VILLANOVA, Pa. – In his seminal work, City of God (De Civitate Dei), St. Augustine articulates a distinctive commitment to intellectual engagement between the Church and the world. He created communities focused on the search for truth in unity and love, while respecting differences and the complexities of Catholic intellectual thought. With the Civitas Dei Medal, Villanova University recognizes Catholics who through their work have made exemplary contributions to the Catholic intellectual tradition and have shown particular commitment to the pursuit of truth, beauty and goodness.
Villanova’s second annual Civitas Dei Medal was presented to Judge John T. Noonan, Jr. on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 4:30 PM in the Connelly Center Villanova Room.
“The scope of the Catholic intellectual tradition stretches over two millennia and extends beyond theological and philosophical traditions to include literary writings, art, design and scientific contributions,” said Barbara Wall, PhD, Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Villanova University, upon Villanova’s inauguration of the Civitas Dei Medal in 2012. “With the Civitas Dei Medal, Villanova University honors this tradition and those who have made significant contributions to it, and seeks to inspire others to continue the enrichment of the Catholic intellectual tradition.”
In a scholarly and professional career that now spans 65 years, he has written a number of important studies about the interaction of Catholic moral doctrine and the law. He has authored a series of biographical essays on leading canon lawyers of the twelfth century as well as articles on scholastic philosophy. Many focus on morality and ethics, American and world Catholicism, and the development of moral doctrine. These writings have shaped Catholic debate in the United States for over four decades. Currently, Noonan is Robbins Professor of Law, Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.
As a Harvard-trained lawyer and a federal judge, Noonan has helped decide a number of important cases, most notably ones addressing the death penalty and assisted suicide. He has also authored a number of books, papers, essays and articles of general interest to the American legal profession..
In addition, he has served the country as a member of the Presidential Commission on Population, National Institutes of Health, National Endowment for the Humanities, Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, as well as the American Law Institute. He has served the Church as a consultant to the USCCB committees on moral values, law and public policy, law and life issues, as well as the Committee on Social Development and World Peace. He has been awarded eight honorary degrees, University of Notre Dame's Laetare medal in 1984, and the Aquinas medal from the American Catholic Philosophical Association in 1995.
Noonan will be the keynote speaker for Villanova Law’s Eighth-Annual John F. Scarpa Conference on Law, Politics, and Culture on Nov. 15. The symposium focuses on Noonan’s scholarship, which covers a broad range of topics including religious freedom, federalism, professional ethics and jurisprudence.
About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.