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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

M. Cathleen Kaveny

theology department

M. Cathleen Kaveny

Darald and Juliet Libby Professor

Stokes Hall N459
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Phone: 617-552-4661
Fax: 617-552-0794

Curriculum Vitae

Office Hours


A.B., Princeton University, summa cum laude
M.A., M.Phil., J.D., Ph.D., Yale University


Professor Cathleen Kaveny, a scholar who focuses on the relationship of law, religion, and morality, joined the Boston College faculty in 2014 as the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor, a position that includes appointments in both the department of theology and the law school. A member of the Massachusetts Bar since 1993, Professor Kaveny clerked for the Honorable John T. Noonan Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and worked as an associate at the Boston law firm of Ropes & Gray in its health-law group.


Professor Kaveny has published over a hundred articles and essays, in journals and books specializing in law, ethics, and medical ethics. She serves on the masthead of Commonweal as a regular columnist. Her interests include the relationship of law, religion, and morality in pluralistic societies, health care ethics, rhetoric and ethics, the relationship of mercy and justice, and complicity with wrongdoing.


Professor Kaveny regularly teaches contract law to first-year law students. She also teaches a number of seminars which explore the relationship between theology, philosophy, and law, such as “Faith, Morality, and Law,” “Bioethics and the Law,” “Law and Religion,” “Mercy and Justice,” and “Complicity.”


Professor Kaveny has served as the president of the Society of Christian Ethics, the major professional society for scholars of Christian ethics and moral theology in North America. It meets annually in conjunction with the Society of Jewish Ethics and the Society for the Study of Muslim Ethics.

Professor Kaveny has served on a number of editorial boards including The American Journal of Jurisprudence, The Journal of Religious Ethics, the Journal of Law and Religion, and The Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics. She has been a visiting professor at Princeton University, Yale University and Georgetown University, and a visiting scholar at the University of Chicago’s Martin Marty Center. From 1995 until 2013 she taught law and theology at the University of Notre Dame, where she was a John P. Murphy Foundation Professor of Law.



Ethics at the Edges of Law: Christian Ethics and the American Legal Tradition (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).           

Prophecy without Contempt: Religious Rhetoric in the Public Square (Harvard University Press, 2016).

A Culture of Engagement: Law, Religion, and Morality (Georgetown University Press, Moral Traditions Series, 2016). 

Law’s Virtues: Fostering Autonomy and Solidarity in American Society (Georgetown University Press, Moral Traditions Series, 2012-winner of a first place award in “Faithful Citizenship” from the Catholic Press Association).


“Love, Justice and Law: The Strange Case of Watts v. Watts,” in Frederick V. Simmons and Brian C. Sorrells, eds., Love and Christian Ethics: Engagements with Tradition, Theory, and Society (forthcoming, Georgetown University Press).

“Response to Kevin Flannery,” forthcoming, American Journal of Jurisprudence.      

“Law and Christian Ethics: Signposts for a Fruitful Conversation” (2015 Presidential Address), Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, vol. 3, no. 2 (fall/winter 2015): 3–32.

“Mercy for the Remarried: What the Church Can Learn from Civil Law,” in The Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland Newsletter (September 2015): 11–18 (reprinted from Commonweal).

“Mercy, Justice, and Law: Can Legal Concepts Help Foster New Life?,” in George Augustin and Rainer Kirchdörfer, eds., Familie: Auslaufmodell oder Garant unserer Zukunft (Herder, 2014), 298–312.

“From A Heart of Stone to a Heart of Flesh: Toward an Epideictic Rhetoric of Natural Law,” in John Berkman and William C. Mattison III, eds., Searching for a Universal Ethic: Multidisciplinary, Ecumenical, and Interfaith Responses to the Catholic Natural Law Tradition (Eerdmans, 2014), 229–38.

 “The Remnants of Theocracy: The Puritans, the Jeremiad, and the Contemporary Culture Wars,” Law, Culture and the Humanities 9:1 (2013): 59–70.

“Hauerwas and the Law: Is there a Basis for Conversation?,” Law & Contemporary Problems, 75:4 (2012): 135–60.

“The Spirit of Vatican II and Moral Theology: Evangelium Vitae as a Case Study,” in James Heft and John O’Malley, eds., After Vatican II: Trajectories and Hermeneutics (Eerdmans, 2012), 43–67.


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