Past Events

FALL 2015 

Schmitt Lecture: "The Freedom of the Physical World: Taking Quantum Mechanics Seriously"
December 3, 2015

Craig Lent, Freimann Professor of Engineering at Notre Dame, delivered the Fall 2015 Schmitt Lecture on the freedom discoverable in the physical world through the study of quantum mechanics.  With the aid of a real-time quantum mechanical experiment, Professor Lent proposed that, while the world is governed by physical law and is therefore to a large degree predictable, it still has some freedom; the future is not contained in the present.

Fall Conference: "For Freedom Set Free"
November 19–21, 2015

The sixteenth annual Fall Conference examined a host of questions related to the nature, significance, and various dimensions of freedom, pursued in the context of philosophy, theology, political theory, law, history, economics, the social sciences, the biosciences, literature, and the arts. Keynote speakers included Rémi Brague (the Sorbonne), Jonathan Lear (University of Chicago), Alasdair MacIntyre (Senior Distinguished Research Fellow at the Center for Ethics and Culture), Thomas Pink (Kings College London), Rev. Martin Rhonheimer (Pontifical University of the Holy Cross), and Rev. Julián Carrón (president of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation).

Forum on the Paris Attacks: European Perspectives
November 19, 2015

Following the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, the Center hosted a forum featuring perspectives from three Paris-based European scholars: Rev. Bernard Bourdin, O.P. (director of doctoral studies and research and a faculty member of Social Sciences and Economics at the Catholic University of Paris), Giulio De Ligio (associate researcher at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences and lecturer in political philosophy at the Catholic University of Paris), and Guillaume de Thieulloy (the founder of the Centre international de recherche sur la liberté religieuse). The panel sought to contribute to the diverse campus-wide conversation regarding the events in Paris and their immediate aftermath, as well as the broader religious, political, and governmental challenges currently facing European and Western nations. 

Fall 2015 Bread of Life Dinner: "Radical Hospitality in a Throw-Away Culture"
October 13, 2015

Jessica Keating, the director of the Notre Dame Office of Human Dignity and Life Initiatives, spoke on fostering wonder and reverence for new life and creation in a disposable culture.

Lecture: "Solidarity, Pope Saint John Paul II, and the Process of Reconciliation in Poland"
September 28, 2015

Professor Michael Luczewski, deputy director of the Centre for the Thought of John Paul II in Warsaw and assistant professor in the Institute of Sociology (University of Warsaw), gave a lunchtime lecture examining the process of reconciliation between Solidarity members and members of the Communist regime who perpetrated violence against them. The event was cosponsored by the Nanovic Institute.

Papal Visit Pilgrimage to Philadelphia
September 26–27, 2015

The Center cosponsored Notre Dame Campus Ministry's student pilgrimage to Philadelphia during Pope Francis's historic visit to the United States. Five hundred Notre Dame and Saint Mary's students and faculty members traveled by bus to join 1.5 million faithful in celebrating mass with the pope. 

Book Presentation: Pope Benedict XVI's Legal Thought: A Dialogue on the Foundation of Law
September 17, 2015

The Center cosponsored a presentation by Andrea Simoncini, professor of constitutional law at the University of Florence, in collaboration with the Kellog Institute, the Program on Constitutional Structure, and the Program on Church, State, & Society. Simoncini presented his newly released book, a compilation of speeches by Pope Benedict XVI on law and dialogue with the secular world. The book is edited by Simoncini and Marta Cartabia. Prior to his presentation, Professor Simoncini joined undergraduate Sorin Fellows for lunch and discussion.

The Rimini Meeting: "What is this lack a lack of, oh heart, of which all of a sudden you are full?"
August 20–26, 2015

The Center sponsored an exhibit at the 2015 Rimini Meeting in Rimini, Italy. The Meeting is the world's largest cultural festival. An outgrowth of the Communion and Liberation Movement, founded by Fr. Luigi Giussani, the Meeting draws together political personalities, managers, representatives of different religions and cultures, intellectuals, artists, athletes, and protagonists of the world scene who share a mutual desire to discover the beauty of reality. At the Meeting, Center Director Carter Snead and Visiting Research Fellow Gladden Pappin had the opportunity to meet Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. 


