Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Dialogue of Cultures

In his address at the University of Regensburg on September 12, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI made an argument whose crucial import was obscured by the unproductive media furor that followed his speech. Pope Benedict argued: "While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them. We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons…. Only thus do we become capable of that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today."

Our world is characterized by a dizzying array of cultural conflicts. The news from Iraq that greets us every morning reminds us of the deep cultural conflicts between the West and the various Islamic cultures of the Middle East . Other cultural conflicts manifest themselves in the various efforts to secure basic human rights across the globe. And then there is the cultural crisis in Europe, where the Church, led by Pope Benedict, attempts to keep Europe from forgetting its Christian roots and sliding ever more deeply into secularization. This is not even to mention the deep cultural divides within our own polity, and even, most regrettably, within the Church Herself.

The solution to such widespread division, Pope Benedict urges us to realize, is a reconciliation of Christian faith and natural human reason that conceives of the latter according to the full capacities of its freedom; that is, as open to a reality that transcends the empirically verifiable. Only with such a conception of reason, Pope Benedict concludes, will human beings become capable “of that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today.” The Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, concerned by the deep cultural divides that characterize so much of our world, found inspiration in Pope Benedict’s Regensburg Address, and decided to devote its eighth annual fall conference to the theme: The Dialogue of Cultures. One of the key purposes of this conference was to help restore the richness in the notion of dialogue itself, which too often has devolved into a cultural cliché.

The conference opened on Thursday evening with the first of two conference plenary lectures, given by The Most Reverend Elias Chacour, Archbishop Metropolitan of the Melkite Catholic Diocese of Acco, Haifa, Nazareth and Galilee, and the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Notre Dame at the 2006 commencement ceremonies. Archbishop Chacour’s lecture was entitled, “The Role of Religions in Promoting Dialogue.” There, he challenged the conference audience to think more deeply about what it means to pursue a meaningful cross-cultural dialogue aimed at a truly Christian peace.

The second plenary session took place on Friday evening, featuring George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., and author of, among many other books,Witness to Hope, the authorized biography of Pope John Paul II. Mr. Weigel’s lecture was entitled, “Reading Regensburg Right.” Other distinguished speakers included Notre Dame professors Alasdair MacIntyre, who delivered a lecture entitled, “How to be a European: Questions for Tariq Ramadam,” and Ralph McInerny who delivered a lecture entitled, “Aristotle and St. Thomas: A Model for the Meeting of Cultures?” We were also proud to host talks by Rev. Samir Khalil Samir, S.J., Professor of Oriental Theology at St. Joseph’s University, Lebanon, and Director of the Center for Arab-Christian Documentation and Research, who spoke on, “Benedict XVI’s Regensburg Address: A Project of the Universal Dialogue of Cultures, Especially with Islam,” and Wael Farouq,
Professor of Islamic Sciences, Coptic-Catholic faculty of Sakakini, Cairo, delivered a lecture entitled, “Beard, Neqab and Dialogue: Bridging the Gap between Reason and Reality.”

In a fitting close to the conference, The Most Reverend John M. D’Arcy, Archbishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, presided at the Vigil Mass on Saturday evening in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, after which the conference was concluded with a festive banquet. It has become a tradition at this celebratory dinner to close with informal topical remarks by a special guest. This year, Rev. Saad Sirop Hanna, a Chaldean Catholic priest, offered reflections on the importance of a genuine and peaceful dialogue among cultures in his home country of Iraq. On August 15, 2006, Father Hanna, then the head of the theological faculty of Babel College, the Christian University of Religious Studies in Baghdad, was kidnapped after celebrating Mass and held in captivity. Pope Benedict XVI appealed publicly for his release, which occurred on September 11th. Father Hanna’s witness to the possibility and importance of such dialogue was particularly powerful in light of his personal experience with hatred and persecution.

