Kim Daniels, '94: Debating and Communicating in Good Faith

Kim Daniels
Kim Daniels, '94

Kim Daniels, ’94, was named last year by Pope Francis to a papal secretariat charged with overseeing a sweeping restructuring of the Vatican’s communication practices. She was the only American appointed as a member of the secretariat, where she will serve along with six cardinals, seven bishops, and two other laypersons.

“I’m excited to help Pope Francis’s efforts to convey our Catholic faith effectively in the often distracted world we live in today,” said Daniels, whose career has been devoted to Catholic issues. “He focuses on caring for the voiceless and vulnerable and resisting what he calls the ‘throwaway culture,’ and that brings the mercy at the heart of our mission to people in a concrete and powerful way.”

In 2015, Daniels was a lead member of the team responsible for the US launch of Francis’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si. Her other services to the Church have included serving as the spokesperson for the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, where she worked on a range of issues, including the dignity of human life, immigration, and responses to poverty; leading Catholic Voices USA, an organization whose stated mission is to “make the Church’s case in the public square”; and working as an attorney with a focus on the intersection of religious liberty and healthcare, where among other things she advocated for conscience protections for health care providers.

Today she heads the communications practice group of GP Catholic in Washington, DC, where she helps Catholic organizations develop strategies to advance their missions. She has been a regular writer, public speaker, and media commentator on issues ranging from religious liberty to refugee resettlement. “Catholics are hard to pigeonhole into partisan political categories,” she said. “We recognize that each person has an inherent dignity, and that we have shared responsibilities toward one another, especially the most vulnerable. We can help reduce the polarization our public life suffers from if we witness to these truths with integrity and bring more light and less heat to contested issues.”

She said that her experience at the Law School informs the way she has approached her work: “At the Law School, people with widely differing views were engaged in debate that was both intellectually vibrant and almost always free of rancor. My professors—including great teachers like Michael McConnell and Anne-Marie Slaughter—taught me that real learning happens in that context, when people interact respectfully and in good faith. My interest in religious liberty issues also grew during my time at the Law School, where classes with Professor McConnell and others helped me develop an appreciation of the importance of religious freedom in American law and public life.”

Married while she was at the Law School to her college and law school classmate David Daniels (who is now a partner at Richards Kibbe & Orbe), she gave birth to their first child not long after graduation. They now have six children, and her family has taken precedence in her career decisions. “We’ve got a lively house,” she said, “so I’ve been fortunate to have been able to structure my career around our family life, almost always working part time from home, and taking breaks from professional work when that’s been right for our family. Even with that flexibility, it’s all managed to work out because of my wonderful husband and the help of family and friends. And David and I made so many good friends at the Law School—another reason why I’m thankful for my time there.”