Catholic-Evangelical Dialogue on the Common Good

In April 2008, Georgetown University inaugurated an evangelical-Catholic dialogue that would focus on ways for the resources of the two traditions to contribute to the common good and for Catholics and evangelicals to develop mutually acceptable public policies. Sponsored by the Berkley Center, the dialogue met April 24 to 26, 2008 at the Georgetown University Law Center and reviewed recent decades of public involvement, focusing on how Catholics and evangelicals can more wisely bring faith to bear on public life, especially regarding respect for life and ending poverty. Most present made a commitment to meet in a year. Georgetown's partner institution in the project is Eastern University, an undergraduate and graduate institution with a seminary, located in Wynnewood, PA, and founded in the Baptist tradition. It is the home of the Sider Center on Ministry and Public Policy, directed by Ronald Sider. Georgetown participants included President John J. DeGioia, John Borelli, special assistant to the president for interreligious dialogue, and Dean Chester Gillis, a senior fellow at the Berkley Center. Prominent evangelicals included Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals and Michael Gerson, Washington Post columnist and former speech writer and advisor to President George W. Bush.
Other Georgetown participants in the dialogue were Fr. John Langan, S.J., rector of the Georgetown Jesuit community, and Carol Q. O'Neil of the Law Center. Also attending were John Carr, Secretary for Justice, Peace and Human Development at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ronald Sider, a widely engaged evangelical academic and activist associated with Eastern University's Palmer School of Theology, Don Eberly, presidential advisor to the Bush administrations, Glen H. Stassen of Fuller Theological Seminary, Maggie Gallagher, the Catholic founder of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, and M. Cathleen Kaveny, a Notre Dame professor and Commonweal columnist. This event built on the prior work of a March 2006 meeting at Georgetown University Law Center, which brought together Catholics and evangelicals to discuss "Finding the Common Ground for the Common Good: Toward an Evangelical Catholic Partnership on Public Policy."

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