We hope the conference helped many of us to understand more deeply what is required for a genuine dialogue of cultures rooted in truth and aimed at peace. Once again, we would like to express our gratitude to the Maas Family Endowment for Excellence, as well as the Strake Foundation, for making possible this tremendous experience.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Purity of Heart: A Meditation on a Beatitude

Breaking Bread, our semi-annual dinner and evening of spiritual discussion for Notre Dame students and faculty, began only four years ago, but it has already secured a place in the hearts of undergraduates and professors alike. Students often share with us that it is rare to find a warm environment that fosters profound theological discussion with their professors. Especially in an age when many feel like the distance between the two groups is continually widening, Breaking Bread gives students the rare chance of talking with professors outside the classroom. One student said, “It’s nice to have an occasion for us to eat together and talk about what’s really important to our lives.”

At this fall’s Breaking Bread event, on November 13, 2007, Professor Lawrence S. Cunningham, the Rev. John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology in Notre Dame’s Department of Theology, gave a stirring reflection entitled “Purity of Heart: A Meditation on a Beatitude.” Professor Cunningham’s reflection first described what it means to be pure in our society today. He then focused on the way in which purity manifests itself in different aspects of our lives. Professor Cunningham’s reflection gave rise to lively discussions between students and faculty members over a delicious dinner. One student remarked, “It was refreshing to enjoy an evening in an atmosphere where I was encouraged to talk openly about my Christian faith with other students and faculty members.” Another student remarked, “The discussion at my table was very interesting because there were students from so many different majors who had unique reactions to Dr. Cunningham’s talk.”

As part of the evening’s events, each attendee received a copy of Professor Cunningham’s book, A Brief History of Saints.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Convenience, Control, and Other Technological Virtues

On November 7, 2007, the fall Schmitt Lecture was delivered by Christine Rosen, a Fellow for the Project on Biotechnology and American Democracy at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a senior editor of The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology and Society. Dr. Rosen’s talk, entitled “Convenience, Control, and Other Technological Virtues,” focused on the ways in which the new media technologies, especially in their ability to serve up content “on demand,” are changing our conceptions of social space.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Shakespeare and Catholicism

The annual Catholic Culture Literature Series originated in the Center’s desire to expose the Notre Dame community to the richness of the Catholic literary heritage. Through this series of lectures, we seek to promote writers known for the quality of their works and the uniquely Catholic dimension of their literary perspectives. In past semesters, we have focused on such major figures as Flannery O’Connor, G.K. Chesterton, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, Walker Percy, and J.R.R. Tolkien. The mission of this year’s Catholic Culture Series was to try to decipher the enigma and controversy surrounding Shakespeare’s Catholicism. We invited four renowned Shakespeare scholars to shed some light on the subject:

1. Joseph Pearce, Writer in Residence and associate professor of literature at Ave Maria University and internationally acclaimed author of numerous books, whetted the audience’s appetite with a lecture entitled, “Will the Real Shakespeare Please Stand Up? Evidence for the Bard’s Catholicism”;

2. Peter Holland, then-Acting Dean of the Graduate School, McMeel Family Professor in Shakespeare Studies and Chair of the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, focused on Shakespeare’s hidden symbols in a talk entitled, “Cracking the Shakespeare Code”;

3. John Finnis, the Biolchini Family Professor of Law at Notre Dame Law School and lecturer, reader and a chaired professor in law at Oxford University, gave an in-depth analysis of several of the Bard’s works in a talk called “The Audacity of Shakespeare’s Non-Recusant Catholicism”;

4. Clare Asquith, independent scholar & author of Shadowplay: The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare, focused on the necessity of relating Shakespeare studies back to 16th century history in a lecture entitled “Shakespeare’s Dark Matter.” William Shakespeare is clearly one of—if not the—most recognized and revered figures in literary history; yet it is precisely because of this that we often study his plays and sonnets in certain established ways, leaving little room for originality to emerge. Through a thorough and multi-faceted discussion of different fascinating aspects of Shakespeare, these lecturers provided the audience with a fresh perspective through which to view his work. If we continue to read Shakespeare within the context of a broader scope, we will, as Clare Asquith said, “in 20 years have a much richer Shakespeare.”

