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Is the U.S. Constitution compatible with Catholicism?


J-P Mauro - published on 05/03/21

CUA's Columbus School of Law launches a new program to examine the relationship between church and state.

The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law is preparing to launch a new program that will study the compatibility of the U.S. Constitution with Catholicism. The project was funded by an anonymous donation of $4.24 million. 

Titled The Project for Constitutional Originalism and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, the program will explore the relationship between church and state through the lens of U.S. history, culture, and originalism scholarship

Students will examine a wide range of constitutional issues to identify compatibility between the Constitution’s “distinctly American vision” and “the Catholic intellectual tradition.”

CUA describes the fields of study that will make up the course load

The project will foster consideration of the nature of the human person and the structures of civil society that the Constitution seeks to protect and allow to flourish, as well as the peculiarly American approach to government, political life, and the common good expressed in the Constitution, key founding documents, and originalist jurisprudence.

In the April 26 announcement, Stephen C. Payne, dean of the Columbus School of Law, wrote of the new program: 

“Catholic Law in our nation’s capital is uniquely situated to undertake the scholarly endeavor or identifying significant points of contact between the U.S. Constitution and a couple thousand years of Catholic thought,” Payne stated in an April 26 press release.

The project will begin as a 3-year program, run by the law school’s Center for Law and the Human Person. After the first three years, the anonymous donor plans to assess whether it should be expanded to “a larger constitutional law center.” It is expected to draw “top-tier” faculty members for a swath of new positions the project is expected to open.

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