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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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

Stephen's Column
Blessing or a Curse?
Stephen White of Catholic University writes about the news of the Flemish bishops’ document allowing for a blessing of same-sex relationships. “Of course, the Church’s fundamental objection to homosexual unions… Read More
Sara's column
Obedience: Virtue and Counsel
In college, someone recommended that I read A Right to Be Merry by Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C. When I finished it, I knew two things: cloistered religious life was absolutely… Read More
Stephen's Column
The Lay Vocation
Stephen White of Catholic University reflects on the vocation specific to the laity: “While many lay people continue to clamor for a seat at the clerical table – worrying themselves… Read More
Sara's column
How is the Church governed?
A question that keeps coming up for me regarding the synod on synodality is, “What do you mean by X?” X could be lay participation; women’s decision-making; hierarchical ministry; governance;… Read More
Stephen's Column
A Consistory, but not (yet) a Conclave
The College of Cardinals will convene in Rome at the end of this week for a series of events which will undoubtedly be watched with more than the usual level… Read More
Sara's column
Marriage and Divorce
“[Jesus] said to them, ‘Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you,… Read More
Stephen's Column
The Church before Herod
Stephen White of Catholic University reflects on the figure of Herod Antipas, particularly in the story recounted in the Gospel of Luke, where Jesus appears before Herod before he is… Read More
Sara's column
The Inevitable Inequality of Bodies
I went to see the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Richard III last month. The actor playing Richard in this production has radial dysplasia, which added a certain amount of… 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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