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Students Confront Contemporary Issues in Medical Ethics

The Practicing Medical Ethics course is our one-unit, day-long introduction into the interesting yet thorny field of medical ethics. The course is intended to familiarize students with some of the central issues in medical ethics and provide an opportunity for thoughtful and stimulating discussion about some of the hotly debated issues that dominate the public square.

In the first session this fall, students discussed the issues involved in the just distribution of medical resources. The first two cases asked whether alcoholics should be eligible for liver transplants and whether death-row inmates should be eligible for organ transplants. The third case came from recent headlines and dealt with the case of Dr. Anna Pou, who was accused of murdering nine patients at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, though a grand jury recently declined to indict her.

In this second session inspired by another recent tragedy, the Virginia Tech killings, students explored the issue of doctor-patient confidentiality. With the Virginia Tech tragedy, the question of how to balance doctor-patient confidentiality with public safety has resurfaced. The students read three different cases, two of which dealt with the issue of medical confidentiality and the university, and the third involving how much evidence is needed to constitute a “duty to warn.”

On August 1, 2007, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a response to questions concerning artificial nutrition and hydration, thereby reiterating Pope John Paul II’s affirmation that artificial nutrition and hydration should be considered basic care. In the third session, the students discussed this highly controversial issue.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Harry Potter and the King's Cross

Inspired by the release of the final installment of the wildly popular Harry Potter series, the Center held a panel discussion on September 12, 2007, entitled “Harry Potter and the King’s Cross.” The panel consisted of John O’Callaghan, professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, Rebecca DeYoung, professor of philosophy at Calvin College, and Emerson Spartz, a Notre Dame undergraduate and the founder of, the most popular Harry Potter fan site.

Professor DeYoung opened the discussion with a brief talk entitled “Love Bears All Things: Harry Potter, Thomas Aquinas, and the Virtue of Courage.” In this talk, Professor DeYoung compared three different models of courage: the American Action Hero, Lord Voldemort, and Harry Potter. In the end, Professor DeYoung determined that Harry Potter was the figure which most embodied Aquinas’ view of courage because his courage comes from his love for others rather than his desire for self-preservation.

Professor John O’Callaghan followed this talk with a presentation entitled “Harry Potter and the Cross of Christ,” in which he argued that, despite protestations to the contrary, Harry Potter is a distinctly Christian work. He primarily focused on the use of medieval symbols in the Harry Potter series, and showed the way in which these symbols give the Harry Potter stories a deeply Christian meaning.

Next, Emerson Spartz related a series of anecdotes abouthis experiences with Harry Potter fans and his interview with J.K. Rowling, the books’ author.

The presentations were followed by a lively question and answer segment, and a streaming video of the evening’s panel discussion is available on the Center’s website.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Way of a Pilgrim

At this spring’s Breaking Bread event, our semi-annual dinner and evening of spiritual discussion held in the Notre Dame Press Box for Notre Dame students and faculty, Dr. Timothy George, Professor of Divinity and Dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama provided a delightful reflection on “The Way of a Pilgrim.”

Using biblical models of pilgrimage, such as Abraham and Sarah, Dr. George reflected on the theme of Christian unity, as we are all called to be pilgrims together in the journey of faith. One of the faculty members who attended the event summarized the evening in this way: “It was really a lovely occasion: a beautiful evening in a beautiful place, with a fine, leisurely meal, good conversation, and a really excellent and inspiring talk by Timothy George to lead it off. The students at my table were really great, and we seemed to have a unified, largely serious and largely theological conversation without any effort. I thought it accomplished just the kind of thing that I understand these meals to be for. So I would say: try to keep it going, and keep taking the time and trouble to do it right. I thought Timothy George struck just the right note, of being intellectually nourishing without being overly abstract, and being inspiring without being preachy. The theme was concrete and imaginative enough to get people thinking and exchanging ideas. And the group of students there was nicely inclusive of different ages and interests: at my table we had a master’s student, an engineer, a theology major, a philosophy major - a couple of trombonists, a woman who runs track, and so on. Thanks again, so much, for inviting me to be part of a splendid occasion. We need more of this kind of thing at Notre Dame.”

