Alvaré Appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to Advisory Board

The Vatican has announced Pope Benedict XVI's appointment of Professor Helen Alvaré as a Consultor of the Pontifical Council for the Laity for a five-year term effective April 11, 2008.

The Pontifical Council of the Laity is made up of 36 Members and 20 Consultors and functions as an advisory body for the pope on matters concerning non-clerical persons. Members of the Council consist of eight cardinals, three bishops, and 25 lay persons. Consultors include four bishops, six priests, and ten lay persons. The next Plenary Assembly of the Council will take place in November 2008 in Rome.

Professor Alvaré received her law degree at Cornell University in 1984 and a master's degree in systematic theology from The Catholic University of America in 1989. After practicing with the Philadelphia law firm of Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young, specializing in commercial litigation and free exercise of religion matters, Professor Alvaré worked for three years at the Office of General Counsel for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, where she drafted amicus briefs in leading U.S. Supreme Court cases concerning abortion, euthanasia and the Establishment Clause. For the next ten years, she worked with the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities at the NCCB. There, she lobbied, testified before federal congressional committees, addressed university audiences, and appeared on hundreds of television and radio programs on behalf of the U.S. Catholic bishops. She also assisted the Holy See on matters concerning women, marriage and the family, and respect for human life.

Professor Alvaré chaired the commission investigating clerical abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and remains a consultant to the U.S. bishops marriage committee as well as an ABC News consultant. Her scholarship regularly treats current controversies about marriage, parenting, and the new reproductive technologies.