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What is the proper relationship between God, the human person, and the state? In a 1993 address, Nobel Laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn observed that, “having refused to recognize the unchanging Higher Power above us, we have filled that space with personal imperatives, and suddenly life has become a harrowing prospect indeed.” Twenty-five years after Solzhenitsyn’s address, and one hundred years after his birth, the Center for Ethics and Culture’s 19th Annual Fall Conference will consider how every human pursuit can be oriented toward higher powers and reflect on the true measures of social progress, the role of morality in law and politics, and the dynamics of liberty, dignity, self-sacrifice, and the good in public life.
In its characteristic interdisciplinary spirit, the Center for Ethics and Culture encourages submissions from a wide array of fields of inquiry, including theology, philosophy, political theory, law, history, economics, and the social sciences, as well as the natural sciences, literature, and the arts. In honor of his centenary, we also invite reflections specifically on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s life and work.
The deadline for abstract submissions is July 15, 2018.
O. Carter Snead, the William P. and Hazel B. White Director of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, has been elected as a Fellow of the Hastings Center, the world's first and most prestigious bioethics research institute. The Hastings Center draws their Fellows from across the disciplines and hails them as "an elected group of individuals of outstanding accomplishment, whose work has informed scholarship and/or public understanding of complex ethical issues in health, health care, life sciences research and the environment." Their Fellows display "uncommon insight and impact in areas of critical concern to the Center – how best to understand and manage the inevitable values questions, moral uncertainties and societal effects that arise as a consequence of advances in the life sciences, the need to improve health and health care for people of all ages, and mitigation of human impact on the natural world."
"It is a great honor to join the distinguished ranks of the Hastings Center Fellows," said Snead. "For decades, the Hastings Center has stood as an essential institution seeking to grapple with the ethical issues, societal effects, and questions of justice that arise as a consequence of technological advances in the life sciences. I look forward to working with my new colleagues at the Center and contributing to this eminent community of thinkers."
Read the news story.
The University of Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture presented 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.
“Through her work and witness, Mary Ann Glendon has consistently battled the destructive forces arrayed against women, children (born and unborn), and the family in modern society with extraordinary grace, clarity, and compassion,” said O. Carter Snead, the William P. and Hazel B. White Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture, as he read the citation honoring Glendon. “Pope John Paul saw that women play a uniquely indispensable role in building the culture of life,” the citation continued. "Glendon’s unfailing commitment to this project has given her a unique ability to reach across divides in fruitful dialogue. Her further dedication as a devoted mother, trusted mentor, and beloved teacher has served as an inspiration and example of what it means to put one’s life and work entirely at the service of building a “civilization of life and love” (Evangelium Vitae, n. 100)."
In a piece entitled "The Alfie Evans case is straight out of a dystopia," CEC Director O. Carter Snead wrote,
Little Alfie Evans has recently passed away, but the struggle over his treatment provoked a worldwide conflict over parental rights, how to care properly for the seriously disabled, and the appropriate role of the state in such intimate and vexed matters. What it revealed is that the law of the UK is in desperate need of revision to make room for the profoundly disabled and their loved ones who wish to care for them, despite the judgment of others that such lives of radical dependence and frailty are not worth living.
"What began with a hospital's deadly policy against a child with apparently permanent disabilities ended with a shocking totalitarian intervention by the state, annihilating his parents' rights in order to ensure Alfie's demise," Snead continued.
In an Irish Times op-ed responding to an earlier letter claiming that many American states "have very conservative abortion laws," CEC Director O. Carter Snead corrected the record to reflect that American abortion law is "among the most permissive in the world." Professor Snead wrote,
Although it is true that many states have passed numerous laws in attempts to protect the rights of the unborn despite the hostile legal climate, federal courts regularly strike down such restrictions as unconstitutional. In fact the supreme court of the United States has never sustained a restriction on abortion as such.
"As an outside admirer from a country whose abortion laws are among the most extreme in the world, I sincerely hope that the people of Ireland choose to retain the Eighth Amendment and thus continue as a beacon for the health and flourishing of mothers and babies, born and unborn," Snead concluded.
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.
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