Terrence J. Murphy Institute

for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy

Exploring the intersection of Catholic Thought and Law.

The Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy is a collaboration between the Center for Catholic Studies and the School of Law at the University of St. Thomas. The institute explores the various interactions between law and Catholic thought on topics ranging from workers' rights to criminal law to marriage and family.

The institute draws from the resources of both programs, other academic disciplines and other faith traditions. The institute's examination of law also is driven by a "vision of the human person and the world that is enlightened by the Gospel" (Pope John Paul II, Ex Corde Ecclesiae).

To help provide connections between law and Catholic thought, the institute develops curricular resources, facilitates scholarship and scholarly discussions, and engages and serves the church and community through public events and public policy analysis.

The institute's activities focus on four areas:

  • Facilitating scholarship and scholarly discussions concerning law and the Catholic intellectual tradition;
  • Engaging and serving the community through public events;
  • Developing curricular resources for relating law and the Catholic tradition in the classroom;
  • Providing nonpartisan public policy analysis rooted in the Catholic tradition. 

Monsignor Terrence J. Murphy

The integration of law and the Catholic intellectual tradition was the vision of Monsignor Terrence J. Murphy, president and chancellor of St. Thomas for more than 35 years, who believed in the importance of a Catholic law school in the Twin Cities.

His 2001 book, A Catholic University: Vision and Opportunities, emphasized the themes of teaching religious and ethical values, ecumenism and openness to those of all faiths and cultures; service; recognizing and meeting community needs; and an entrepreneurial spirit.

The institute's generous intial funding came from the combination of a bequest in Monsignor Murphy's will and significant contributions from a group of donors.