Civitas Dei Medal

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 seeks to recognize 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.

Lisa Sowle Cahill—2017 Recipient

Gustavo Gutiérrez—2016 Recipient

Gustavo Gutierrez

Gustavo Gutiérrez, O.P. is the John Cardinal O'Hara Endowed Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. 

Fr. Gutiérrez was born in Lima, Peru in 1928. After studies in medicine and literature in Peru, Gustavo Gutierrez studied psychology and philosophy at Louvain, and eventually took a doctorate at the Institut Catholique in Lyons.  He is most well-known for his foundational work in Latin American liberation theology,A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, Salvation, which centers on the roles of the poor in the task of evangelization and the proclamation of the reign of God. 

His other major works - which have been translated from Spanish into multiple languages besides English - touch as well on issues of spirituality and Latin American history, and include, We Drink From Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of A People; On Job: God-Talk and the Suffering of the InnocentThe Truth Shall Make You FreeThe God of Life, and Las Casas: In Search of the Poor of Jesus Christ. 

His essays have appeared in Theological StudiesLa Revista Latinoamericana de Teología, and Páginas.  He has also published in and been a member of the board of directors of the international journal, Concilium.

He has been a principal professor at the Pontifical University of Peru, and has been visiting professor at many major universities in North America and Europe.  He is a member of the Peruvian Academy of Language, and in 1993 he was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government for his tireless work for human dignity and life, and against oppression, in Latin America and the Third World.

Perhaps more than any other contemporary theologian, Gustavo Gutiérrez is responsible for articulating the concept of the preferential option for the poor, which has gradually become a central tenant of the Church’s social teaching. He is currently at work on a book exploring the historical background and continuing theological relevance of this foundational principle.

David Hollenbach—2015 Recipient

David Hollenbach

David Hollenbach, S.J., holds the University Chair in Human Rights and International Justice and is Director of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College, where he teaches Christian social ethics in the Theology Department.  He also teaches often at Hekima College of The Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, and has been visiting professor at the Jesuit Philosophy Institute in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and the East Asian Pastoral Institute in Manila, Philippines.  He serves as a consultant to the Jesuit Refugee Service concerning advocacy on behalf of the human rights of displaced persons.  He is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Catholic Social Thought and the Journal of Religious Ethics, Political Theology.

His scholarly career spans more than 50 years of teaching that includes ten books, more than a hundred and thirty articles and chapters in books.  His research interests are in the foundations of Christian social ethics, especially human rights in the context of humanitarian crises and the displacement of refugees, theories of justice and the common good, and religion in political life.  He is an untiring scholar and advocate for the common good.

Fr. Hollenbach is President-elect of the Catholic Theological Society (CTSA) and will serve as President of CTSA in 2016.  Hollenbach served as President of the Society of Christian Ethics (1995-1996) and on the Board of Directors of the Catholic Theological Society (1982-1984).  He assisted the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in drafting their 1986 pastoral letter Economic Justice for All: Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy.  In 1979 he received a Walsh-Price Fellowship for travel in Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt to do research on religion and human rights in the Middle East.  In 1996, he received a Fulbright Fellowship for research and teaching in Kenya.  In June 1998, Hollenbach received the John Courtney Murray Award for outstanding contributions to theology from the Catholic Theological Society of America.  In January 2009 he received the Marianist Award, given by the University of Dayton, as well as four honorary Doctorates for his contributions to the Catholic intellectual tradition.  He is a scholar and activist for the cause of human rights throughout the world.

Mary Ann Glendon—2014 Recipient

Mary Ann Glendon

Mary Ann Glendon is the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University and former President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. She is a former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, and currently serves as Vice-Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. She writes and teaches in the fields of human rights, comparative law, constitutional law, and political theory.

Glendon is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the International Academy of Comparative Law, and a past president of the UNESCO-sponsored International Association of Legal Science. She served two terms as a member of the U.S. President's Council on Bioethics (2001-2004), and has represented the Holy See at various conferences including the 1995 U.N. World Conference on Women in Beijing, where she headed the Vatican delegation.

Glendon has contributed to legal and social thought in several widely translated works, bringing a comparative approach to a variety of subjects. Among her publications are 16 books and over 140 articles. They include The Forum and the Tower (2011), a series of biographical essays exploring the relation between political philosophy and politics-in-action; Traditions in Turmoil (2006), a collection of essays on law, culture and human rights; A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (2001), which the New York Times reviewer said should be the definitive study of the framing of the UDHR; A Nation Under Lawyers (1996), a portrait of turbulence in the legal profession, analyzing the implications of changes in legal culture for a democratic polity that entrusts crucial roles to legally trained men and women;Rights Talk (1991), a critique of the impoverishment of political discourse; The Transformation of Family Law (1989), winner of the legal academy’s highest honor, the Order of the Coif Book Award; Abortion and Divorce in Western Law (1987), winner of the Scribes Book Award for best writing on a legal subject; The New Family and the New Property (1981), and textbooks on comparative legal traditions.

John T. Noonan—2013 Recipient

John T Noonan

John T. Noonan is a husband and father, scholar, author, teacher, distinguished jurist and faithful son of the Church. Currently, he is Robbins Professor of Law, Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.

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. Among his most influential works are Contraception: A History of Its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians and Canonists (1968) and A Church That Can And Cannot Change: The Development of Catholic Moral Teaching (2005).

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. Among the most notable of these works are The Lustre of Our Country: The American Experience of Religious Freedom(1998) and Narrowing the Nation's Power: The Supreme Court Sides with the States(2002).

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.  Likewise, 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.

Alasdair MacIntyre—2012 Recipient

Alasdair MacIntyre

Alasdair MacIntyre is the Rev. John A. O’Brien Senior Research Professor of Philosophy (emeritus) at the University of Notre Dame. In a career spanning six decades, he has published over 30 books and hundreds of articles and reviews. Professor MacIntyre has made significant contributions to the history of philosophy, moral philosophy, political theory, the philosophy of the social sciences, and the philosophy of religion. His early works include Marxism: An Interpretation (1953), The Unconscious: A Conceptual Analysis (1958), A Short History of Ethics (1966), and Against the Self-Images of the Age (1971).  The influential sequence of books, After Virtue (1981), Whose Justice? Which Rationality? (1988), Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry (1990), andDependent Rational Animals (1999) constitute the most important contemporary articulation of Aristotelianism and a sustained critique of modern moral philosophy. More recently, he has published an examination of the philosophical work of Edith Stein set against the background of twentieth century phenomenology, Edith Stein: A Philosophical Prologue, 1913-1922 (2005), two volumes of his collected papers, The Tasks of Philosophy and Ethics and Politics (2006), and God, Philosophy, Universities: A Selective History of the Catholic Philosophical Tradition (2009).

Professor MacIntyre received his BA from Queen Mary College, University of London and MA degrees from Manchester and Oxford. Professor MacIntyre has held academic appointments at Oxford, Princeton, Brandeis, Wellesley, Boston University, Yale, Vanderbilt, and Duke. He has delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh, the Carus Lectures at the American Philosophical Association, the Caryle Lectures at Oxford University, the Tanner Lectures and Gauss Lectures at Princeton University, and the Aquinas Lecture at Marquette University. Professor MacIntyre is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, and a Member of the American Philosophical Society. In 2010, he was awarded the Aquinas Medal by the American Catholic Philosophical Association.


The image on the medal is an adaptation from a stained glass window in the St. Thomas of Villanova Church located on the campus of the University.