SPRING 2015
 

Vita Institute
June 20–27, 2015

The Center hosted its fifth annual Vita Institute, an intensive, week-long interdisciplinary training program for current and emerging leaders in the international pro-life movement. Participants spent a week studying the fundamnetals of the life issues with world-renowned scholars in fields such as biology, philosophy, theology, law, communications, and counseling. This year's Institute was our largest ever, with 50 participants from around the globe, including Canada, Bolivia, Jamaica, Nigeria, Germany, and the UK. Presenters included Helen Alvaré, Rev. Kevin Flannery, S.J., Rev. Michael Sherwin, O.P., Maureen Condic, and Rev. Peter Ryan, S.J.

Alumni Weekend Open House: "A Taste of South Bend"
June 5, 2015

As part of the university’s Reunion 2015 activities, the Center hosted an open house featuring “A Taste of South Bend.” Visitors on campus joined Notre Dame faculty, students, and staff for a reception that highlighted many of the local businesses operating in the community, giving guests an opportunity to learn more about the Center and the greater South Bend area.

Philosophy Workshop: "Aquinas and the Philosophy of Nature"
June 4–7, 2015

The Center cosponsored the Thomistic Institute’s Philosophy Workshop at Mount Saint Mary’s College in Newburgh, NY. This year, the workshop explored the key principles in Aquinas’ philosophy of nature. Presenters included John O’Callaghan (University of Notre Dame), Candace Vogler (University of Chicago), and William Carrol (Oxford University).

Conference: "Polarization in the U.S. Catholic Church: Naming the Wounds, Beginning to Heal"
April 27–78, 2015

The Center cosponsored a conference on the issue of polarization in the U.S. Catholic Church, hosted by the Notre Dame Center for the Study of Religion and Society, with the Fordham University Center on Religion and Culture, the Louisville Institute, the Notre Dame Center for Social Concerns, the Notre Dame Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, the Notre Dame Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, and the Our Sunday Visitor Institute. Center Director Carter Snead and Center Sorin Fellow Erin Stoyell-Mulholland participated as conference panelists. The conference was organized by Mary Ellen Konieczny (University of Notre Dame), a member of the Center’s Faculty Advisory Committee.

5th Annual Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal Mass and Banquet
April 26, 2015

The 2015 University of Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal was conferred on Carl Anderson and the Knights of Columbus for their tireless efforts to promote a Culture of Life. Over 400 people attended the mass, reception, and dinner, including Notre Dame trustees andofficers, Catholic college and university presidents, and leaders of the national and international pro-life movement.

Roundtable: "The Future of Religious Liberty in America?"
April 20, 2015

The Center cosponsored this roundtable discussion featuring Rod Dreher (the American Conservative), Vincent Phillip Muñoz (Political Science, University of Notre Dame), and Robin Fretwell Wilson (Law, University of Illinois). Panelists discussed the passage of Indiana's RFRA, Utah's antidiscrimination and religious freedom compromise, and the current debate surrounding religious freedom in America.

Lecture: "Natural Human Embryo Mortality: How Much Do We Really Know?"
April 14, 2015

Science influences ethics and policy-making. For example, a high incidence of embryo loss in the earliest stage of pregnancy is commonly used as a contributory justification for the intentional or foreseen loss of human embryos in fertility treatment and laboratory experimentation. However, establishing the natural fate of embryos during the first week post-fertilization is challenging and hampered by a lack of appropriate data. Many scientific sources are claimed to justify embryo mortality rates of 75 percent and higher. These include speculative calculations, demographic analyses, biochemical data, and the unique anatomical studies of Dr. Arthur Hertig. However, a critical re-evaluation of these data casts doubt on quantitative conclusions that are often repeated, and occasionally exaggerated, by both scientists and ethicists.

