Local Seminary Professors Receive Grants to Promote Scientific Literacy among Seminarians

The Science in Seminaries Initiative at John Carroll University has awarded a $10,000 grant to Saint Joseph Seminary College (SJSC) and another to Notre Dame Seminary (NDS) for a collaborative effort that will join seminary professors from both institutions with expert scientists in instructing seminarians about how faith, philosophy and science intersect at the dawn of the human species. The awards come after a national competition in response to directives from papal and other official documents of the Catholic Church encouraging scientific literacy in the formation of seminarians. The awards are funded by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

Professor Cory Hayes of Saint Joseph Seminary College.

Professor Cory Hayes of SJSC received one of the awards for a course to be titled Integral Anthropology: Evolution in Dialogue with Catholic Theology and Philosophy. Professor Chris Baglow of NDS received the other for a course to be titled The Emergence of the Image: Human Evolution from Biological, Philosophical and Theological Perspectives. Both courses will engage the same questions and will be team-taught by the two professors. The SJSC course will be offered in Fall 2016, and the NDS course in Spring 2017. Hayes and Baglow will be joined by three Catholic scientists: evolutionary biologist Don Frohlich of the University of St. Thomas; microbiologist and priest Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P. of the University of Notre Dame; and evolutionary psychologist Matt Rossano of Southeastern Louisiana University. The scientists will also provide public lectures and development events for the seminary faculties.

Professor Chris Baglow of Notre Dame Seminary.

Some of the scientific topics the seminarians will consider will include evolution as explanatory theory of the history of life, the sequence of the hominid species leading up to our own species and the genetics of human evolution. In the philosophy section of the courses, special attention will be given to the distinctive features of reason and freedom that distinguish the human species from all other animals. Finally, the courses will conclude with theological topics such as Divine Providence and evolution, the Catholic interpretation of the Book of Genesis, and the Resurrection of Christ as the final, most decisive step in the evolution of humanity.

As the final requirement of both courses, seminarians will work in groups to produce audiovisual presentations to be delivered in parishes and schools that promote scientific literacy concerning human evolution and theological literacy concerning the human person as image and likeness of God.

For more information on the Science in Seminaries Initiative please visit the website www.semscience.org. For more information on the John Templeton Foundation please visit the website www.templeton.org.

For more information on the courses and the inter-seminary collaboration, please contact Cory Hayes at chayes@sjasc.edu or Chris Baglow at cbaglow@nds.edu.