Catholic Character

Ensure that our Catholic character informs all our endeavors

Goal I: Ensure that our Catholic character informs all our endeavors


Universities first arose in the soil of the Catholic culture of 13th-century Europe, and have existed continuously since. Notre Dame stands within and carries on that tradition.

As a Catholic university in the Holy Cross tradition, Notre Dame strives to combine a living faith that is seeking understanding with an uncompromising commitment to the search for truth through teaching and inquiry. It believes commitments to faith and reason are not only compatible, but even complementary. As Pope John Paul II wrote: “Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the other into a wider world in which both can flourish.”

Our Catholic mission gives us a rich understanding of education that demands attention to the development of the whole person—“the cultivation of the heart as well as the mind,” as our founder, Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C., put it. Thus we strive to build a community that inspires the pursuit of truth and teaches respect, love, and service so that our learning serves the Church and the world, particularly for those who are most in need.

Enhancement Areas

  • Kroc Institute for International Studies professor Rashied Omar in South Africa with Archbishop Desmond Tutu

    World-Wide Dialogue

    Convene and lead world-wide dialogue that serves the Church and is relevant to the Catholic intellectual tradition

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Enduring Commitments

Crucifix in Moreau Seminary Chapel

The Catholic intellectual and moral tradition does not merely add an element to our mission; it informs all we do, serving as the underlying foundation for our aspirations as a community of scholars and administrators and shaping the spirit with which we engage each other and the world. It is also the University’s point of greatest distinction from the academies of many other fine research institutions.

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Scholarship and Teaching

Formation and Service