Gavin Jarvis, a pharmacologist from the University of Cambridge, examined those studies that provide the evidential basis for claims about early human embryo mortality and highlighted the effects that a misunderstanding of this issue may have on ethics and science alike.

Schmitt Lecture: "William Harvey and the Circulatory System"
April 8, 2015

For the spring 2015 edition of the Arthur J. Schmitt Lecture Series, Nicholas Maistrellis, a tutor at St. John's College, discussed William Harvey's research on the circulatory system.

Film Screening: It's a Girl
April 7, 2015

The Center cosponsored a lecture by Reggie Littlejohn, who screened the documentary It's a Girl on Tuesday, April 7, in the Hesburgh Center Auditorium. Littlejohn is the founder of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, an international coalition dedicated to opposing forced abortion, gender-selective abortion, and sexual slavery in China. 

Human Dignity Lecture
April 7, 2015

The Center cosponsored the Spring 2015 Human Dignity Lecture featuring Chinese civil rights activist Chen Guangcheng, who presented on the topic “Interpreting Reform: Human Dignity & Human Rights in Contemporary China.” As a self-trained lawyer, Guangcheng escaped house arrest while being held as a political dissident in 2012. His lecture addressed the recent reforms in China, including the relaxation of the one-child policy and the promise of the Chinese government to govern by "the rule of law," and examine whether or not these reforms signal a change of course in the government's attitudes toward the inviolability of human dignity and its attendant rights.

30th Annual Medical Ethics Conference
March 8–12, 2015

Nearly 100 doctors and medical students gathered in Rome to discuss ethical dilemmas in clinical practice and the changing landscape of the medical profession at the Center’s 2015 Medical Ethics Conference. This year, the Phillip and Doris Clarke Family Lecture was delivered by John Keown, the Center’s 2014–15 Remick Senior Visiting Fellow, on “The Euthanasia Debate: An International Perspective.” View the presentations here.

Bread of Life Dinner: "Promoting a Culture of Life at Notre Dame"
February 17, 2015

Erin Hoffmann Harding, Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, discussed the Office of Student Affairs' efforts to promote a culture of life on campus by making resources available to pregnant and parenting students.

March for Life
January 22, 2015

To commemorate the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Center promoted, organized, and funded students and faculty as they traveled to the March for Life. Seven hundred students traveled by bus to the nation’s capital, where Center Director Carter Snead addressed the Washington, D.C., Notre Dame Alumni Association, and the Americans United for Life Conference. Watch a video about Notre Dame students at the March.


FALL 2014
 

Bread of Life Dinner: "Protecting the Fragility of Life"
December 9, 2014

Rev. Lou DelFra, C.S.C., director of spiritual life at the Alliance for Catholic Education at Notre Dame, delivered a message about the power of our everyday witness to life. When friends of his received a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome before the birth of their third child, they were overwhelmed and anxious. It was the encouragement and support of a nurse that first helped them see that their daughter, Hannah, “was a blessing from God.”

Schmitt Lecture: "Is the Brain-Dead Patient Really Dead?"
December 2, 2014

Rev. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., a professor of microbiology and genetics at Providence College, discussed the issue of brain death in his Fall 2014 Schmitt Lecture. Father Austriaco examined the medical criteria for brain death, as well as how the scientific community's definition of death has changed over time, comparing and contrasting that definition with the Church's philosophical understanding of the human person as an integrated whole. Watch the presentation here.

"Humanum: The Complementarity of Man and Woman"
November 17, 2014

Center Director Carter Snead, Associate Director Ryan Madison, and a host of Center-affiliated scholars and guests joined Pope Francis and religious leaders from around the world for an international colloquium on marriage and the family in Rome last fall, an event that marked an exciting development in the Center’s growing collaborations with various congregations of the Holy See.

