The Seventh Annual John F. Scarpa Conference on Law, Politics, and Culture:
Living the Catholic Faith in Public Life
On Friday, September 14, Villanova University School of Law hosted the seventh annual John F. Scarpa Conference on Law, Politics, and Culture. The symposium is widely considered to be among the preeminent events in Catholic legal education.
The Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., who delivered the keynote address, was installed as the Archbishop of Philadelphia on September 8, 2011. Prior to becoming Archbishop of Philadelphia, Archbishop Chaput served as Archbishop of Denver from 1997 to 2011 and Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, from 1988 to 1997. In his book, Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life (Doubleday, 2008), Archbishop Chaput analyzes the balance between religion and politics and argues that our public life must be considered within the context of its Christian roots. Archbishop Chaput calls on Catholics to take an active, vocal, and morally consistent role in public debate.
“Law and politics shape the course of a nation’s future. Very few vocations have more importance or more dignity when they’re lived with humility, honesty and love,” said Archbishop Chaput in his keynote address. “But all of us who call ourselves Christians share the same vocation to love God first and above all things; and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We’re citizens of heaven first; but we have obligations here. We’re Catholics and Christians first. And if we live that way -- zealously and selflessly in our public lives -- our country will be the better for it; and God will use us to help make the world new.”
Conference speakers included:
Helen Alvaré,’81 VSB, Associate Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
H. David Baer, Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy and Department Chair, Texas Lutheran University
Gerard Bradley, Professor of Law, Notre Dame Law School
Patrick McKinley Brennan, John F. Scarpa Chair in Catholic Legal Studies & Professor of Law, Villanova University School of Law
Reverend Bryan Hehir, Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Secretary for Health Care and Social Services, Archdiocese of Boston
Peter Steinfels, Co-Director of the Fordham University Center on Religion and Culture, University Professor at Fordham, and former religion columnist for The New York Times
Michael J. White, Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University
The annual Conference on Law, Politics, and Culture is named for John F. Scarpa in recognition of his generous support of Villanova University School of Law.