Revisiting ethics at Catholic university
Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, January 24, 2007
This letter is in response to James Welle’s (“Ethics and morals not synonomous,” Jan. 23) comment, “My point is that morals cannot and should not ever be used to justify ethics.”
Whose morals are we talking about?
As written in DuLac, the mission statement of the University of Notre Dame states, “Notre Dame’s character as a Catholic academic community presupposes that no genuine search for the truth in the human or cosmic order is alien to the life of faith … There is, however, a special obligation and opportunity, specifically as a Catholic university, to pursue the religious dimensions of human learning. Only thus can Catholic intellectual life in all disciplines be animated and fostered and a proper community of scholarly religious discourse be established.”
The founders of our university believe that truth is not alien to faith; they believe that truth and morality as established by faith are not foreign to one another. The search for truth about ethics at this university should be guided by a profound understanding of Catholic morality. The mission statement also states, “A Catholic university draws its basic inspiration from Jesus Christ as the source of wisdom and from the conviction that in Him all things can be brought to their completion.” All things includes the examples of ethical dilemmas James provided; the founders of this university believe that ethical decisions can be justified by the moral ideas as established by the Catholic church. Catholics cannot have separate moral and ethical stances.