“Humanum: The Complementarity of Man and Woman” brought together leading figures from fourteen major world religions in twenty-three countries for three days of discussion surrounding their common understanding of the essence of marriage as a unique institution between a man and a woman. Pope Francis presided over the opening gathering and offered words of welcome to the participants. Center fellows in attendance included Helen Alvare, Robert P. George, Lorenza Violini, John Haldane, Andrea Simoncini, and Rev. Dave Heney.

15th Annual Fall Conference: "Your Light Will Rise in the Darkness: Responding to the Cry of the Poor"
October 30–November 1, 2014

The 15th Annual Fall Conference was the Center's largest and most successful yet. Over 600 people gathered to hear the most prominent voices in the Church and in the academy reflect on the issue of poverty and how to care rightly for the poor. View the full program here.

Keynote presentations:

Watch the rest of the presentations on our YouTube page.

Catholic Literature Series
September–October 2014

The Center for Ethics and Culture brought together distinguished scholars of Shakespeare for the 2014 Catholic Literature Series to discuss the ethical and religious questions raised by the Bard’s work.

Vita Institute
June 7–14, 2014

The Center hosted the fourth annual Notre Dame Vita Institute, an intensive week-long training program in science, theology, philosophy, law, public policy, and communications for national and international leaders of the pro-life movement. The class of 2014 was the largest ever, with 30 students representing dedicated professionals and rising leaders in law, health care, public policy, counseling, and the sciences. Faculty included prominent academics from the U.S. and Rome, including Center Director Carter Snead, Richard Doerflinger, Rev. Michael Sherwin, O.P., and Maureen Condic.

Conference: “Virtue, Medicine, and Modern Moral Philosophy”
May 26–28, 2014

The Center was proud to host this three-day conference In honor of the work of David Solomon, associate professor of philosophy at Notre Dame and director emeritus of the Center for Ethics and Culture. Speakers included Alasdair MacIntyre and John Haldane.

Schmitt Lecture: “The Discovery of Entropy and Its Significance”
April 16, 2014

Notre Dame’s Schmitt Fellows, outstanding graduate students in science and technology, were joined by members of the Notre Dame community for a lecture by Adam Schulman of St. John’s College (a recent visiting professor at M.I.T. and Harvard University) entitled “The Discovery of Entropy and Its Significance.”

Panel: “After the Mandate: The Consequences of Compliance”
April 15, 2014

With ND Right to Life and the Irish Rover as cosponsors, the Center hosted a panel discussion on the ramifications of the HHS mandate and Notre Dame’s lawsuit against it. Panelists included Gerard Bradley, Jessica Keating, Jeanette Burdell, and Center Junior Fellow Erin Stoyell-Mulholland, with the panel moderated by Center Director O. Carter Snead.

The Evangelium Vitae Medal Award Mass and Dinner
April 5, 2014

The 2014 University of Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal was conferred on the Hon. Chris Smith and Mrs. Marie Smith for their tireless efforts to battle human trafficking and promote human rights, particularly the right to life of the unborn. Over 200 people attended the mass, reception, and dinner, including members of Congress, Notre Dame trustees and officers, Catholic college and university presidents, and leaders of the national and international pro-life movement.

Unexpected Pregnancy Counseling Training
April 5, 2014

Ellen Sommer, the director of counseling at the Women’s Care Center in South Bend, led a training session to teach students the skills needed to positively support and respond to someone facing an unexpected pregnancy. The Center cosponsored the event with ND Right to Life, University Life Initiatives, and the Gender Relations Center.

The 29th Annual Medical Ethics Conference
March 21–23, 2014

Nearly 100 health care professionals and bioethicists gathered to discuss ethical dilemmas in clinical practice and the changing landscape of the medical profession at the Center’s 2014 Medical Ethics Conference. This year, the Phillip and Doris Clarke Family Lecture was delivered by John Haldane, the Center’s 2013–14 Remick Senior Visiting Fellow, on “Profession, Vocation, and Healthcare Ethics.”

