Washington D.C., Apr 29, 2021 / 11:15 am America/Denver (CNA).
The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law will create a three-year program to study the compatibility of the U.S. Constitution with Catholicism, the school announced this week.
The law school will be hosting The Project for Constitutional Originalism. The three-year project aims to create an “intellectual center” at the school, which examines the connections between the “Constitution’s original, distinctly American vision of ensuring the protection and flourishing of the human person” and “the Catholic intellectual tradition.”
Stephen C. Payne, dean of the Columbus School of Law (Catholic Law), said the match of the program with the school is ideal.
“Catholic Law in our nation’s capital is uniquely situated to undertake the scholarly endeavor or identifying significant points of contact between the U.S. Constitution and a couple thousand years of Catholic thought,” Payne stated in an April 26 press release.
A $4.25 million gift from an anonymous trust was given to the law school April 20 for the project, the school announced.
“We are grateful to the anonymous donor for entrusting us with this important project,” Payne stated.
After the initial three-year period, the school said it will discuss with the donor whether the project should become a constitutional law center.
In addition, the gift will support research of existing faculty and will make possible the hiring of new faculty and staff for the project. The project will host events such as conferences and debates.
“We expect to be able to attract top-tier talent to participate in this project and have every expectation that it will succeed and grow,” Payne said.
The program will consider the “nature of the human person and the structures of civil society that the Constitution seeks to protect and allow to flourish, as well as the peculiarly American approach to government, political life, and the common good expressed in the Constitution, key founding documents, and originalist jurisprudence,” the school said in a press release.
Students will study the issues “using the lens of U.S. history, culture, and originalism scholarship,” the school said.
Through the gift, renovations will also be made to the law school to create space for the new project.
The donation was made as part of the university’s “Light the Way” fundraising campaign; the campaign has raised more than $356 million of its $400 million goal, the university said on April 26.
Among its goals, the campaign stated its aim of vaulting the law school into the top-50 nationally, “unique in its authentic Catholic identity and its influential voice, helping shape its students and the legal profession with an understanding of what it means to be a lawyer, to honor the dignity of the human person, and to serve the common good.”
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