Center for Religion and Public Discourse
Established in 2001, the Center for Religion and Public Discourse enhances the Catholic identity and mission of Saint Xavier University by advancing thoughtful and respectful discussion and scholarship in areas where consideration of economics, politics, science, and the arts can be informed by ethical, spiritual, and religious perspectives.
In establishing and maintaining the Center, the University reflects the position of Pope John Paul II in Ex corde Ecclesiae that "a Catholic university is distinguished by its free search for the whole truth" and must, of necessity, "engage in a dialogue between faith and reason." Through a variety of campus and community programs and scholarly activities, the Center provides a forum for this dialogue by creating an hospitable, intellectual "space" where timely, diverse, and sometimes controversial issues can be publicly raised, presented, and debated with candor and civility.
Drawing upon the example of Mother Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, and her ethos of compassion, service, and hospitality to those not only of the Catholic faith but also of no or other faith traditions, the Center's activities complement the University's mission of teaching, scholarship, and service. Often in collaboration with other University departments and programs, the Center promotes the "dialogue between faith and reason" and encourages the development and articulation of carefully reasoned ethical, spiritual, and religious perspectives about both the individual and the common good.
The activities of the Center are funded through grants and donations made to foster the mission of the Center, as well as through University resources.
The founding director of the Center for Religion and Public Discourse was Sister Susan Sanders, R.S.M., Ph.D., who developed and led the Center for its first ten years (2001-2011). The current director is Andrea J. Stapleton, Ph.D., who was named director in July 2014.