Approved by:

The President



            -- October 17, 2007



Last Reviewed --

Related Policies:

Additional References:

Responsible Official:

University Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry tel. (202) 319-5575


I. Introduction


The Catholic University of America is the national university of the Catholic Church in the United States. While that identification with the Catholic Church officially defines the institution as well as the community that constitutes it, the University also affirms without hesitation that women and men of all religious traditions are welcomed and embraced in that community. A person's religious preference or lack thereof is not in any way considered a factor in the admission process of The Catholic University of America. Everyone at The Catholic University of America is expected to respect women and men of other faiths and those who have no religious preference. The Catholic Church recognizes the good in other religious traditions and believes that the Catholic Church has been entrusted with the fullness of faith and represents in the closest manner the authentic teaching of Jesus Christ as handed down to us from the Apostles. Rooted in genuine respect for other faith traditions there is no institutional effort to proselytize anyone who does not share the Catholic faith and it is the University's policy not to permit other faiths to proselytize on campus. At the same time, the witness of the everyday lives of the Catholics who live, teach and work at the University is the primary way that women and men of other faiths may, at some point, seek to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

II. Policy


1. "Religious Preference" is listed on the University's application for admission only to enable the University to serve the spiritual needs of our students. Students are given the opportunity to identify their religious preference for the following reasons:

  • When individual emails or notifications are sent out regarding events like the celebration of the sacraments (for example Residence Hall confessions) the University seeks to respect religious preference by sending the notifications to non-Catholics only upon request. All students are free to add themselves to the Campus Ministry listserv should they wish to do so.
  • Student designation of a religious preference enables the University to better understand
    the faith-based demographics of our campus and the spiritual needs of its students. Such information helps prepare and implement the University's pastoral plan.

2. With the exception of the reception of the sacraments (confession, the reception of Communion, etc.) all students, faculty and staff --- regardless of their religious preference --- are encouraged to participate in the spiritual life of the campus. This includes the celebration of the Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, retreats and any or all other Campus Ministry events.

  • It is the University's policy to follow the Guidelines for the Reception of the Eucharist issued by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops on campus.
  • The religious preference of the University's students is not considered when students are chosen for leadership positions on campus with the exception of our student ministry program whose primary task is to bring our Catholic students closer to Christ and the Church and serve as advocates for all of our students regardless of their religious affiliation.

3. The following are guidelines for the religious practice of women and men of other faiths on Campus:

  • Because of the demographics of the undergraduate student population (88% Catholic) and limited institutional resources, The Catholic University of America does not institutionally sponsor campus organizations affiliated with other religious denominations or those designated as religious but "non-denominational."
  • The Catholic University of America wholeheartedly encourages its students who do not share the Catholic faith to regularly practice their own faith traditions with others who share their beliefs. The Catholic University of America makes every effort to help its non-Catholic students connect with their own faith communities off campus who share their religious practices, worship, customs and traditions and where they feel at home. To this end the Campus Ministry Office regularly solicits information from other faith communities and makes this information available to students who might desire to participate in area churches, synagogues or mosques. The Campus Ministry link on the University website is regularly updated with this information.
  • The Catholic University of America does not offer designated space for the regular and/or continuous worship or meetings of other religious communities on campus which are not connected in some way with the practice of the Catholic Faith. The University itself, may, on occasion, sponsor services which are designed to be ecumenical in nature as an expression of Catholic ecumenical outreach.
  • Groups not affiliated with the University who rent space for conferences on campus may be permitted to worship on campus on a case-by-case basis. Please see the University's policy regarding the use of our University chapels for clarification.

Mutual respect is now and must always be the basis which guides all relationships on campus, including those concerning the practice of the Catholic faith. Clear expectations of what the University community can and cannot do or offer also makes it much easier to establish, maintain and support these types of very important relationships. Mutual respect presumes, with respect to students and other members of the University's community, that, even if they do not share the Catholic faith, they will comply with the University's policies and practices.