Catholic Defense League Annual Dinner
Keynote Speaker — William Saunders
William Saunders is Co-Director for the newly created Center for Religious Liberty at The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law. Saunders will speak on a Catholic approach to religious liberty as a fundamental human right for all persons. He will provide insight on how preservation of religious freedom is a concern for all Americans, not just for religiously affiliated institutions.
Catholic Defender of the Year — Deborah Savage
Deborah Savage, is theology and philosophy professor at St. Paul Seminary, co-founder of Siena Symposium for Women, at St. Thomas, and created Argument Club for Women. Catholic education in our increasingly secular society is critical. Dr Savage is a leader in providing accessible alternatives in Catholic formation. They are unique resources for generating future defenders of the Faith.
A recent initiative related to religious freedom is the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law’s new Center for Religious Liberty. It was launched in May of this year thanks to a grant from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
The Becket Fund also provided legal representation in the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Burwell case. (The “HHS Mandate” case.) This is the case for which CDL provided an Amicus Brief on behalf of Little Sisters.
The Becket Fund’s President is Mark Rienzi. He is a Law Professor at CUA. He is now also Director of CUA’s Center for Religious Liberty. William L. Saunders Jr. is Co-Director for the Center for Religious iberty and Law Fellow at the Institute for Human Ecology.
Choosing William L. Saunders Jr as Keynote
William Saunders was mentioned in an April 30, 2018 article, “Law schools are right to prioritize religious freedom” by Andrea Picciotti-Bayer (https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/law-schools-are-right-to-prioritize-religious-freedom)
Picciotti-Bayer wrote that having two “well-regarded” law schools dedicate resources in defense of religious freedom “reflects an important commitment among those shaping the legal profession.”
From CDL’s perspective, this “important commitment” also demonstrates leadership in the defense of religious freedom.
What is significant about CUA’s Center was their description of the Center as being dedicated to “the study and articulation of the Catholic approach to religious liberty as a fundamental human right for all persons, regardless of faith.”
Understanding what is specific about a “Catholic approach to religious liberty” could go a long way toward engaging Catholics to defend the Faith and religious freedom. The nonsectarian quality of “for all persons, regardless of faith” would be a real asset for defending religious freedom in an increasingly secular society.
Choosing CDL’s Annual Dinner Keynote Speaker based on these recent initiatives would highlight growing awareness in one font of future defenders of the Faith and religious freedom–the legal profession. It would reflect current developments. It would also help raise awareness of the relevance of religious freedom.
William Saunders Bio
In addition to being Co-Director for the Center for Religious Liberty, Mr. Saunders is also Director of the Program in Human Rights, Institute for Human Ecology. He is also Of Counsel, Americans United for Life; Chair of Religious Liberties Group of Federalist Society; and President of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. His expertise is in Bioethics, Religious Liberty, and Human Rights.
Mr. Saunders is a graduate of the Harvard Law School. He has been involved in issues of public policy, law, and ethics for thirty years. A regular columnist for the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Mr. Saunders has written widely on these topics, as well as on Catholic social teaching. He has given lectures in law schools and colleges throughout the United States and the world. He is the Director of the Program in Human Rights for the Institute for Human Ecology.
Choosing Dr. Deborah Savage as Catholic Defender of the Year
Recognizing Dr. Deborah Savage as Catholic Defender of the Year highlights another font of future defenders of the Faith and religious freedom–Catholic formation. Although every parish has Catholic formation as part of its mission, most Catholics have only a basic Catholic education. The cost of Catholic high schools and colleges is often a barrier. Both exist in an increasingly secular society. Taken together, these conditions make alternatives in Catholic formation critically important.
Dr. Savage’s efforts with the Sienna Symposium and Argument Club for Women are examples of challenging, yet accessible alternatives in Catholic formation. They are unique resources for generating future defenders of the Faith.
From CDL’s perspective, Dr. Savage’s efforts also demonstrate the kind of leadership we recognize in a Catholic Defender of the year.
Deborah Savage Bio
Dr. Savage is a member of the faculty at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota where she teaches philosophy and theology and also serves as the Director of the Masters in Pastoral Ministry Program.
Dr. Savage is a student of St. Thomas Aquinas with a particular interest in investigating his thought in light of contemporary questions. She is also a recognized scholar of the work of Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II and has written and presented or published several papers on his philosophical anthropology.
Dr. Savage is the co-founder and director of the Siena Symposium for Women, Family, and Culture, an interdisciplinary think tank at St Thomas.