On March 29, 2022, the Faith in Action speaker series continued with a program featuring The Honorable Robert J. Conrad Jr., United States District Court Western District of North Carolina. Judge Conrad discussed his new book, John Fisher and Thomas More: Keeping Their Souls While Losing Their Heads, while also providing his thoughts aimed at law students on acting with integrity and pursuing one's vocation as a lawyer.
Elizabeth Kirk, Director of Catholic Law’s Center for Law and the Human Person, began the program with introductory remarks and then introduced Judge Conrad. As Judge Conrad began, he noted that “a well-told story has a powerful way of communicating the truth.” Then, in providing an overview of his book, comprised of a collection of stories from the lives of More and Fisher, Judge Conrad demonstrated how Fisher's and More's character and integrity carried them through difficult times in 16th century England under the rule of King Henry VIII and how their lives can be seen as a model for navigating modern times while being faithful to a well-formed conscience. Judge Conrad reflected on the importance of forming one’s conscience through prayer and study and acting consistently on it through word and action. He emphasized that both More and Fisher lived their vocations and accepted their martyrdom with joyful hearts. Judge Conrad then answered questions from those in attendance, further discussing being a lawyer of conscience in the 21st century and practical steps to take in forming one’s conscience. Judge Conrad concluded the lecture with a recitation of St. Thomas More’s prayer for lawyers.
Judge Conrad serves as a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. He was the District's former Chief Judge (2006-2013) and a former member of the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States (2016-2020). Judge Conrad received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts from Clemson University.
The Faith in Action lecture series was founded to promote the integration of faith and the practice of law through the witness of legal professionals and is sponsored by Catholic Law’s Center for Law and the Human Person.