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University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis, MN

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Academic Freedom in Catholic Universities: Where the Church Does its Thinking

The American Legal System is an adversarial system that is premised on the belief that the vigorous exchange of contesting truthful perspectives will most likely reveal the truth. The contemporary concept of academic freedom relies on similar ideas – that truth exists and that it is best discovered through dynamic dialogue on contested points. Yet Catholic universities (and law schools) are founded in the belief that “faith and reason bear harmonious witness to the unity of all truth.” This symposium asks the question what role religious faith has the modern university – and more particularly in contemporary legal education. The urgency of this question is illustrated by recent Congressional questioning of a judicial nominee about the orthodoxy of her faith and the depth of her dogma.

Topics include the priority between secular and religious teachings in post-secondary education, religious diversity in American law schools, historical analysis of religious diversity in Catholic law schools, and much more. The Symposium will include a combination of lectures, panel discussions, and question and answer sessions.

5 Stanard CLE credits pending; 1 Elimination of Bias CLE credit pending