Washington is a city where people like to be busy and, even more, like to be seen to be busy. An invitation to a luncheon or a dinner is never met with a simple yes or no, but with "Let me check my calendar." In the metro, in the elevator, even at the dinner table of a restaurant, people are buried in their BlackBerries. "Activity suggests a life filled with purpose," said Captain von Trapp in "The Sound of Music," and Washington took his instruction to heart.
But, on a recent afternoon, a dozen or so scholars met around a conference table at The Catholic University of America's Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies to discuss a chapter of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. There were a couple of philosophy professors, a sociologist, someone from the evangelization office of the archdiocese. There was even a rocket scientist, a former NASA scientist who went on to teach at the Naval Academy.