Center for Religion, Culture, and Civil Society


William F. Buckley Jr. brought conservative thought and ideals to a national audience. National Review Institute’s Center for Religion, Culture, and Civil Society furthers this mission by connecting various conservatives to followers across the country, putting a special focus on personal faith and how it positively influences society and culture. The Center does this by hosting private, invitation-only salons for NRI members, intellectuals, and opinion-leaders, and giving them the opportunity to discuss critical issues of importance with NRI Senior Fellow Kathryn Jean Lopez; hosting meetings that unite religious and conservative leaders, working together on specific issues involving an array of policy issues; and representing NRI at key conferences and gatherings. The purpose of the Center is in the tradition of Mr. Buckley’s life of faith, which enlivened his undertaking with a passionate commitment to virtue, to human life and dignity, and to liberty against any whisper of godlessness or tyranny that threatened these religious principles.

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Upcoming Events


Faith and Culture Leaders Series

National Review Institute’s Center for Religion, Culture, and Civil Society is pleased to offer virtual programming! Our Faith and Culture Leaders Series is part of NRI’s Virus-Free Forums and includes podcasts and special conference calls with innovative leaders in the faith community, hosted by Kathryn Jean Lopez.

LISTEN HERE
After quite the months, inn the latest “virus-free” conversation from NRI, Kathryn talks with Louis Brown, executive director of the Christ Medicus Foundation.


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Kathryn speaks with Gary Jansen author of  Station to Station: An Ignatian Journey through the Stations of the Cross. It is a meditative walk through the suffering of Christ in the Passion. Jansen, executive editor at Loyola Press, with longtime experience in religion publishing, is the latest conversant in this occasional “virus-free” offering with faith, culture, and civil-society leaders during these coronavirus times.


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Naomi Schaefer Riley is the latest guest on our virus-free forum series. Naomi has made herself a leading expert on child-welfare issues in recent years. She is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum. Among other things, she’s author of six books.


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This week Kathryn interviews Charlie Camosy who has been one of the most persistent and consistent voices calling attention to the dangers of rationing in these coronavirus times. Camosy, who is an associate professor of theological and social ethics at Fordham University, is author of Resisting Throwaway Culture: How a Consistent Life Ethic Can Unite a Fractured People and Beyond the Abortion Wars: A Way Forward for a New Generation.


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Kathryn talks with Sharen Ford, who has been working in child welfare for decades and currently runs the foster care and adoption programs at Focus on the Family. She talks about some of what it takes to be a foster parent, and the other roles we can play in helping children, especially older children, who are the hardest to place. This is National Foster Care Month, and it’s also a time when there’s a great danger that we are being culturally conditioned to be suspicious of other people.


LISTEN HERE
Can we welcome a child who needs a home into our home? Kelly and John Rosati have done that five times. Their family includes children with serious mental illness, so days are far from perfect, but there is love. Kathryn talks to Kelly about her experience as an adoptive mom and life in advocacy.


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Podcast #8 features a conversation with Luanne Zurlo. She’s the executive director of the Brilla Charter school network. Brilla and Seton Education Partners provide character education and opt-in religious education after school in buildings that were former Catholic schools. The schools are in the South Bronx, one of the poorest congressional districts in the country and the hottest of the hot spots for coronavirus. The teachers are not only about distance learning but about keeping tabs on how families are doing.


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Podcast #7 features a conversation with Sr. Magdalene Teresa and Sr. Mariae Agnus Dei from the Sisters of Life about their life and ministry. Listen to their conversation that includes honest sharing about life in these times.


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Podcast #6 features a conversation with two adoptive mothers, Lisa Wheeler and Elizabeth Kirk, about life in self-quarantine. Many people have been unexpectedly behind closed doors with their families for a month or longer now. That’s challenging for any child, for any marriage, and even more so if you have children who have experienced past trauma.


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On podcast #5 Kathryn interviews Jonathan Reyes, Senior Vice President for Evangelization and Faith Formation at the Knights of Columbus. Over the course of the conversation, they talk about practical family reality under quarantine, the videos, what the Gospel looks like under social distancing, and more.


