that are rooted in the principles of Catholic social thought: protecting human life and human dignity; practicing solidarity; defending the poor and vulnerable; respecting the dignity of work and the rights of workers; using subsidiarity to help guide governments at all levels; and pursuing the common good.

The core message of both the online dialogue and the America article is this: "Our faith gives us hope in the midst of fear, calls us to protect human life and dignity, to practice solidarity and accept responsibility, to care for the weak and vulnerable, to lift up workers, and to pursue the common good."

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.