Professor J. Joel Alicea, who co-directs the program, said in the lecture’s opening statement that the school believes the Catholic intellectual tradition “can help us better think through the challenges of our day.”
Alicea, who clerked for Justice Alito in 2016, introduced the justice as the honorary chair of the project’s advisory board to the reception of thundering applause.
The justice then gave remarks outlining how CUA’s project will consider how the Catholic faith relates to law but did not address the overturning of Roe or other controversial opinions from the summer.
When asked by a student how his personal faith affected his professional life, Alito pointed to how formative Catholicism is in shaping how a person treats other human beings.
“Among other things, [faith] shapes how a person regards other people and treats other people,” Alito responded.
“Judges affect people — indirectly, but sometimes very powerfully, through their decisions,” he continued. “It’s important to keep in mind that these decisions are not just abstract discussions. They have a real impact in the world and you have to keep that in mind.”
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