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National Review Institute’s Virus Free Forums: Faith and Culture Leaders Series podcast #4 focuses on those on the frontlines of caring for the elderly during the COVID-19 crisis. Kathryn interviewed Sr. Constance made who talks about her experience with life behind the walls at the Little Sisters’ convent in Delaware.


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National Review Institute’s Virus Free Forums: Faith and Culture Leaders Series podcast #3 focuses on the importance of helping children who are in vulnerable situations due to the COVID-19 crisis. NRI Senior Fellow, Kathryn Lopez interviews Nathan Bult and Cheri Williams of Bethany Christian Services. Both have extensive experience in child protection and public policy and offer suggestions on how you can help.


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Kathryn Lopez and Fr. John Maria Devaney, a Dominican priest who ministers as a hospital chaplain in New York City, talk about what it’s like living in the epicenter of this crisis. A member of the Province of St. Joseph, USA, he is currently assigned to the Priory of St. Vincent Ferrer in New York City where he is a staff chaplain and ethicist for the Dominican Friars Health Care Ministry of New York. You can follow him on Instagram for a look into his experience on the frontlines in New York City. You can follow him on Instagram.


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This conversation, taped during a conference call, centers around Nicholson’s recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “A Coronavirus Great Awakening?” A former U.S. Marine and a 2012-13 Tikvah Fellow, Robert founded The Philos Project in 2014. His advocacy focuses on spreading the vision of a multi-ethnic and multi-religious Middle East based on freedom and rule of law.


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As we are living through this strange time, Kathryn interviewed Sr. Mary Catharine (Perry) of Jesus, O.P. for advice about how to deal with this Holy Week and Easter — a time when the thought of singing Alleluia on Saturday night and Sunday may seem such a foreign thought. Sr. Mary Catharine is a cloistered Dominican nun in Summit, N.J and recently wrote an op-ed with advice on “social distancing” and how not to lose your soul in all of this.



Past Events

November 24, 2020 | Virtual Event: What on earth do we have to be grateful for this year? with Kathryn Jean Lopez and Sisters of Life Sr. Magdalene Teresa and Sr. Mary Casey. 

November 13, 2020 | Virtual Event: Free to Foster Friday: Why Are Children in Philadelphia Without Homes? How Can We Do Better? with Lori Windham of Becket Law.

October 19, 2020 | Virtual Event: Hope for the Future: A Conversation on Holy Ground. Co-hosted by the National Shrine of the North American Martyrs and Birthplace of St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

September 22, 2020 | Virtual Event: Announcing the Gospel to the World: A Conversation on the Papacy and the Road to Renewal and Reform in the Church. Hosted in partnership with the Ignatius Press. WATCH HERE

August 27, 2020 | Virtual Event: The Conservative Case for Prioritizing Paid Family Leave. Co-hosted with The Clapham Group. WATCH HERE

July 22, 2020 | Virtual Event: Convicted by Mercy Co-hosted with the Sheen Center WATCH HERE

July 15, 2020 | Virtual Event: The Next Pope and the Future of the Church and the World with George Weigel WATCH HERE

July 1, 2020 | Virtual Event: What’s Next for America? Co-hosted by the Sheen Center. WATCH HERE

June 9, 2020| Virtual Event: Is This a Culture of Life or Death We’re Living In? Coronavirus Considerations. WATCH HERE

May 28, 2020 | Virtual Event: Foster Care: An Essential Call. Co-hosted by the Catholic Information Center. WATCH HERE

May 27, 2020 | Virtual Event: A Ride Through the Real Life of Foster Care and Adoption: A Conversation on the new Roadside Attractions Film The Ride. Co-hosted by The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture. Co-hosted by The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture and National Review Institute

May 6, 2020 | Virtual Event: Seeing Light in the Darkness — The Life of Prayer and Faith during Coronavirus Times A conversation with Father John Maria Devaney, O.P., a hospital chaplain from Dominican Healthcare Friars, and Kathryn Jean Lopez. Co-hosted by the Sheen Center. WATCH HERE

January 23, 2020 | Washington, D.C.: March for Life Luncheon featuring special guests NRI fellow, John McCormack and National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis. Hosted by Kathryn Lopez.

