In the weeks to come, I will offer brief reflections on two projects to bring science into the seminary classroom. Seminary, for those who do not know, is the name given to the school that future priests attend. The name "seminary" means "a seedbed." Therefore, a seminary is not only a school of academics, but it is an environment of formation in which the soil of our hearts is tilled to receive the seeds of faith.
As I have written about in the past, one of the deficiencies I experienced in my seminary education was instruction on questions of faith and science. Whether it be writing for The Catholic Astronomer, participating in wonderful experiences like the Faith and Astronomy Workshop, or being a guest on Slooh, God has allowed me to embark on a unique "independent study" that has borne a great deal of fruit to help address this deficiency.
Recently, I was honored to meet Jennifer Wiseman, Director of the American Association for the Advancement of Science's (AAAS) Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion. One of the exciting programs that the AAAS has developed is what is called "Science for Seminaries." When looking at the curriculum that Science for Seminaries has put together, I am not only impressed with the scope of subjects, but am also impressed on how there is a clear effort to identify how different faith traditions approach questions of faith and science. How I wish I could have had the opportunity to explore these classes in my seminary formation!
Another series of presentations meant to help future clergy understand the relationship between faith and science is sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, called Engaging Science in Seminaries. This program, similar to the AAAS's Science for Seminaries, draws upon many thinkers throughout the country to present a healthy relationship between faith and science. On a personal level, I was very excited to see a good friend of mine, Fr. John Kartje, was a part of this program. John and I were in seminary together as students and he is now the Rector of Mundelein Seminary. Fr. Kartje has a PH.D. in Astrophysics from the University of Chicago.
Below are two videos, one from the AAAS and the other from Exploring Science in Seminaries. The first video is a brief exploration of what the desired pastoral outcomes were for the conference on Exploring Science in Seminaries. The second is a video on one of the more powerful connections between faith and science - Awe and Wonder. Enjoy these videos and may they help all of us, clergy and non-clergy, better understand the relationship between faith and science.
Exploring Science in Seminaries.
The AAAS's video on Awe and Wonder.