THE CATHOLIC PROJECT

Clergy and Laity Together

An initiative from The Catholic University of America to foster
effective collaboration between the clergy and the laity of the Church
in the wake of the sexual abuse crisis.

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National Study of Catholic Priests

Well-being, Trust, and Policy in a Time of Crisis

The largest priesthood study in over 50 years
looking at the Church's response to abuse.
Watch the presentation

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Current Projects

National Study of Catholic Priests

National survey of Catholic priests and bishops about the impact of the abuse crisis

Certificate Program

Want to help keep kids safe? Online Certificate in Child Protection and Safe Environment

Synod on Synodality

Catholic University will participate in a synod series in the Spring of 2022

Diocesan Bankruptcy

Sharing Marie Reilly's work on diocesan bankruptcy

What We Do

The Catholic Project brings together clergy and laity to address the challenges that the Catholic Church faces in the U.S. As the bishops’ university, Catholic University is uniquely situated to bring about needed change in accordance with its mission, “to discover and impart the truth through excellence in teaching and research, all in service to the Church, the nation and the world.”

The Catholic Project addresses accountability, transparency, evangelization, reform, and renewal. The facets of our work include education and formation, research, events, and media.

Our Work

News & Commentary

Unpacking news and information

Sara's column
Tragical Sexual Comedy
If you have ever been to a stand-up comedy show, you know that comics tend to be something of a mess. Comedy is, for many of these people, a way… Read More
Stephen's Column
A Road to Nowhere
Stephen White of Catholic University responds to a recent essay by Cardinal McElroy of San Diego. “Unsurprisingly, the very thing Christ died to save us from – sin – barely… Read More
National Study of Catholic Priests
Are younger Catholic priests growing more conservative?
A question posed by both our own data and that of the Austin Institute was addressed in this piece at OSV. A snippet of the interview with Executive Director, Stephen… Read More
Stephen's Column
Apples and Oranges - and Abuse
Stephen White of Catholic University compares and contrasts the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury report on clergy abuse to the recent report of the Office of the Inspector General for the… Read More
Sara's column
Vocational Mortality Review
Many hospitals regularly engage in something called a clinical mortality review (also called morbidity & mortality rounds or “M&M” conferences). These meetings are used to try to understand if a… Read More
Stephen's Column
The Old and the New
Stephen White of Catholic University reflects on the reality of bishops emeritus; what does it mean to be a retired bishop? “What does it mean for a father to ‘retire’?… Read More
Sara's column
The Church: Field Hospital?
One of the prominent images of the Francis pontificate is that of the Church as a field hospital in the midst of battle. “Tend the wounds, tend the wounds!” calls… Read More
Stephen's Column
On Fatherhood and "Healthy Masculinity"
Stephen White of Catholic University reflects on fatherhood as the living-out of healthy masculinity. “That first childish image of Fatherhood – invincible, omniscient, omnipotent, awesome, all-loving – that’s real Fatherhood.… Read More

Collaboration Between Clergy & Laity

Over 50 years ago, Vatican II articulated the role of the laity in the Catholic Church in a document entitled Lumen Gentium. All members of the Church, not just the clergy, “contribute toward the renewal and building up of the Church.” Lumen Gentium says pastors should “willingly employ” the “prudent advice” of the lay faithful, and “confidently assign duties to them” in service to the Church. With the help of the laity, “pastors can more clearly and more incisively come to decisions regarding both spiritual and temporal matters.“

The Catholic University of America is uniquely situated to be a place where laity and clergy can come together in a spirit of mutual respect and charity to address the most challenging issues of our times. We believe, in the words of Lumen Gentium, that by drawing on the contributions of all its members, “the entire Church . . . may more effectively fulfill its mission for the life of the world.”

Our Mission

A new state of affairs today both in the Church and in social, economic, political and cultural life, calls with a particular urgency for the action of the lay faithful.
—  St. John Paul II,   Christifideles Laici, 3

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