John L. Carr, a leader at the intersection of faith and politics for decades, spoke on the topic “Salt, Light and Leaven: Pope Francis’ New Call to Discipleship” at St. Mary’s University on Tuesday, Oct. 15 as part of the Lin Great Speakers Series.

Carr is the director of the new Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University, which seeks to educate, encourage and support Catholic lay leaders in carrying out their vocation to be “salt, light and leaven” in public life.

In simple ways and powerful words, Pope Francis is calling Catholics and others to see faith and public life anew. Pope Francis is raising new questions for reflection and offering new directions for action.

Looking to the scriptures and the challenges of Pope Francis, Carr outlined key elements of the Catholic mission and message in public life. He also examined the current context and assets for believers in the public square. The presentation concluded with some directions and dangers as we seek to live out the call of Pope Francis to be the “leaven of the love of God in society.”

Before Carr’s current position at Georgetown University, he served as the executive director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, spearheading the organization’s policy and advocacy efforts for more than 20 years. Carr is also the Washington Correspondent for America Magazine and was a recent residential Fellow on Religion and Politics at Harvard University.

Outside the Catholic Church, Carr served as executive director of the White House Conference on Families under President Jimmy Carter and as director of the National Committee for Full Employment, a civil rights-labor-religious coalition led by the late Coretta Scott King.

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