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 challenging subjects within the Church, especially those related to Catholic Social Teaching.

Non-public Schools Advocacy Day

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 and to challenge ideas about polarization. Topics for dialogue may include:

  • Speaking up for Human Life and Dignity
  • Catholic Perspectives on Immigration
  • Racial Justice and the Catholic Church
  • Living in a Post-Roe Society
  • Violence in our Communities
Regional Encuentro

Each dialogue begins with the sharing of catechetical resources to explain Church teaching on the general topic. We also encourage adult facilitators to share their experience and help set the stage for a dialogue. For sample resources on the topic of Human Life and Dignity, click here.

The Catholic Civil Dialogue Initiative

During each civil dialogue, trained facilitators encourage youth to talk about their own thoughts and ideas about how we can build up Church communities that encourage dialogues across differences, celebrate diversity, and promote social action around a variety of life issues and social concerns. Each conversation concludes by offering resources and conversation on how we can learn more about our faith, build understanding, and foster positive change in our communities.

To see one of our sample dialogues, click here.


Catholic Civil Dialogue Certificate Program:

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

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

For more information on civil dialogue for youth participants, click here.

All facilitators for local, diocesan, or national dialogues must be trained through the Catholic Civil Dialogue Initiative. You can register for facilitator training here or by contacting Kathryn Yanik at [email protected].


Catholic Civil Dialogue Initiative Training:

Civil Dialogue requires structured conversations around a topic, with curious questions and proper facilitation. Therefore, we require all facilitators to attend a training on how to use our scripts and facilitate a civil dialogue. 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 participating in the larger initiative goals, including the youth certificate program. Please contact us for more information, or register for training here.

In the future, we also hope to offer a training for facilitators of adult civil dialogues.

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