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.


Panelists of the June 14, 2019 Public Dialogue on "Lay Leadership for a Wounded Church and Divided Nation."

Lay Leadership for a Wounded Church and Divided Nation Event

This Public Dialogue focused on the often-overlooked costs of the clergy sexual abuse crisis on the Catholic Church’s credibility and impact on public life in the United States, asking how we can repair the Catholic community’s capacity to defend human life and dignity and pursue justice and peace…


John Carr, Emma Green, Kim Daniels, and Mark Shields

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.

Stand for Life, All Life, Every Life: Resisting the Throwaway Culture

Abortion remains one of the most contested issues in American life. The experiences and voices of pro-life women are too often ignored because they challenge our stereotypes and preconceptions. This timely Dahlgren Dialogue featured women leaders committed to pro-life, whole-life principles that reflect the consistent life ethic of Catholic Social Thought, and included the president of Feminists for Life; a Georgetown pro-life student; an African-American pro-life Catholic leader; and a human rights advocate.