Lecture: George Weigel on “Evangelical Catholicism”
March 20, 2014

The Center was pleased to host author George Weigel for an evening lecture about his most recent book, Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st Century Catholic Church. A reception and book signing followed his talk. Center Sorin Fellows also had the opportunity to meet with him personally over breakfast.

Conference: “Intention and Double-Effect: Theoretical and Practical Challenges”
March 6–8, 2014

Cosponsored with the Maritain Center, this conference brought together a group of scholars from North America and Europe to discuss the role that intention, foresight, and proportionality play in theoretical and practical determinations of moral or legal thought. Lecturers included Francis Cardinal George, Rev. Kevin Flannery, S.J., and Mary Ellen O’Connell.

Conference: “The Church and Immigration”
March 2–5, 2014

The Center cosponsored a conference on “The Church and Immigration,” hosted by the Institute for Latino Studies, which brought together scholars, pastoral workers, public policy leaders, and advocates to reflect critically on the question of immigration in the United States today and the Church’s response.

Bread of Life Dinner: “The Pro-Life Movement and the Decision to Become Catholic”
February 19, 2014

The Spring 2014 Bread of Life dinner featured Brett Perkins, Notre Dame Campus Minister and Assistant Director, who reflected on “The Pro-Life Movement and the Decision to Become Catholic.”

The Edith Stein Project: “Relationships and the Call to Love”
February 7–8, 2014

The Center cosponsored the annual Edith Stein Conference, where students from across the country came together to reflect on this year’s theme, “Relationships and the Call to Love.”

March for Life
January 22, 2014

To commemorate the 41st Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Center promoted, organized, and funded students and faculty as they traveled to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Five hundred students traveled by bus to the nation’s capital, where Center Director Carter Snead addressed the Washington, D.C., Americans United for Life Conference.


FALL 2013


Film Screening: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
December 12, 2013

As a part of the University-wide celebration of the life of Nelson Mandela, the Center hosted a special advance screening of the movie Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. The sold-out event was followed by a panel discussion with Thomas Hibbs (Baylor University), Rev. Emmanuel Katongole (University of Notre Dame), and Tom Allen (Miramax).

Schmitt Lecture: “Neglected Insights on Ethics and Technology”
December 3, 2013

The semi-annual Arthur J. Schmitt lectures brings in distinguished speakers from around the world to address the Schmitt Fellows, graduate students in the Colleges of Science and Engineering, and other members of the Notre Dame community to reflect the ethical, political, and religious dimensions of their studies. The Fall 2013 lecture was delivered by Michael Moreland, the Vice Dean of the Villanova Law School, on “Neglected Insights on Ethics and Technology.”

Annual Fall Conference: “The Body and Human Identity”
November 7–9, 2013

The Center devoted its 14th annual Fall Conference to the theme “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: The Body and Human Identity.” In its customary interdisciplinary fashion, the conference grappled with questions surrounding the nature of human beings and what it means to respect the human body. More than 600 attendees and 100 prominent scholars gathered on Notre Dame’s campus, including: Charles Taylor (McGill University), John Haldane (St. Andrews University), Alasdair MacIntyre (Notre Dame), Paul McHugh (Johns Hopkins), Dan Sulmasy (University of Chicago), Jonathan Lear (University of Chicago), Gretchen Reydams-Schils (Notre Dame), Candida Moss (Notre Dame), John Finnis (Notre Dame), Farr Curlin (Duke University), Gilbert Meilaender (Valparaiso University), and many more.

Bread of Life Dinner: “Life Issues and Notre Dame’s Catholic Mission”
October 1, 2013

The Center hosted the Bread of Life dinner, an opportunity for Notre Dame students and faculty to gather in an intimate setting to reflect upon and discuss their attitudes surrounding beginning-of-life issues. This semester featured a reflection on life issues and Notre Dame’s Catholic mission from Rev. Bill Lies, C.S.C., Vice President for Mission Engagement and Church Affairs.

