NCR has learned that John Carr, the executive director of the USCCB's Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development will be leaving his job after more than twenty years. Carr's resignation letter gave two reasons for leaving:"First, I have been offered a Fellowship this fall at the Kennedy School at Harvard University, focusing on the important links between faith and public life. Second, I want to focus my remaining energies on efforts to help form, support and encourage Catholic lay men and women to be more effective leaders in bringing Catholic principles to public life and all of society. This has long been a priority for me and now is the right time to act on my conviction that new efforts are needed to help Catholic laity act on Catholic principles on human life and dignity, economic and social justice, religious freedom and solidarity, care for creation and peace."
Carr first joined the bishops' conference staff in 1987. Previously he had worked in a variety of posts addressing social justice issues, including serving as Secretary for Social Concerns for the Archdiocese of Washington where he was Cardinal James Hickey's principal adviser. He also coordinated the White House Conference on Families in the late 1970s. A native of Minnesota, Carr is an alumnus of the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.
In his letter, Carr sounded enthusiastic about his future projects: "Beyond the fall, I believe there is an urgent need for more effective efforts to share the breathe and substance of Catholic Social Teaching. With so much confusion and conflict over religion in public affairs, we need new efforts and vehicles to call Catholic lay men and women to principled public engagement and to advance a faithful and positive vision of Catholic participation in the public square."
We will have more coverage of this important development tomorrow. Here is a link to the letter sent by USCCB General Secretary Msgr. Ronny Jenkins to all the bishops of the United States announcing Carr's resignation.