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.
Since 1990, St. Mary’s University has offered the Lin Great Speakers Series to the public as a community service. The series is made possible by an endowment established in the memory of Shu Chi Lin by his widow, Mrs. Chang Le-Chiao, and his son, Vincent Lin, an alumnus and former St. Mary’s faculty member.
St. Mary’s University repeatedly has been nationally recognized for its commitment to service and community engagement. The Carnegie Foundation has given St. Mary’s its prestigious Community Engagement Classification, and St. Mary’s has received the Presidential Award from the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition for service in higher education. St. Mary’s University is a Catholic and Marianist university with a tradition of academic excellence.