As part of the evening’s events, each attendee received a copy of Sacred Travels: Recovering the Ancient Practice of Pilgrimage, by Dr. George’s son, Christian George. This spring’s Breaking Bread event was administered by the Center’s undergraduate assistants, Kate Wilson, Stephen Freddoso, and Greer Hannan. The Center once again thanks Mr. Fran McGowen, of Malvern, Pennsylvania, for his generosity in sponsoring this event. Next semester, Breaking Bread will take place on November 13th, and we are pleased to announce that Professor Lawrence S. Cunningham, the Rev. John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology in Notre Dame’s Department of Theology, will provide the evening’s reflection.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Children of Men: Pascalian Reflections on Contemporary Film

The second installment of this Spring’s Catholic Culture Film Series took place on Thursday evening, April 19, with a talk by longtime Center friend Thomas Hibbs, dean of the Honors College at Baylor University and author of two books on contemporary film and television, along with numerous film reviews.

To a packed lecture room in DeBartolo Hall, Professor Hibbs delivered a talk entitled, “The Children of Men: Pascalian Reflections on Contemporary Film,” in which he noted a recent trend in contemporary film toward in which protagonists grapple with more robust philosophical questions about life’s meaning. Discussing such films as Donnie Darko and the more recent The Children of Men, Hibbs brought to light the way in which certain films are moving away from a simplistic individualist, even nihilistic stance, toward the more heroic question: “Is it worth dying for anyone else?”

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Undergraduates Wrestle with Medical Ethics for a Day

The Center’s annual medical ethics conference was the inspiration for this 1-unit Practicing Medical Ethics course, offered each semester to Notre Dame undergraduate students. Because the Practicing Medical Ethics course is only a one-day event, whereas the Conference is a three-day event, students focus on three of the issues discussed at the conference.
It is our hope that this sample of the complex field of medical ethics will encourage students to pursue these issues – and other issues in medical ethics – in greater depth.

The spring course, offered on April 14th, was divided into three main sessions:

Session I: The “Pillow Angel” Case. In the past year, much attention in the media has been given to the case of Ashley, otherwise known as the “Pillow Angel.” Her parents pursued several treatments in order to make Ashley, who is severely mentally and physically disabled, more comfortable and so that they could better care for her.

Session II: Seriously Ill Infants. Much debate around the world surrounds how we should care for seriously ill infants, particularly those who are fated to die shortly after birth, and what their moral status is. In this session, students discussed the permissibility of infant euthanasia, early induction, palliative care, and life support for infants not for their own benefit, but so their organs can be harvested.

Session III: Mandatory Vaccination and Testing. Mandatory HPV vaccination became a controversial issue earlier this year when Texas governor Rick Perry introduced an executive order requiring HPV vaccination for all girls entering the sixth grade. In this session, students discussed this and other similar cases concerning mandatory vaccination and testing and issues of public health.

We are forever indebted to the generosity of Dr. Paul Wright, a cardiologist from Youngstown, Ohio, for graciously funding this course. Additionally, we are grateful to the alumni physicians and faculty members who so generously gave of their time to teach this course: Dr. Mark Lindenmeyer, a lawyer and hospital administrator in the Cincinnati area; Rev. Jim Foster, CSC, MD, director of the Preprofessional Studies Department at Notre Dame; Dr. Tom Murphy, a clinical endocrinologist, and his wife, Dr. Laura David, an OB/GYN, both professors at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio; Kevin McDonnell, the Edna and George McMahon Chair in Philosophy at Saint Mary’s College; Rudy Navari, Director of the Walther Cancer Research Center at the Notre Dame; Paul McCauley, who runs a free clinic in Maryland; Keri Oxley, a Notre Dame graduate and current medical student at Yale University; and Center director David Solomon.

Monday, March 26, 2007

22nd Annual Clarke Family Medical Ethics Conference

March 23rd to 25th, approximately 80 physicians, philosophers, hospital chaplains, and other medical professionals gathered here at Notre Dame for the 22nd Annual Philip and Doris Clarke Medical Ethics Conference. The aim of the conference is to allow for discussion regarding some of the complex issues that plague the practice of medicine, in a setting not only where participants can come to a deeper understanding of Catholic teaching on these issues, but where diverse viewpoints can be shared, heard, and appreciated.

