Columbia Catholic ministry confronts Religious Liberty in 40th merton lecture Speaker William Mumma is the President of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

NEW YORK, NY, Nov. 27—On Monday, Dec. 11, Columbia Catholic Ministry will host William P. Mumma for the 40th annual Merton Lecture. "Religious Liberty & The Captive Mind: The Writings of Thomas Merton and Czeslaw Milosz" will be delivered at 7:00pm at Corpus Christi Church, located at 529 W. 121st Street in Manhattan; a Mass and reception will be held at the same location at 5:30pm and 6:15pm, respectively. All events are free and open to the public

Mr. Mumma, a 1983 alumnus of Columbia Business School, is president of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which has been involved in several prominent legal cases concerning religious liberty such as the Supreme Court cases Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, and Holt v. Hobbs. Previously, he was CEO of Mitsubishi UFJ Securities (USA). The Merton Lecture Series, supported by the Hugh J. and Catherine R. Kelly Endowment, was created in 1978 to honor Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk, bestselling author of works like "The Seven Storey Mountain," and 1938 alumnus of Columbia College and 1939 alumnus of Columbia's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Past speakers include Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J., Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., and Brother David Steindl-Rast, O.S.B

Few topics are more pervasive in America today than religious liberty. The history of the U.S. is intrinsically linked to it, yet 230 years after the Constitution, the issue has never felt so unresolved. "In the spirit of Thomas Merton, one of the most significant figures in 20th-century spiritual writing and a passionate defender of the free exchange of ideas, this year's lecture will candidly and thoughtfully address one of the most pressing and consequential subjects of our day," said the Rev. Dan O'Reilly, director of the Columbia Catholic Ministry. "We look forward to welcoming Mr. Mumma for a conversation to benefit the university and greater community amid our enduring need for understanding and rapport.
Thomas Merton, alongside Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Dorothy Day, was one of four Americans highlighted by Pope Francis in his 2015 address to Congress. The pontiff described Merton as "a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions.

About Columbia Catholic Ministry
Established in 1922 by the Archdiocese of New York, Columbia Catholic Ministry (CCM) is the Catholic home for students, faculty and staff of Columbia University to live and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through the sacraments and a variety of weekly events spanning service, fellowship, and learning, CCM aims to bring members closer to God and to His Church. Learn more at or

About the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
Becket is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions and has a 100% win-rate before the United States Supreme Court. For over 20 years, it has successfully defended clients of all faiths, including Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians
Contact: Luisa Badaraccon
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