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

Diocesan Bankruptcy

Sharing Marie Reilly's work on Catholic Dioceses in Bankruptcy

Certificate Program

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

Vos Estis

An online conversation with four canonists about Vos estis lux mundi

Victim Assistance Coordinators

An online conversation with three victim assistance coordinators

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, 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
What's Done in Darkness Will Come to Light
Stephen White of Catholic University reflects on the controversy surrounding the revelations that Msgr. Burrill, former General Secretary of the USCCB, was using a “hook-up” app while handling the sexual… Read More
Stephen's Column
Synodality is what you make of it
Stephen White of Catholic University reflects on the concept of synodality as the Church prepares for the “synod on the synod.” “Concerns about the pitfalls or potential abuses of synodality… Read More
Analysis
In Polish abuse report, numbers don't tell the whole story
Stephen White of Catholic University analyzes the Polish abuse report. “There is reason to believe the report’s numbers are artificially low, and the report doesn’t discuss bishops sanctioned or under… Read More
Stephen's Column
Our Indefensible, Unsustainable Status Quo
Stephen White of Catholic University reflects on the recent conversation among the bishops regarding the Eucharist: “Now, questions about ‘Eucharistic consistency’ and Communion for politicians who oppose Church teaching are… Read More
Stephen's Column
Language Barriers
Stephen White of Catholic University reflects on the unintended consequences of Mass in the vernacular. “Mass in the vernacular can create a deep separation, based on language, between Catholic communities… Read More
VAC Interview
Victim Assistance Coordinator Interview: Sylvia Palda, Orange
This month’s interview is with Sylvia Palda of the Diocese of Orange in California. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Have you always been Catholic? Do you have… Read More
Stephen's Column
Division among the Bishops, or a Blessing in Disguise?
Stephen White reflects on the current debate over whether the USCCB ought to craft a document about Eucharistic coherence: “The American Church has suffered through decades of lax sacramental discipline,… Read More
In the News
Crisis Podcast Wins Award
The Catholic Project’s podcast, Crisis: Clergy Abuse in the Catholic Church, has received second place in the Catholic Media Association’s Gabriel Awards for 2021. This is a good opportunity to… 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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