November 21, 2019 | Washington, D.C.: Christianity at the Border: Immigration Today Co-hosted with the Catholic Information Center WATCH HERE

November 14, 2019 | Washington, D.C.: A Conversation with Ivanka Trump and Ramesh Ponnuru on Paid Family Leave and Childcare. Introduction by Kathryn Lopez. Hosted at Google. WATCH HERE

November 13, 2019 | Washington, D.C.: Adopting a Culture of Life and Love: Protecting and Defending Vulnerable Children and Families Against the Cruelties of Indifference and Ideology WATCH HERE

November 8, 2019 | New York, NY: An Evening with Mary Eberstadt Presented by The Sheen Center and National Review Institute

November 4, 2019 | New York, NY: I Lived on Parker Avenue Presented by The Sheen Center, Human Life Review, and National Review Institute

October 11, 2019 | New York, NY: Alienated America by Tim Carney Presented by The Sheen Center and National Review Institute

October 7, 2019 | New York, NY: Virtue in America: Hope Presented by The Sheen Center and National Review Institute

June 16, 2019 | Shirlington, VA: NRI and the Charlotte Lozier Institute co-hosted a briefing on adoption and foster care.

March 27, 2019 | Washington, D.C.: NRI hosted a private convening on adoption and foster care with activists, writers, and policymakers.

February 27, 2019 | New York, NY: NRI hosted a luncheon on adoption and foster care with expert practitioners, writers, and policymakers.

January 17, 2019 | Washington, D.C.: NRI hosted a private discussion on adoption and foster care at the March for Life. Speakers included Dr. Grazie Christie, Malka Groden, and Naomi Schaefer Riley.

October 24, 2018 | Washington, D.C.: “J.J. Hanson’s Living Legacy: Renewing Our Will to Live and Love Until the End of Life” Panel discussion on the fight against the legalization of physician-assisted suicide co-hosted with The Heritage Foundation and the Patients Rights Action Fund

July 18, 2018 | Washington, D.C.: The Heritage Foundation and National Review Institute co-hosted a book event event featuring Mona Charen moderated by NRI Senior Fellow, Kathryn Jean Lopez on Mona’s new book Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense.

May 24, 2018 | Washington, D.C.: National Review Institute hosted a forum on foster care in D.C. titled, “Fostering Hope: Exploring Faith-Based Solutions to Foster-Care Needs.” At this event we assembled leaders in faith, policy, and government communities to raise awareness, identify key challenges, establish new relationships, and highlight resources and solutions. This was the beginning of a conversation to encourage the faith community to find the most effective way to help children in need. View photos, videos and additional information here.

January 18, 2018 | Washington, D.C.: National Review Institute hosted a working lunch on the “State of the Pro-Life Movement” in conjunction with the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Kathryn Jean Lopez lead a discussion with NRI Senior Fellow Kevin D. Williamson about the state of the pro-life movement and the importance of making adoption and foster care heightened priorities.

September 22, 2017: National Review Institute and The Heritage Foundation co-hosted a conversation with Mark Regnerus, Author of Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy with NRI Senior Fellow Kathryn Jean Lopez. Watch the discussion here.

September 14, 2017: National Review Institute and the Catholic Information Center co-hosted a conversation on marriage moderated by NRI Fellow Kathryn Jean Lopez. Speakers Mary Rose and Ryan Verret spoke about their innovative approach to marriage prep. Watch the discussion here.

May 22, 2017: National Review Institute and the Catholic Information Center co-hosted NRI fellow Kathryn Jean Lopez for the third of a three-part panel discussion series on adoption. The third panel was focused on adoption and the foster care system. Watch the discussion here.

May 15, 2017: National Review Institute and the Catholic Information Center co-hosted NRI Fellow Kathryn Jean Lopez for the second of a three-part panel discussion series on adoption. The second panel was focused on celebrating birth mothers and adoptive families. Watch the discussion here.

May 8, 2017: National Review Institute and the Catholic Information Center co-hosted NRI Fellow Kathryn Jean Lopez for the first of a three-part panel discussion series on adoption. The first panel was focused on the factors associated with choosing to adopt. Watch the discussion here.