Symposium: “Religious Freedom under Obamacare”
September 19–20, 2013

The 2013 Notre Dame Symposium addressed the issue of religious freedom under the Affordable Care Act and examined the contours of religious liberty of for-profit businesses. The Center cosponsored the event with the Tocqueville Program for Inquiry into Religion and Public Life, the Potenziani Program in Constitutional Studies, the Henkels Lecture Fund, and the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts. Center Director O. Carter Snead participated in a panel discussion titled, “The HHS Lawsuits and the For-Profit Business.” 

Catholic Literature Lecture Series
September–November 2013

This year’s Catholic Literature Series focused on children’s literature. Lecturers discussed the important role that literature plays in young readers' moral formation, examining the particular cultural and developmental influence of several popular children’s and young-adult books. The series was a tremendous success, drawing nearly 400 students. Lecturers included:


SPRING 2013

Notre Dame Vita Institute
June 2013

The Center hosted the third annual Notre Dame Vita Institute, an intensive week-long course in science, theology, philosophy, law, public policy, and communications for national and international leaders of the pro-life movement. Faculty included prominent academics from the U.S. and Rome.

Schmitt Lecture: “The Metaphysics of Winemaking”
May 2, 2013

Abe Schoener, a former liberal arts tutor at St. Johns’s College in Annapolis and now chief winemaker for the Scholium Project, gave an engaging lecture on the link between wine and storytelling. The semi-annual Arthur J. Schmitt lectures brings in distinguished speakers from around the world to address the Schmitt Fellows, graduate students in the Colleges of Science and Engineering, and other members of the Notre Dame community to reflect the ethical, political, and religious dimensions of their studies.

"Rock 'n' Roll as Search for the Infinite"
April 11, 2013

The Center hosted Irish journalist and cultural critic John Waters, who gave a presentation on “Rock 'n' Roll as Search for the Infinite."

The Evangelium Vitae Medal Award Mass and Dinner
April 3, 2013

The 2013 University of Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal was conferred on Mother Agnes Mary Donovan and the Sisters of Life for steadfastly affirming and defending the sanctity of human life from its earliest stages. The Evangelium Vitae Medal is the most prominent lifetime achievement award for heroes of the pro-life movement. Students and faculty were thrilled to have such vibrant, passionate, and prayerful witnesses to the Culture of Life on campus.

The Medical Ethics Conference
March 8–10, 2013

Nearly 100 doctors and medical students gathered to discuss ethical dilemmas in clinical practice and the changing landscape of the medical profession at the Center’s 2013 Medical Ethics Conference. This year, the Phillip and Doris Clarke Family Lecture was delivered by Dr. Elvira Parravicini of Columbia University Medical School, who focused on methods of caring for seriously ill children and their parents.

Bread of Life: "Muslims and Catholics on Life Issues"
February 26, 2013

The Spring 2013 Bread of Life Dinner featured Notre Dame theology professor Gabriel Reynolds, who gave a reflection on “Muslim and Catholic Views on the Beginning of Life.” The Bread of Life Dinner is an opportunity for Notre Dame students and faculty to gather in an intimate setting to reflect upon and discuss their attitudes surrounding beginning-of-life issues. 

Lecture: "Chesterton: The Complete Thinker"
February 19, 2013

Dale Ahlquist, the president of the American Chesterton Society, presented a lecture on his new book, Chesterton: the Complete Thinker. Ahlquist explained, with Chesterton’s characteristic wit and humor, the many ways Chesterton’s insights remain relevant in all areas of modern life.

The Edith Stein Project: “Modern Beauty: Unveiling the Mystery”
February 8–10, 2013

The Center cosponsored the annual Edith Stein Conference, where students from across the country came together to reflect on this year’s theme, “Modern Beauty: Unveiling the Mystery.” The conference engaged a wide range of topics that centered on the pursuit of beauty and its role in both our personal lives and in our relationships.

March for Life
January 25, 2013

To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Center promoted, organized, and funded students and faculty as they traveled to the March for Life. Six hundred students traveled by bus to the nation’s capital and carried the banner to lead the entire March.