October 30, 2014

Theology needs science. So writes William C. Mattison, a moral theologian at the Catholic University of America in the most recent issue of Integritas. Or rather, to be more precise, Mattison suggests that human beings–we, who are thinking creatures–must ponder questions that demand science, while being unafraid to raise questions that are ultimately theological. The reason why theology needs science, he writes, is that ultimately it is human beings who ask questions and who must use the various disciplines to... Read more

October 23, 2014

John D. Cunningham, S.J., a particle physicist at Loyola University Chicago, writes in the current volume of Integritas about the rocky history of scientific study in Catholic higher education. He describes an important paradox. While many of the earliest contributors to the physical sciences were Catholics or taught in Catholic (often Jesuit) institutions—Copernicus, Galileo, Volta, Ohm, Ampère, and others—still, there were fellow Catholics who saw their work as threatening to existing theology and cosmology. Cunningham rightly describes the Galileo affair... Read more

October 22, 2014

America Magazine is doing interviews of the presidents of three Washington, D.C. area Catholic universities. The first interview, with Patricia McGuire of Trinity Washington University, is posted here. Some excerpts: Among many complaints, the fact that I was not a religious and not “Catholic” enough for some was a source of bitter conflict. Even worse, in the eyes of some, was the fact that more and more students of many different faith backgrounds were coming to Trinity, and many of... Read more

October 21, 2014

Geneticist Marc A.T. Muskavitch, a professor of biology at Boston College, has authored a thought-provoking article titled “Genetic Determinism in the Post-Genomic Age” in the new issue of Integritas: Advancing the Mission of Catholic Higher Education. Muskavitch holds a number of patents and is a well-published author in areas related to malaria and vector biology, vector mosquito genomics and genetics, and malaria parasite proteasome function. His essay, though, raises a theological question: in light of what we now understand about the human... Read more

October 17, 2014

Below are excerpts from a paper I published in 2009 in the journal Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture. The paper was the initial exploration of the theme which guides this blog, as well as a forthcoming book I am drafting on the educational mission of Catholic universities. The title of the paper is “The Boutique and the Gallery: An Apologia for a Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Academy.” The thesis is that the boutique and the art gallery represent... Read more

October 15, 2014

Margery Eagan writes in Crux about professors who must hide their Christian faith amidst lingering prejudice in the academy. Her story focuses on Jeffrey Reimer, Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Cal Berkeley. He is the Warren and Katharine Schlinger Distinguished Professor in Chemical Engineering and the C. Judson King Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering there. In every imaginable way, Reimer is a distinguished academic in a critical STEM discipline. He is also a devout Christian. He spoke at the Cambridge... Read more

October 9, 2014

Stephen Hawking’s recent pronouncement that there is no God was unsurprising, given his past considerations of the intellectual real estate that particle physics has assumed over the past century, his thesis being that physics displaces God. More troubling is another recent piece by evolutionary biologist David P. Barash, who writes of his patronizing approach to undergraduates who cling to beliefs in creation. He gives them, he writes, “The Talk” about why biology disproves God. And that’s where The Talk comes... Read more

October 2, 2014

My friend and colleague Jason King has written a cogent reflection on the Catholic Moral Theology blog about the recent conference hosted by King’s College. From the conference program: The complementarity of faith and reason; a commitment to philosophy and theology as “sapiential” and “architectonic” disciplines; the belief that all reality is suffused with the presence of God such that God may be found in all things; an understanding of education as a work of sanctification if not even resurrection; and... Read more

October 1, 2014

I’m energized by my attendance at the recent Conference of Mercy Higher Education gathering, which brings together leaders of the 17 institutions of Mercy higher education in the United States (a consortium second in size only to that of the Jesuits). As a member of the Board, I am privileged to hear stories of how the women and men of these colleges strive to carry on the great mission founded by Venerable Catherine McAuley. At the heart of Mercy education is... Read more

September 25, 2014

In this era of skyrocketing costs of higher education, it is important to remind ourselves of why it is still valuable. For many, especially the poor, the financial benefit that accrues for those with a college degree is a lifeline to pull them out of poverty. Yesterday, September 24, was the beginning of a week-long celebration of Mercy Day. The Sisters of Mercy operate 17 colleges in the United States, and hundreds of other missionary works around the world. For eight years, I... Read more

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