The conference’s traditional format involves several small-group discussions of case studies provided by members of the conference audience and reflecting current issues in medical practice. In one session, participants discussed three cases where various considerations external to the narrowly medical features of a treatment situation (such as finances or religious commitments) raised ethical questions for the physician acting in the case. In the next session, participants discussed a range of cases concerning requests from patients for treatments that are based on what some might regard as medically irrelevant conditions. For example, one case involved the much-publicized “Pillow Angel” case and in another case, a mother sought human growth hormone treatment for her “undersized,” but medically healthy, son to avoid psychological damage. In another session, attendees examined a series of cases involving reproductive health. As always, the conference included a discussion of recent initiatives in health care reform. In our final session, participants chose among three concurrent break-out sessions. In the first, we considered ethical issues concerned with using body parts either in artistic displays or in religious settings. The second engaged the ethical issues surrounding vaccinations and HIV testing, and in the third, we returned to the ethical dilemmas raised by medical treatment at the end of life.

The only formal lecture of this conference is the annual J. Philip Clarke Family Lecture on Medical Ethics. This year, it was delivered by Margaret Monahan Hogan, the McNerny-Hanson Chair of Ethics, professor of philosophy and Executive Director of the Garavanta Center for Catholic Intellectual Life and American Culture at the University of Portland. Professor Hogan has been a leading figure in Catholic medical ethics for many years, and has contributed in diverse ways to contemporary discussions in the field.

In Professor Hogan’s lecture, “Bioethics and its Gordian Knot,” she posited that, abortion as an elective surgical procedure – what has sometimes been designated as abortion on demand – is similar to the legendary Gordian Knot, which only Alexander the Great could untie by his famous solution: cutting through it with his sword. Professor Hogan explained how this Gordian Knot of bioethics had been tied by a set of Supreme Court decisions, rendered as a seeming compromise to protect a rising consciousness of the rights of women to be free to develop their potential. The knot was then woven by bonds fashioned and tightened by a set of claims – liberty claims and equality claims, enunciated by a regent liberal philosophy and sustained by judicial decree. Finally, the knot has been reinforced by practices – practices by many in the medical profession and by many women who chose abortion. Professor Hogan suggested that the sundering of this Gordian Knot has found no easy Alexandrine solution to loosen its hold on the American culture. She concluded her lecture, hailed by many as one of the best Clarke lectures in the history of the series, with the following words: “Part of the task is the essential work of building the culture of life. To build this culture requires our engagement in the intellectual controversies – if we think we hold the truth, we ought to fear no pursuit of knowledge. To build this culture requires our participation in the deliberations of the democracy and in its political processes – Catholics have a right in the public square as citizens and an obligation to be in the public square as Catholics – the former is a guarantee of the first amendment and the latter the command of Christ that we ‘render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.’ To build that culture finally requires that we make abortion unthinkable because it is unnecessary.”

As always, we are grateful to the Notre Dame Alumni Association, and in particular to Mirella Riley, director of the Academic Division, and administrative assistant Janet Miller, for their assistance in coordinating this conference.

Friday, March 9, 2007

An Evening of Angelus at Notre Dame

The state-of-the-art Browning Cinema at Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center…
A screening of the four prize-winning films in the 2006 Angelus Student Film Festival…
A lively Q&A session following the screening with three of the award-winning young directors and one of the winning films’ lead actors….

Such were the elements of An Evening with Angelus at Notre Dame, a groundbreaking new event which brought the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture into collaboration with the Angelus Awards Student Film Festival and the sponsors of that festival, Family Theater Productions, a Catholic film production company located on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California. The Angelus Awards was created by Family Theater Productions in 1996 to showcase and award emerging filmmakers and to encourage them to continue creating visionary projects that honor the fundamental dignity of the human person.

