The leading center for scholarly reflection within the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition
The Center for Ethics and Culture mourns the death of Mary Ellen Konieczny, associate professor of sociology and member of the Center's Faculty Advisory Committee. "We are heartbroken at the sudden loss of of our friend, Mary Ellen Konieczny," said Center Director O. Carter Snead. "She was a beloved friend, a wonderful scholar, and a generous member of the CEC Faculty Advisory Committee. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family." Mary Ellen's research interests revolved around the broad themes of religion and family life and religion in American democracy, with particular interest in exploring how culture and social processes in local contexts intersect with discourse and politics in the public sphere. More remembrances from her colleagues may be found at news.nd.edu. May she rest in peace.
The Center for Ethics and Culture remembers philosopher Germain Gabriel Grisez, professor emeritus of Mount Saint Mary's University, who passed away on February 1, 2018 following a battle with cancer. Grisez, one of the twentieth century's most influential Catholic moral philosophers and co-founder of the "New Natural Law Theory," is best known for his masterwork The Way of the Lord Jesus, published in three parts (as Christian Moral Principles, Living a Christian Life, and Difficult Moral Questions; a fourth part entitled Clerical and Consecrated Service and Life remained unfinished at his death) between 1983 and 1997. More information and personal remembrances on the Center's news page.
On January 19, the Center partnered with the Notre Dame Right to Life student club to send 1,034 students and nearly 100 faculty and staff to the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. Center Director O. Carter Snead gave an interview from the National Mall during the EWTN broadcast (Snead's portion begins at 14:00 into the broadcast), highlighting the major pro-life initiatives of the University of Notre Dame including the Vita Institute and the Evangelium Vitae Medal. Afterward, Professor Snead and several students were invited to the White House Rose Garden, where for the first time in history the President of the United States addressed the Rally For Life via satellite. This year's 1,100-strong Notre Dame contingent at the March For Life was a record-setting 25% larger than any previous cohort. As Notre Dame Right to Life commissioner Nick Gabriele said, “Because we hit that four-digit number, it’s now more than 10 percent of the undergraduate population going which is unbelievable. It really speaks to the importance of the issue to people here on campus.” More information in the NDSMC Observer story.
On January 6, the Center partnered with Archbishop of New York Timothy Cardinal Dolan to present a version of the Notre Dame Vita Institute, its elite pro-life training program. More than 175 guests registered to take part in the one-day workshop to explore the most pressing life issues with the CEC's world-renowned scholars in biology, philosophy, theology, and law. In his remarks at the conference, Cardinal Dolan praised the work of the CEC, saying, “We need a day like this. We need to come together to see that we’re not by ourselves, we need to come together to experience the solidarity that will get us through. We need to come together and hear renowned intellectuals assure us that we have science, philosophy and America’s founding principles on our pro-life side.” More information about the day in the story at Catholic New York.
O. Carter Snead, William P. and Hazel B. White Director of the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture and professor of law, has been re-appointed as a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, the pope’s principal advisory group on life issues and bioethics. Founded in 1994 by Saint Pope John Paul II and reconstituted by Pope Francis in 2016, the academy meets annually, holds conferences, publishes reports and collaborates with partners in the Vatican Curia and worldwide.
“I am honored and humbled to continue to serve the Holy Father and the Church in its efforts to defend and bear witness to the inalienable dignity of every member of the human family, born and unborn,” Snead said.
Snead will address the Pontifical Academy at its annual general assembly on October 5. Read the full story here.
The Center for Ethics and Culture welcomed two new staff on October 2. Pete Hlabse will serve as the newly-created Student Programs Manager, while Petra Farrell will take over in the new position of Culture of Life Programs Manager. Both are very familiar with campus: Pete is a Notre Dame alumnus, and Petra graduated from St. Mary's College.
The University of Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture will present the 2018 Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal to former U.S. ambassador and Harvard professor of law Mary Ann Glendon at a Mass and banquet on April 28, 2018.
The Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal, named for St. John Paul II's 1995 encyclical on life issues, is the nation’s most important lifetime achievement award for heroes of the pro-life movement, honoring individuals whose efforts have served to proclaim the Gospel of human life by steadfastly affirming and defending its sanctity from its earliest stages.
“Glendon is one of the most extraordinary figures in academia and the global public square,” said O. Carter Snead, the William P. and Hazel B. White Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture. “She personifies the goods at the heart of the Evangelium Vitae Medal. Through her work as a world-class scholar and teacher, a diplomat, a White House bioethics adviser and an official of the Holy See, she has provided a joyful, loving and unwavering witness to the dignity of all persons, born and unborn, as created in the image and likeness of God. She sets the standard for all of us who work to build a culture of life worldwide. There is no one like her.”
In a letter to the editor published by the ND-SMC Observer, director Carter Snead described the vision that informs the work of the Center for Ethics and Culture. Writing in response to a previously published op-ed penned by a Notre Dame alumnus, Professor Snead wrote,
The Center for Ethics and Culture takes seriously the capacious nature of Catholic social teaching across the spectrum of human issues. We understand that all our work and thinking should be animated by a commitment to radical hospitality, human dignity, solidarity and the common good. We know that this calls us to speak out in defense of the unborn child, the refugee, the undocumented immigrant, the poor and the disabled. We believe that our work reflects this commitment.
"We welcome everyone of good will who shares our love of civil discourse, Notre Dame, the Church and its much-needed countercultural teachings on human dignity and the common good," Snead concluded.
Lecture: The Prophetic Power of Humanae Vitae
by Mary Eberstadt
Tuesday, March 20
Oak Room, South Dining Hall
More info here
Pope Paul VI's landmark 1968 encyclical explored the effects of then-new technologies on human reproduction, and reaffirmed the traditional Catholic anthropological teaching on the exclusive, permanent conjugal relationship of marriage as the fundamental building block of society. Join us for a lunchtime lecture on the prophetic witness of Blessed Paul VI by Mary Eberstadt, Senior Research Fellow at the Faith & Reason Institute. More information at the event page.
Ethics and Culture Cast
Our podcast features lively conversations with fellows, scholars, and friends of the CEC. Episodes released every other Thursday during the academic year.