The leading center for scholarly reflection within the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition
On the anniversary of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, we pause first to give thanks for the tens of thousands of lives saved—babies who would not be here but for the Supreme Court’s overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. We also celebrate the Court’s courage in declaring that our nation’s founding document does not, in fact, preclude the legal protection of the unborn from the violence of abortion.
But we also rededicate ourselves to working together, especially with our friends and neighbors who disagree with us, to build a culture of life and civilization of love in which mothers, babies (born and unborn), fathers, and families are protected and supported before, during, and after the birth of a child.
Two senior staff leaders of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture, Margaret Cabaniss and Laura Gonsiorek, have received promotions, following the Center’s extraordinary success and increased impact, catalyzed by its five-year strategic plan.
“The de Nicola Center has seen a tremendous increase in impact and success following the generous naming gift by the de Nicola Family, announced in 2019,” said O. Carter Snead, director of the de Nicola Center. “We have been blessed by the support of the College of Arts and Letters during this time, including our incredible dean, Sarah Mustillo, as well as the generous contributions of a growing network of individuals who support the Center’s distinctive mission to share the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition, both here at Notre Dame and in the broader public square.”
The de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture presented the 2023 Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal—the nation’s most important award for heroes of the pro-life movement—to acclaimed legal philosopher and constitutional and political theorist Robert P. George at a celebration attended by more than 500 guests on April 29, 2023.
George is the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Professor of Politics at Princeton University and the founding director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions.
"In his lifetime of work, study, writing, and teaching, Professor George has insisted, valiantly and joyfully—over and again—on the essential dignity of the human person, the role of the law in defending it, and the possibility of our reasoning together in charity to promote it," said O. Carter Snead, director of the de Nicola Center. "Professor George’s patient, persistent demonstration of the right relationship between the civil and moral law has helped to lay the groundwork for a renewed appreciation of the rights of the unborn and an understanding of the proper role of law in defending those rights, following decades of profound injustice.”
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On Thursday, January 19, the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame marked the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade in Washington, DC, with an expert roundtable discussion on how best to care for and protect mothers, babies, and families in the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court decision.
“Building a Civilization of Love” brought together experts in law, medicine, social science, public health, and social service to discuss the most important opportunities for and challenges to protecting the intrinsic equal dignity of every member of the human family following the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Dobbs. Video of the discussion is available on the dCEC's YouTube channel.
The de Nicola Center’s commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade (and its recent reversal) also included support for the more than 700 students, faculty, and staff from Notre Dame, St. Mary’s College, and Holy Cross College who traveled to Washington, DC, to participate in the annual March for Life on Friday, January 20—one of the largest single contingents to participate in the event, year after year.
The de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture welcomed more than 1,000 scholars, students, and friends to its 22nd annual Fall Conference, hosted at the University of Notre Dame, November 10–12. Entitled “And It Was Very Good: On Creation,” and presented in collaboration with Stanford University’s “Boundaries of Humanity” project, the conference featured 147 speakers from a wide range of disciplines who explored the many facets of the created world and the act of creation.
Plenary keynote talks were presented by Robert Pogue Harrison (Stanford University), Alasdair MacIntyre (de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture), Simon Conway Morris (University of Cambridge), and Elizabeth Lev (Duquesne University). Recordings of these are available at https://ethicscenter.nd.edu/programs/fall-conference/streamfc/. Additional featured speakers included Jacqueline Rivers (Harvard University), Kristin Collier (University of Michigan Medical School), Thomas Hibbs (Baylor University), and Charles Camosy (Creighton University).
Video recordings of many of the presentations are posted on the dCEC's YouTube channel. For more infomation about the conference including paper abstracts and speaker bios, visit the 2022 Fall Conference homepage.
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All of our work at the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture 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 so doing, we enrich Notre Dame’s distinctive intellectual ecology—and we bring the university’s voice into the academic and public conversations concerning the most vital and complex matters of ethics, literature, art, music, social sciences, philosophy, theology, history, political theory, applied and theoretical science, public policy, and law. For more information on how to support the work of the de Nicola Center, visit our support page.
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