“Truth enlightens man’s intelligence and shapes his freedom.”
—Blessed John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor
The Veritas Center for Ethics and Public Life exists to bring faithful Catholic scholarly reflection to bear on the most pressing ethical questions in contemporary culture—questions of marriage and sexuality, war and peace, life and death, as well as economic and social justice.
Through research, writing, and academic conferences, the Veritas Center seeks to combat what Pope Benedict XVI described as “the dictatorship of relativism,” promoting the natural moral law, illuminated by the light of faith, in order to defend both human freedom and dignity in the public square.
Co-Sponsored by the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life, Franciscan University of Steubenville, and the Society of Catholic Social Scientists
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The year was 1954, and the young priest, a wonderfully exuberant Italian by the name of Luigi Giussani, never got over the experience. “I found them so unaware of the most elementary things,” he was to write years later, “and so indifferent to them, that I felt an uncontrollable desire to share my experience with them. I wanted them to have, as I had had, the experience of the ‘beautiful day.’”
The Veritas Center for Ethics and Public Life takes both its name and inspiration from Blessed John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor (“The Splendor of Truth”). We believe, with the Catholic Church, that human freedom cannot flourish apart from truth, and that a restoration of truth as the foundation of human affairs is essential to a healthy culture.
Rooted in the teachings of the Church’s Magisterium and guided by the riches of Catholic social teaching, the Veritas Center strives to provide meaningful alternatives to the usual secular analyses of moral and cultural dilemmas.
It also strives to integrate both the methods and wisdom of multiple academic disciplines—from theology and sociology to political science and economics—to more effectively explore, understand, and address social concerns that affect the flourishing of the Church and her people.
The Veritas Center uses a four-pronged approach to carrying out its mission.
First, it seeks to clarify and disseminate Catholic moral and social teaching by facilitating research, academic writing, and inter-disciplinary partnerships among Franciscan University faculty.
To meet this goal, the Veritas Center has created a Faculty Associates Program to enable current Franciscan faculty from the social sciences, the humanities, business, and other areas to become involved in a collaborative way with the center’s work.
The center will also launch a Visiting Fellows Program to permit leading Catholic scholars to spend time in residence at Franciscan University, where they can work on scholarly projects in keeping with the center’s goal of the pursuit of truth. Visiting scholars will also participate in the center’s activities and will contribute to student learning by interacting with students through informal gatherings and student attendance at scholarly presentations by visiting scholars.
Second, the Veritas Center attempts to engage those outside of the academic community in discussions about the pursuit of truth by encouraging and assisting Franciscan faculty members to publish articles on important social issues in newspapers and periodicals that are accessible to the general public. .
Third, the center invites other scholars and teachers into the conversation about truth through its annual academic conference.
The first conference, Truth, Conscience, and Religious Freedom, co-sponsored with the Society of Catholic Social Scientists, will take place on the campus of Franciscan University of Steubenville, April 4-5, 2014.
Fourth, the Veritas Center seeks to mentor a rising generation of Catholics, equipping them for effective engagement in the public square.
Accordingly, all Franciscan students are invited to participate in many of the activities of the Veritas Center including attending the public lectures and conferences sponsored by the center. Moreover, future plans for the center include an Undergraduate Fellows Forum, which will provide a unique opportunity for a select group of Franciscan undergraduates to pursue, outside of the classroom, academic interests related to ethics in public life.
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