March 16, 2017: “Is Doctor-Prescribed Suicide Ever the Answer?” featuring Ryan T. Anderson, Kathleen Buckley Domingo, Sr. Constance Veit, and moderated by Kathryn Jean Lopez. Info and podcast here

February 27, 2017: “Physician-Assisted Suicide: Stories From the Frontline of the ‘Always Care, Never Kill’ Debate” expert panel explored the ramifications of the spread of legalized physician assisted suicide, hosted by Ryan T. Anderson and Kathryn Jean Lopez. Info and video here

January 2017: Conversation between NRI Fellows David French and Kathryn Jean Lopez featuring a roundtable of adoption experts.

Making Citizens Great Again: Today Americans are asking themselves what it means to be truly engaged in politics. This three-part series, co-sponsored by National Review Institute and the Catholic Information Center, explored what it means to renew politics and develop a virtuous citizenry.

September 12, 2016: “Making Citizens Great Again (Part 1), Educating for Virtue: Forming the Next Generation of Virtuous Citizens.” NRI Senior Fellow Kathryn Jean Lopez moderated a panel featuring John Garvey and Stephen D. Minnis.

September 19, 2016: “Making Citizens Great Again (Part 2), Creating Public Space for Virtue: Religious Liberty at the Heart of a Pluralistic Society.” Kevin J. “Seamus” Hasson delivered the keynote, followed by a panel featuring Sr. Constance Veit and Thomas Farr, moderated by NRI Senior Fellow Kathryn Jean Lopez.

September 26, 2016: “Making Citizens Great Again (Part 3), Leading with Virtue: Essentials for Virtuous Statesmanship.” NRI senior fellow Kathryn Jean Lopez moderated a panel featuring Chad Pecknold and Stephen P. White.

June 28, 2016: It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies book discussion, co-hosted with The Heritage Foundation and featuring Kathryn Jean Lopez, Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., and author Mary Eberstadt. Info and video here.

May 11, 2016: “Next Steps for Addressing ISIS Genocide,” co-hosted with The Heritage Foundation. Info and video here.

March 15, 2016: A conversation on women and flourishing featuring Heather Higgins, Jennifer Marshall, and Kathryn Jean Lopez

January 20, 2016: Former Texas Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson and Kathryn Jean Lopez on radical mercy in Washington, D.C., convening national leaders just before the March for Life.

December 3, 2015: “Christian Martyrs Today: Help for the Persecuted,” co-hosted with The Heritage Foundation. Info and video here.

October 29, 2015: “Beyond Planned Parenthood – Alternatives for Women,” co-hosted with The Heritage Foundation. Info and video here.

October 26, 2015: Archbishop William E. Lori and Kathryn Jean Lopez on Pope Francis’s recent historic visit to the United States and his discussion of marriage, family, and religious liberty in America.

September 22, 2015: Helen Alvaré and Kathryn Jean Lopez on the future of marriage and family, the Humanum approach, Pope Francis’s visit and how it might work to renew family life and our public conversations about it in the United States.

September 17, 2015: “Papal Visit Discussion on Marriage and Family,” co-hosted with The Heritage Foundation, featuring Ryan T. Anderson, C.C. Pecknold, and Roger Severino.

August 27, 2015: Austen Ivereigh (author of The Great Reformer) and Francis X. Maier on Pope Francis in America.

July 15, 2015: Robert P. George and Kirsten Powers (author of The Silencing) on free speech and religious liberty in NYC.

May 2, 2015: Conversation with Bill Mumma (Becket Fund for Religious Liberty) and Eric Metaxas and “Moral Foundations of a Free Society” panel at the NRI 2015 Ideas Summit.

March 30, 2015: “Living Life to Its Fullest: Supporting the Sick and Elderly in their Most Vulnerable Hours,” co-hosted with The Heritage Foundation. Info and video here.

February 3, 2015: New York City Salon featuring Eric Metaxas, Sean Fieler, and Mona Charen.

January 20, 2015: “Welcoming Every Life: Choosing Life after an Unexpected Prenatal Diagnosis,” featuring a keynote address from Carly Fiorina, co-hosted with The Heritage Foundation. Info and video here.

September 30, 2014: “Strengthening Society: What Progress on Life Can Teach Us for Challenges Facing the Family,” co-hosted with The Heritage Foundation. Info and video here.