John Carr is the Washington correspondent for America and will offer regular analysis and commentary on key issues and events in the nation’s capital in a re-established Washington Front column.
Carr is a long-time leader at the intersection of faith and public life in Washington. He currently serves as director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University. For more than two decades, he served as director of the U.S. Catholic Bishops Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development. In that role, Carr assisted the bishops in sharing, applying and advocating Catholic social teaching on a broad range of national and international issues. He helped build the Catholic community’s capacity to defend human life and dignity and pursue justice and peace. He staffed the bishops in developing several statements, including Communities of Salt and Light, Everyday Christianity and Faithful Citizenship. He represented the U.S. Bishops’ Conference at the Vatican and in the Middle East, Central America, Southern Africa, Southeast Asia and Russia. He was the original convener of the Circle of Protection, an ecumenical coalition defending the poor and vulnerable in debates over US budget priorities.
Carr retired from the USCCB last year to accept a Residential Fellowship on “religion and politics” at the Institute of Politics of Harvard University. He is currently working with a group of Catholic leaders to develop a new initiative to educate and encourage a new generation of Catholic lay leaders in carrying out their vocation to be “salt, light and leaven” in public life. This effort seeks to encourage Catholic lay men and women in bringing the fullness of Catholic social thought into public life in more affirmative, consistent and effective ways.
Before his time at the USCCB, John served Cardinal Hickey’s Secretary of Social Concerns in the Archdiocese of Washington, as Education Director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and as Legislative Coordinator for the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis.
Outside the Catholic Church, John served as executive director of the White House Conference on Families under President Jimmy Carter and as director of the National Committee for Full Employment, a civil rights-labor–religious coalition led by Coretta Scott King.
He currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Bread for the World and on the Board of the Law School of the University of St. Thomas. John received the “Vision Award” from Catholic Charities USA, the John A. Ryan Award from St. Thomas, the George Higgins Award from the Archdiocese of Washington and was named a “Hunger Hero” by Bread for the World.
John is a graduate of St. John Vianney Seminary and the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. John and his wife, Linda, have four children and two grandchildren.