The collaboration between the Center and Family Theater Productions is a natural one, as the national director of Family Theater is a Holy Cross priest, Fr. Willy Raymond, CSC. Fr. Willy first participated in the Center’s activities when he delivered a talk entitled “Young Catholic Hollywood” in the Center’s inaugural Catholic Culture Film Series in the Spring of 2006. At that time, the Center began to talk with Fr. Willy about an event that would bring to Notre Dame the winning filmmakers in the Angelus Awards Student Film Festival. The culmination of those discussions was An Evening with Angelus at Notre Dame, which took place on March 8, 2007.

That evening the Center was happy to host the award-winning filmmakers along with Fr. Willy and three members of the Angelus Awards staff: Monika Moreno, director of the Festival, Kale Zelden, associate director, and Robyn Gibson. The films screened at “An Evening with Angelus at Notre Dame” were the following: The Trojan Cow, written and directed by Barbara Stepansky of the American Film Institute, Los Angeles, winner of the $10,000 Excellence in Filmmaking Award in honor of Servant of God, Father Patrick Peyton, CSC (the founder of Family Theater Productions). The Trojan Cow is the story of two teenagers’ attempt in 1973 to be illegally transported inside a hollow cow across the East German border to freedom.

Queen of Cactus Cove, written and directed by Anna Christopher, also of AFI, is the winner of the $5,000 Priddy Bros. Triumph Award. In this film, teenage chess champ Billie faces the prospect of defeat for the first time when she competes against her best friend at the biggest chess tournament of her career.

Kilroy Was Here, written and directed by Charlie Boyles, North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, winner of the $2,500 Fujifilm Audience Impact Award and the $1,500 Act One Screenplay prize. In the film, the characters fought for different causes in the same war. Now together, they will forge a connection that transcends language…and their cause will become one. Kilroy Was Here was represented by its leader actor, Keith Harris.

Silences, written and directed by Octavio Warnock-Graham, City College of New York, winner of the $3,000 Outstanding Documentary Award sponsored by Maryknoll Productions. Silences is an intimate personal journey by the filmmaker to find the one person who can complete his search for answers…his biological father.

After the screening of the films, Monika Moreno moderated a stimulating Q&A with the three winning directors and actor Keith Harris. The Center would like to thank Fr. Willy Raymond, the staff of the Angelus Awards, as well as the Peter Grenville Foundation, for helping make this event possible. A special word of thanks goes out to Jon Vickers, manager of the Browning Cinema at Notre Dame, for his help in organizing this event at the wonderful facilities
of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Edith Stein Project: Toward Integral Healing for Women and Culture

A new student group, The Identity Project of Notre Dame (IDND), formed during the 2006-07 school year. IDND’s goal is to promote discussion of the dignity and vocation of men and women in light of Catholic anthropology (i.e., teaching on the nature and purpose of human persons) at Notre Dame and in the community. The students hope to help other students integrate these principles into their daily lives. The founding members of the enormously successful Edith Stein Conference helped to start IDND, and the conference now continues under its auspices.

This year’s conference, held at Notre Dame on February 23rd and 24th, was entitled, “The Edith Stein Project: Toward Integral Healing for Women and Culture,” and focused specifically on healing for individual women and for society generally. During this conference, participants were asked to discuss approaches to healing which embrace a vision of the person as an inextricable union of body and soul and to integrate spiritual, emotional and psychological aspects of the person. The participants were encouraged to weave together intellectual and pastoral elements of Catholic teaching in an effort to re-form our culture’s perception of the person and women’s perception of their selves in light of their inalienable human dignity. Speakers included Paolo Carozza, associate professor of Notre Dame Law School and a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; Wendy Shalit, author of A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue; and Janet Smith, a moral theologian from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.

In addition to the conference, IDND also sponsored various social events, an outreach initiative to high school students, and weekly discussions for undergraduate students on various issues concerning the dignity and vocation of human persons, on human sexuality and on marriage.

The conference closed with a preview screening of the movie Bella – an independent, prolife film, and winner of the People’s Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival, which is scheduled for general release in August 2007.