“There are no universities that have done what Notre Dame aspires to do: to become a preeminent research University, to offer an unsurpassed undergraduate program, and to infuse both with a religious and moral framework that imbues knowledge with the power to benefit human beings.”
—Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president
The Catholic intellectual and moral traditions provide the underlying foundation for our aspirations as a community of scholars and administrators and shape the spirit with which we engage each other and the world. They are also the University’s point of greatest distinction from the academies of many other fine research institutions.
Notre Dame believes commitments to faith and reason are not only compatible, but even complementary and mutually beneficial. 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.”
In this way, Notre Dame’s Catholic character informs all it does. We pursue discoveries both because of the scholarly and scientific achievement they represent, and because of the potential these breakthroughs have for a world deeply in need. Our charter as a university calls us to pursue the former; our calling as a community rooted in faith compels us to find the latter. We pursue both with equal rigor.
Our nature as a Catholic university moreover gives us cause to embody two important characteristics: a spirit of inclusion and welcoming of people from all faith traditions, or no faith tradition; and an earnest desire to serve the local and global community. Our diversity as a campus community is an essential precursor to mutual learning and understanding, and service provides needed perspective and significance to all facets of life and helps cultivate a spirit of connection to each other. Both are important contributions to a holistic educational experience.
The Catholic nature of Notre Dame is visibly evident in a variety of ways on campus. The 43 Holy Cross priests in residence provide a steadfast spiritual presence that extends to the residence halls, classrooms, and the quads. More than 100 Masses are celebrated each week on campus at more than 50 on-campus chapels. And more than 80 percent of Notre Dame students participate in some form of service learning, even while they study abroad. Our faith is not just a characteristic present at our founding and then slowly relegated to the past. It is an inextricable part of Notre Dame's identity today and will continue to be in the future.