The Catholic University of America



Professor Lucia Silecchia Joins Faculty Roundtable
Exploring the Role of Faith in Intellectual Life


Columbus School of Law Professor Lucia Silecchia joined colleagues from five other schools at Catholic University for a roundtable discussion, “What Faith Has to Do with Intellectual Life,” held on Jan. 18, 2011 at the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center.  

Six CUA faculty members, one each from six of the university’s 12 schools, spoke before an audience of more than 200 about what faith means for them as teachers, researchers and scholars, and how they are able to bring it to bear in the environment of a Catholic university.

The personal perspective of Silecchia’s remarks were the result of an academic career of more than 20 years. She began by noting that the traditional assumption that higher education is hostile to faith has been changing in some positive ways.
“Certainly, there is much unfortunate skepticism about the role of faith in the pursuit of what are perceived of as ‘secular’ disciplines such as law,” said Silecchia.   “But, an unexpected community to which a growing number of law professors may belong—a community that refreshingly blurs the artificial line between professional and personal friendship—is the community of scholars committed to exploring legal questions through the lens of their faith.”    
A vibrant Catholic faith also helps professional educators to be better members of the many overlapping communities that form their world, Silecchia argued. They include colleagues, administrators, alumni, visitors and benefactors. But the most important is the students.
“In the three or four years that my students are my ‘neighbors,’ my faith has much to say about the ways in which I am to care for them and for their needs,” Silecchia told the audience.  “Theoretical discussion of what love of neighbor means is no substitute for taking that obligation seriously in dealings with all, but most especially with respect to the students entrusted to us. If we were to fail at meeting this obligation here, it would be particularly sad.”
The faculty members’ perspectives were part of a month of celebratory events honoring the inauguration of John Garvey as the 15th president of The Catholic University of America. Garvey has served in the position since the summer of 2010. His formal inauguration will be held on Jan. 25th.