Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy announces upcoming events

Two public programs – a Jan. 27 talk by Twin Cities lawyer and author David Lebedoff and a Feb. 13 forum, "Memo to the President" – open 2009 at the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy of the University of St. Thomas.

  • "Lunch, Literature and Public Life: George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh" is the title of an institute program from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27, in Room 321 of the St. Thomas School of Law, 1000 LaSalle Ave. Admission and a light lunch are free and open to the public. For reservations, due by Friday, Jan. 16, send your name to murphyinstit@stthomas.edu or call (651) 962-4842.

Attorney and author Lebedoff will discuss his new book, The Same Man: George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh in Love and War (Random House, August 2008), which Publishers Weekly called a "lean and urbane dual portrait" of these British literary titans:  "Evelyn Waugh was a loud convert to Catholicism, an even louder social climber and very much a man of Empire. George Orwell (Eric Blair) could best be described as a long-suffering atheistic humanist, a utopian socialist and dreamer. Waugh succeeded early; Orwell was an obscure polemicist until his masterpieces Animal Farm and 1984, which were written at the end of his life. But both men were born the same year (1903) and came from the same class. They admired each other’s writing and moral courage, says Lebedoff, and finally met six months before the bed-ridden Orwell’s death in 1950. Both men, the author says, rejected not only the immorality of dictators in their own time but the moral relativism they foresaw in the future."  Lebedoff also will discuss the two men’s approaches to faith and politics.

  • "Memo to the President: Priorities for the Common Good" is a public forum from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, in the Schulze Grand Atrium of the St. Thomas School of Law. Admission and a light lunch are free and open to the public. For reservations, due by Tuesday, Jan. 27, send your name to murphyinstit@stthomas.edu or call (651) 962-4842.

The forum features three leading thinkers influenced by Catholic thought: John Allen Jr., senior correspondent for National Catholic Reporter; Boston University professor Andrew Bacevich, author of The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (Henry Holt, 2008); and David Blankenhorn, founder and president of the Institute for American Values and author of Thrift: A Cyclopedia (Templeton Foundation Press, 2008).

The panelists, moderated by Julie Oseid, associate professor of law at the St. Thomas School of Law, will discuss what they hope will be the new president’s first priorities as he begins his administration. What public policies should he adopt? Why? What would they say to the new president if they had 20 minutes alone with him?

Formed in 2004, the Terrence J. Murphy Institute is a collaboration between the university’s Center for Catholic Studies and School of Law; it is named for the late Monsignor Terrence Murphy, who served the University of St. Thomas for 50 years, including 25 years as its president.