By creating a forum for the deliberate discourse on the great institutions of our culture, and the place of Catholic Christianity in the development of these institutions, the Cultural Forum situates Catholic scholarship at the frontier of the question concerning culture. It fosters dialog among the Church, the academy, and the public square as a means of renewing culture as called for by Pope John Paul II.
While a rich legal tradition has shaped the political and historical development not only of the Greco-Roman world, but also Britain and the United States, it has been monastic communities, and not only Western ones, that have preserved the great ideas and texts of our past, giving us a vision of the integral unity of scholarship and spiritual life. With respect to both law and monastic life, the Cultural Forum seeks to bring to light both the theoretical and practical questions that inform these institutions.
Law & Culture Forum
Academic Chair, John Breen, Loyola University Chicago School of Law
The mission of The Lumen Christi Institute Law and Culture Forum is to engage in a rigorous fashion the Catholic intellectual tradition as it relates to contemporary questions of law and justice, to encourage this engagement in the legal profession, to heighten the public debate on the role of law in shaping our public culture, and to foster a knowledge of this reflection on the law among future law scholars. The Colloquium helps lawyers explore their twin vocations as legal professionals and as Christians. The Institute has co-sponsored the Annual Conference on Christian Legal Theory and in June 2009 has planned two major Law and Culture Forum events downtown. These events are making the richness of Catholic thought available to many members of the law profession and the wider community. Forum events are often co-sponsored by the Catholic Lawyers Guild and the Christian Law Association at the University of Chicago Law School.
Program in Monastic Studies
Monastic communities have occupied a distinct and important place in history, but these institutions remain poorly known and understood in academia today, let alone among the broader public. The Lumen Christi Institute’s Program in Monastic Studies seeks to foster a deeper understanding of the monastic intellectual tradition, to promote renewal within contemporary monastic communities, and to help make the rich resources of monasticism available to scholars and theologians of the Church.
In addition to academic conferences, the Monastic Studies Program offers events of a pastoral nature, which facilitate the appropriation of monastic insights in scholarly and pastoral work. Programs for priests, religious, and laity support the restoration of spiritual life through the prayerful search for communion with God. Retreats organized by the program enable reflection and study in a monastic setting, while sacred study groups introduce lectio divina and other forms of contemplative reading to students and others interested in the monastic way of life.
The Carmelite and Ignatian orders–represented by figures such as St. Theresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Ignatius of Loyola, and St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross–are traditions of special importance to the Institute. Through the Program in Monastic Studies, the Institute has welcomed to the University Chicago numerous international figures, such as the Most Reverend Jean Benjamin Sleiman, Latin Archbishop of Baghdad, and the Most Reverend Anders Arborelius, Bishop of Stockholm, both Carmelites. The program is in collaboration with the Province of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of the Discalced Carmelite Friars in Wisconsin and the Edith Stein House of Studies in Hyde Park.