In 1996, the Catholic Common Ground Initiative was founded in an effort to lessen polarities and divisions that weaken the communion of the church. At the origin of the Initiative, the National Pastoral Life Center released a charter statement, “Called to Be Catholic: Church in a Time of Peril,” proposing guidelines for dialogue within the church.
The Initiative begun more than twenty years ago by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin continues today. The Catholic Common Ground Initiative is committed not only to facilitating dialogue but also to exemplifying a process of communication that values varying perspectives and works to foster faith and understanding.
Through lectures, conferences, and programs in Catholic parishes, schools, and organizations, the Catholic Common Ground Initiative continues to promote dialogue within the church on a variety of theological and social issues, including the changing roles of women, human sexuality, healthcare reform, and immigration—challenges facing not just the American Catholic Church but the United States as a whole.
In the Spring of 2009, the Initiative created a new strategic plan, “A Living Witness.” The Initiative moved to The Bernardin Center for Theology and Ministry at Catholic Theological Union in November of 2009.
The Catholic Common Ground Initiative, inspired by the call to be one in Christ, invites Catholics with differing views about critical issues in the church to engage in prayerful dialogue for the sake of building up the communion of the church.