The Catholic University of America

Welcome to IPR

The Institute for Policy Research at The Catholic University of America is a community of scholars and researchers engaged in the analysis of public policy issues related to Catholic social thought. The interests we serve are broad and are reflected in our motto: ecclesia, patria, mundi -- Church, nation, world. 




Announcing:  IPR Fellow Marc Sebrechts Named Division Director of the National Science Foundation

Dr. Marc Sebrechts, Chair of the Catholic University Department of Psychology for over two decades, has been appointed as Division Director, Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences at the National Science Foundation, effective August 20, 2018. As Director of the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, Dr. Sebrechts will provide leadership and direction to the Division, which is responsible for funding research that develops and advances scientific knowledge about the brain, human cognition, language, social behavior, and culture including research on the interactions between human societies and their environments.

Read More


Announcing:  State Department Nomination

for IPR Director Robert Destro

IPR Director Robert Destro has been nominated by President Donald J. Trump to serve

as the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

Senate confirmation hearings are expected to be held in August.




IPR partners with AFJN: 

35 Years of Advocacy, inspired by the Gospel and informed by Catholic Social Teaching.

View their video that tells who they are and what they do here.

Read their latest office report for June, 2018:   /docs/Office%20Report%20June%202018.pdf




A Recent Article in the Washington Post 

by IPR Visiting Fellow Chen Guangcheng

China is finally ending
the one-child policy. It can’t
happen soon enough.



Coming Up in June:  A New Book by IPR Fellow Andrew Yeo, and Danielle Chubb

North Korean Human Rights: Activists and Networks

Advance Praise: 

"The more closed and repressive a regime, the more difficult to form effective transnational human rights coalitions.  North Korea is undoubtedly among the toughest cases. But this outstanding collection shows the ingenuity of those perspicacious individuals and groups that have pushed the North Korean human rights agenda. With interesting theory....this book is indispensable not only for those working on North Korea, but for the human rights community more generally."                   

                             Stephen Haggard, Krause Distinguished Professor, University of California, San Diego

 Learn More about the book

The Redemption and Restoration Conference was a great success!

A Catholic Perspective on Restorative Justice


This dialogue on transforming the criminal justice system into one of restoration and healing was sponsored by The Catholic University of America, Catholic Mobilizing Network, Justice Peace and Human Development/USCCB and Liturgical Press.

Speaker and IPR Fellow Dr. Linda Plitt-Donaldson tweeted this under the hashtag #redeemrestore: 

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Why do we lead the world in incarceration? Because of our hyper-individualism & that we as a nation have not taken account of the social sins of racism, lack of health care, lack of housing, etc. & economic incentives for incarceration."

You can go to Twitter and see additional commentary from the conference at Catholic Mobilizing@CMNEndtheDP; and #redeemrestore.


Renewing Democracy in Young America by IPR Fellow James Youniss

& co-author Daniel Hart  

In our view--shared with many other political observers and scholars--the future of liberal democracy is at genuine risk.  Recent polling suggests that American confidence in a variety of democratic institutions has declined sharply.  Youth, if provided with real opportunity,  can help us restore public trust in democracy and draw our communities together.  For example, my colleagues find in our current research that while older adults withdraw from community life in ethnically diverse communities, young people are energized.  Young people will lead the way in this country in drawing strength rather than division from diversity.    Daniel Hart 



·         Argues that citizenship is a long-term psychological identity and that it's critical for youth to participate as citizens during the time of their identity formation
·         Proposes that 16- and 17-year-olds be able to vote in municipal elections and suggests that schools create science-based, community-oriented environmental engagement programs
·         Provides concrete examples of how long-term commitment to civic duties can be cultivated in youth through hands-on experiences
·         Considers how a generation arrives at its distinctive orientations toward society and politics with a look at Millennials specifically
·         Examines how educational opportunity leads to unexpected achievement, and how economic-educational opportunity leads to citizenship            

Read two recent blog posts by authors James Youniss and Daniel Hart on Parkland and Teen Voting in Psychology Today.



Announcing:  Under Caesar's Sword:  How Christians Respond to Persecution  

          LEARN MORE

This book, with research from Iraq by Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love, is written for anyone concerned about the persecution of Christians or more generally about the human right of religious freedom, including scholars, activists, political and religious leaders, and those who work for international organizations.

  • Brings attention to the underreported plight of persecuted Christians
  • Includes details of persecution in twenty-four countries
  • Will help activists and officials respond more effectively to persecution


Coming Up in September:  A New Book

The Priestly Blessing: Rediscovering the Gift

by Monsignor Stephen J. Rossetti


  Monsignor Rossetti, bestselling author and leading expert on the Catholic priesthood, forges a renewed theology of priestly blessing, encouraging his brother priests to embrace the habit of blessing people, objects, and events. He shows how the blessing is integral to the identity of priests and crucial to the spiritual wellbeing of the faithful.

Rossetti fears that many priests shy away from blessing people and objects because of a lack of awareness of the rich tradition of Church blessings and a deficit in training for this important pastoral practice. In The Priestly Blessing, Rossetti urges priests to boldly and frequently embrace this ancient practice because of their unique calling. Rossetti traces the history of blessing in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

He also explores the various types of blessing, such as praise of God, the invocation of special benefit from God, and being consecrated to God. The Priestly Blessing also helps priests reflect on what saints and mystics have taught about blessing as a vital activity of the Church, and outlines connections between Catholic sacramental theology, the practice of priestly blessing, and the Catholic understanding of creation that helps make sense of priests blessing objects and animals.


 Learn More



 International Program Associates

The Catholic University of America’s (CUA) Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies (IPR) is offering international social development experiences to CUA graduating undergraduates, masters and doctoral students. International Program Associates (IPA) provides a unique opportunities (social, economic, legal, and other) to gain professional international social development experience by spending 10-weeks during the summer working for an international NGOs.

For more information about IPA, please visit the IPA website