From the Director

Welcome to the home page of the Institute for Catholicism and Citizenship (ICC). We are glad you are here!

The ICC was founded in 2015 in the Theology Department in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of St. Thomas. The ICC is dedicated above all to advancing robust and responsible Catholic participation in civil society. We do so by sponsoring a range of activities and providing resources for stimulating theologically-informed and interdisciplinary dialogue on the meaning and requirements of faithful citizenship.  

Our mission and activities are directly inspired by the Second Vatican Council’s invitation to all Catholics to be engaged citizens, critically scrutinizing the fullest range of social, economic, and political questions in the light of the Gospel.

We are also inspired by the United States Catholic Bishops’ call for a faith-based engagement with the many concrete social, economic, and political issues of special concern for Catholics, and indeed for all people of conscience, including the issue of citizenship itself!

What does it mean and require to be both fully Catholic and fully American today?  How might Catholics best serve the common good?

These are important questions. These are exciting questions! We hope you agree. If so, we hope to see you at our events.

Do come back!

Paul J. Wojda, Ph.D.



A Statement on the Presidential Election

The election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States brings an end to one of the most divisive and dispiriting presidential campaign seasons in recent memory. The vitriol, boorishness, and even violence that marred this race were a far cry from the civil debate, personal decorum, and honest disagreement that characterize democratic politics at its best.

Unfortunately, American Catholics were no strangers to this cheapening of our public discourse. Indeed, many of us failed to resist the temptation to contribute to it, whether in our personal conversations, through social media, or in other ways, both public and private. Of such words and deeds, which are unbecoming of us as citizens, both of the United States and even more so of the Kingdom of God, we are all called to repent.

Much repair work remains to be done. But we are reminded by Gaudium et spes, and more recently by Pope Francis, that such is the primary task of the Church in the world.

That the earthly and the heavenly city penetrate each other is a fact accessible to faith alone; it remains a mystery of human history, which sin will keep in great disarray until the splendor of the sons and daughters of God is fully revealed. Pursuing the saving purpose which is proper to it, the Church does not only communicate divine life to all peoples, but in some way casts the reflected light of that life over the entire earth, most of all by its healing and elevating impact on the dignity of the person, by the way in which it strengthens the seams of human society and imbues everyday activity with a deeper meaning and importance. Thus through its individual members and its whole community, the Church believes it can contribute greatly toward making the human family and its history more human. (Gaudium et spes, 40)

In this same spirit, Pope Francis has memorably described the Church as a “field hospital,” called not to inflict or deepen, but to mend the divisions of civil society. Central to this mission—which no political development can abrogate—are the corporal works of mercy, above all welcoming the stranger and clothing the naked. In times of crisis we might be tempted to a self-indulgent cynicism and despair. The corporal works of mercy, writes Francis, keep us from such a “closing in on ourselves.” For “it is precisely in the measure to which we open ourselves to others that life becomes fruitful, society regains peace and people recover their full dignity” (General Audience, October 26, 2016).

Through its activities and other sponsored events, The Institute for Catholicism and Citizenship at the University of St. Thomas pledges to do its part in the coming weeks and years to contribute to the healing of these divisions, to the rehabilitation of civil discourse, and to the building up of civic solidarity and human dignity in the United States and abroad.

Please join us.


Institute for Catholicism and Citizenship Advisory Board

Cara Anthony
Associate Professor, Theology

Thomas C. Berg
Professor of Law and Public Policy
School of Law

Bernard Brady
Professor and Chair, Theology Department

Catherine Cory
Associate Professor and Chair,
History Department

Jayna L. Ditty
Associate Professor and Chair,
Biology Department

Michael Hollerich
Professor, Theology

William Junker
Assistant Professor, Catholic Studies

Amy Levad
Associate Professor, Theology

Gerald Schlabach
Professor, Theology

Katarina Schuth
Professor, School of Divinity

Rev. Larry Snyder
Vice President for Mission

Paul J. Wojda
Associate Professor, Theology
Director, Institute for Catholicism and Citizenship