The Klau Center for Civil and Human Rights and Hesburgh Libraries: Convocate

Bringing Catholic Social Teaching and International Human Rights Into Dialogue

Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame

The concept for this comparative database arose at the University of Notre Dame from an intellectual interest in the overlap of Catholic social teaching and international human rights law, and the recognized need for such a comparative resource. Notre Dame faculty, in dialogue with Catholic Church actors, found widespread support and excitement for a tool that would bring the fields of international human rights and Catholic social teaching into dialogue.

With input from numerous community members and students, the database began to take shape. It was developed by the Center for Civil and Human Rights, in collaboration with the Center for Digital Scholarship and the Web and Software Engineering Team of the Hesburgh Libraries of the University of Notre Dame. The project was formally launched in April 2016.

This database is a research tool for investigating the connections between international human rights and Catholic social teaching. It searches theological and legal documents simultaneously, returning results in such a way that users are able to compare these bodies of thought side by side.

While the main focus is comparative research, the database also serves as an unparalleled resource for those interested more generally in documents from one or the other domain.

This platform is a cutting edge research tool, providing much more than a mere repository of documents. In addition to paralleled searching and a side-by-side display that allows for easy comparison between two different sets of documents, the database content is parsed into granular components. Search results are returned at the paragraph level, enabling users to retrieve more specified results within a document. Users also have the option of viewing the pertinent paragraphs within the full context of the document.

To access the database, please visit

December 8, 2022

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