John Templeton Foundation Project Description

Expanding the Parameters of God’s Revelation:
An International Conference for Rector-Presidents & Deans
of Roman Catholic Major Seminaries


The purpose of our proposal is to expand the parameters of God’s revelation in Roman Catholic seminary education and formation by offering opportunities for faculties at seminaries to propose ways creatively to integrate science into the curriculum and/or to introduce science into already existing courses they are teaching.

Brief Project Summary

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above, day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge” (Psalm 19).

Rector-presidents and deans of Roman Catholic major seminaries are increasingly aware that the men they are preparing for the priesthood are not adequately versed in the knowledge and speech the psalmist had in mind. Not only do seminarians lack the integration of scientific discoveries to complement their formation as men of prayer who praise and worship the creator of heavens and earth, but they are also frequently unaware of the impressive legacy of Catholic scientists, theologians, and popes who, over the centuries, have made advances in science that complement other courses in the seminary curriculum. As a result, newly ordained priests often find themselves unable to engage in conversation with women and men who are seeking intelligent discourse on how the Big Questions of science affect their faith.’

This proposal, aware of Vatican requirements for seminary education that leave no room at this time for a full-fledged, full-semester science course, will offer opportunities for seminary faculties to develop do-able, creative alternatives to position science in the seminary curriculum through on-line courses, summer or winter seminars, 8-10 hour modules, and other possibilities. Models and options will be presented in the context of a first class international conference with input from accomplished scientists and theologians who are able to communicate the pedagogical and pastoral advantages of scientific literacy for seminarians and who are able to respond to the particular needs of seminary administrators who frequently find resources to be scarce or not suited to seminary education and formation. The planning grant would solidify networks and have key partners in place. Theologians, scientists, rector-presidents, directors of agencies and offices affiliated with seminary education would be ready, able, and willing to do take on the task of delivering a creative, energized and successful conference.