Part of that strengthening, according to Today’s Catholic, included Kilpatrick’s efforts to help implement “a program of daily Eucharistic celebrations and faith sharing” at the engineering college’s Holy Cross Chapel.
Kilpatrick and his wife, Nancy, have four children and three grandchildren.
Views on life, Catholic universities
In 2013, Kilpatrick was awarded Notre Dame’s Magister Vitae Award, which, according to university archives, is an award “granted by Notre Dame Right to Life to an outstanding faculty member at the [university] whose teaching, scholarship, and life exemplify what it means to build a culture of life at Notre Dame and in the world.”
Notre Dame Right to Life is the university’s student-run pro-life club.
At a 2011 summer workshop at Notre Dame on the “Ethical, Philosophical, Legal & Theological Dimensions of Adult & Alternative Stem Cell Research,” Kilpatrick gave a keynote address in which he explored the purpose of a Catholic university and the beginnings of life.
In his address, “Ethical Life Science Research in a Catholic University,” Kilpatrick extensively cited Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, in which the pope said that a Catholic University should be “born from the heart of the Church.”
A Catholic university should be an “incomparable center of creativity and dissemination of knowledge for the good of humanity,” Kilpatrick said, still citing the late pope, while adding that “it is also the honor and responsibility of a Catholic university to consecrate itself without reserve to the cause of truth.”
Speaking of truth later in the same speech, Kilpatrick said: “There was a time when we would take for granted that truth was being and that being was truth. But that's no longer the case. Modern man really doesn't believe that anymore. Modern man believes that truth is what you can make of it. Truth is actually what we can create, rather than being.”
Kilpatrick, again citing Pope John Paul II’s constitution, said that the task of the Catholic university in the present day assumes great importance and urgency amid rapid scientific and technological developments. These developments create “enormous economic and industrial growth,” he noted, while at the same time require the “necessary search for meaning in order to guarantee that the new [discoveries] be used for the authentic good of individuals in human society as a whole.”
When faced with new technological developments and conversations of ethics, Kilpatrick said that “no good is done when we trample on the rights and on the dignity of the weakest and most vulnerable in our society.”
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“When we trample on the rights of the very young or the very old or those who cannot speak and act for themselves,” he said, “we really do no good. And we really cannot elevate society and humanity as a whole.”
Kilpatrick argued that research based on “embryo destruction” is unacceptable at a Catholic university, while praising Notre Dame’s extensive research with adult stem cells.
“A Catholic university,” he said, “must be committed to, in an unreserved way, to the truth — to the truth about human life; to the truth about ourselves; to the truth about God; to the truth about our relationship between human persons and God.”
He also added that it is “apparent” that conception is the “definitive moment” at which to determine human personhood, while saying that all other arguments are “arbitrary.”
The Catholic University of America is a pontifical university and is the only college or university in the United States to have been founded by the U.S. Catholic bishops. The school was established in 1887.