All of our work is aimed at one goal: to share the richness of the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition through teaching, research, and dialogue, at the highest level and across a range of disciplines.
In Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Pope John Paul II summed up the Catholic university when he said its mission was to present the truth about God and man and nature. This charge is all the more imperative for an elite modern academy (and a modern world) in which some deny the very possibility of truth.
At the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, we believe that the truth the church affirms about the human person is the foundation for freedom, justice, human dignity, and the common good. All of our work is aimed at one goal: to share the richness of this Catholic moral and intellectual tradition through teaching, research, and dialogue, at the highest level and across a range of disciplines. In so doing, we strengthen Notre Dame’s Catholic character on campus -- and we bring the university’s voice into the public debate over the most vital issues of our day.
We do this in many ways, such as our annual fall conference on ethical, political, and cultural issues (featuring interdisciplinary debate and exchange among the world’s most prominent thinkers and policymakers), our spring conference on medical ethics (bringing together practicing physicians and scholars to discuss vexed questions arising in the clinical setting), our fellowship program (bringing both eminent and emerging scholars to the Notre Dame community), and our extensive programming for students (including our popular Catholic literature lecture series which explores the work of important Catholic authors). In all these endeavors, we raise the profile of Catholic scholars and writers who are doing important work but who might not be heard without our help. Whether it be through the Congressional testimony of one of our scholars, the published research of one of our fellows, the expert advice on a contemporary problem provided for the bishops (in the U.S. and around the world), or our public witness for the preciousness of unborn human life, we engage the questions much of the American academy prefers to ignore -- and we do so by working with anyone of any views, so long as he or she is willing to come together in open and honest debate.
As scholars, researchers, and fellows, we celebrate the beauty and wisdom of the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition, and we understand our vocation as a charge to explore it with Notre Dame students, faculty and staff, alumni and friends, and colleagues in the academy both in the U.S. and abroad. We consider our work a labor of love, because we know that the Gospel liberates rather than confines and that the Catholic tradition enriches rather than limits intellectual inquiry. In our unique way, we help Notre Dame to fulfill its mission as an indispensable, countercultural force within the community of elite universities and a voice for authentic human freedom and dignity in the great global public square.