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During 2006, two events, one involving mainly Protestants and the other Catholics, triggered widespread debate on evolution and Christianity. The Dover, Pennsylvania case focused on whether intelligent design (ID) should be taught alongside evolution in public high school science classes; a New York Times Op-Ed by Cardinal Schönborn of Austria argued that Catholics should reject neo-Darwinianism. Once again, these debates raise the important issue of the relationship of science and religion, and more specifically, science and Catholicism, and call for further reflection on how Catholic theology should conceive of its role in an age still dominated by science.
This essay describes an intensive eight-month long interdisciplinary faculty seminar which brought together faculty from the social sciences and humanities to explore, with different methodologies, the nature and traditions of Catholicism. It describes the way in which the seminar was organized, the participants selected, the syllabus chosen and how the discussion unfolded. It concludes with an evaluation by the author of what was learned, and then provides a brief description of the research projects undertaken by the seminar participants.
After years of consultation, on August 15, 1990, Pope John Paul II published an Apostolic Constitution, Ex corde ecclesiae. Familiar as the document is to many readers, especially in Catholic higher education, in the sixth anniversary year of its appearance it continues to merit careful review. The document is divided into two parts, with the first section describing the identity and mission of a Catholic university and its mission of service while the second proposes seven General Norms for implementation. In early 1991, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops established a committee of seven bishops and eleven consultants, eight of whom were college or university presidents, to oversee the implementation of the Constitution. Later, in August 1994, a Project Director, the Reverend Terrence Toland, S.J., was appointed.
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