Georgetown often touts its commitment to its Catholic and Jesuit identity through rhetoric relating to everything from Alternative Spring Break to philosophy courses. The university displayed its commitment to its roots in a more tangible sense, however, by becoming the first location in the United States to host the Courtyard of the Gentiles, an international conference sponsored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture to facilitate dialogue between Christians and non-Christians.
The university has laudably assumed a longtime role as a facilitator of dialogue between members of different faiths in Georgetown’s diverse student body. Given the university’s contemplative nature, inspired by Jesuit tradition, it is not surprising that a conference such as the Courtyard of the Gentiles took place on the Hilltop. Our community should be proud that Georgetown’s reputation has invited this forum for influential members of the Catholic Church to engage in debate and conversation.
It was exciting to see Georgetown’s administration, faculty and students come together to talk about how Catholic theology relates to modern life. We are encouraged to see the university discussing how subjects like the arts, sciences, technology and modern society apply to Georgetown’s spiritual composition. In the same vein as the conversations initiated last week, Georgetown should continue to discuss the hard-hitting questions in Catholicism today. Even if our daily campus conversations aren’t endorsed by a Pontifical Council, they are still worth having.
Pairing religion with the non-religious reinforces Georgetown’s dedication to facilitating dialogue where it is most needed. Even without the direct support of the Vatican, Georgetown would do well to continue this commitment in an equally visible form.