Catholic Civil Dialogue Initiative

The Catholic Civil Dialogue Initiative

The Catholic Civil Dialogue Initiative is a collaboration between the Archdiocese of Washington, the Archdiocese of Newark, the Archdiocese of Mobile, the Diocese of Scranton, and the McGrath Institute at the University of Notre Dame. This initiative provides a safe space for youth to discuss Catholic Social Teaching and share their perspectives on relevant topics.

Non-public Schools Advocacy Day

Catholic Civil Dialogue Initiative

Our program is built around the consistent life ethic and encourages youth to engage in dialogues on a broad range of issues. Youth are encouraged to participate in multiple dialogues to learn about different topics across the spectrum of a consistent life ethic. Topics for dialogue may include:

  • Speaking up for Human Life and Dignity
  • Catholic Perspectives on Immigration
  • Racial Justice and the Catholic Church
  • Violence in our Communities

Each dialogue begins with the sharing of catechetical resources to explore Church teaching on the general topic. We also encourage adult facilitators to share their experience and help set the stage for dialogue.

During each dialogue, trained facilitators encourage youth to share their thoughts on a particular issue and listen with genuine curiosity to their peers. Each participant is given the time and space to stop and consider their own values, beliefs, and ideas. It is only in knowing where we are that there is potential for journeying closer to God. We are all on a journey to know and love God (and our neighbor) more. This is not a space for lecturing others or asking for the “right” answer. It is a space for understanding and listening. Above all, these dialogues are a space of accompaniment. Through participation, participants and facilitators learn to build up a truly catholic Church community of support and understanding.

View sample resources on the topic of Human Life and Dignity →

See a sample dialogue →

The Catholic Civil Dialogue Initiative


Catholic Civil Dialogue Certificate Program

Youth who choose to participate in three dialogues will receive a Certificate of Completion. These dialogues may include:

  • Dialogues hosted in a Catholic school or youth group, at a local or diocesan level
  • National Zoom dialogues hosted by the Catholic Civil Dialogue Initiative
  • National civil dialogues at the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) or another program sponsored by the Catholic Civil Dialogue Initiative


Catholic Civil Dialogue Initiative Facilitator Training

Civil dialogue is structured conversation around a topic with curious questions and proper facilitation. Therefore, we require that all facilitators attend a training. Facilitators must use the pre-written scripts for quality assurance purposes. However, we welcome constructive feedback and collaboration as the program develops. Facilitators should attend one of the scheduled trainings or contact a member of our team for an in-person training opportunity. Facilitators should also commit to recruiting participants and hosting at least two civil dialogues in their parish, school, or community. Register for facilitator training here or contact us for more information.

If you are interested in participating in or facilitating a civil dialogue or have any questions, please contact Kathryn Yanik, Director of Life Issues, at [email protected]