Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Faith and Reason

Recently, an article appeared in the newspaper of the university I am at, speaking of the problems of religion getting in the way of science.   The author maintained that human reason had made too much progress to be restrained by archaic codes and beliefs.   I'm sure the arguments made in this article are not unique to this university.  I am of the opinion that it captured a common belief held by not only many college students, but many in our society.  

I did reply with a brief letter, let me share that with you:

I am writing in response to the article, Higgs Boson and the Big Bang explain our origins.  A couple of things I should state up front in the interest of full disclosure.  I am a Roman Catholic priest, meaning my graduate work is in Roman Catholic theology.  Second, my bachelor's degree is in History, so admittedly my knowledge of the sciences is minimal, particularly when compared to the many professors and students here at UMass Dartmouth.  As a student of theology, I am not a believer in the type of creationism that is implied in the article.  The Roman Catholic teaching is that the what is important in our scientific understanding-in terms of faith-is not the theory we hold to (Big Bang , expanding universe, creationism, etc.) but the knowledge that God was involved in the process.  In fact, the Big Bang theory and the expanding universe can both be attributed to Fr. George LaMaitre, a Belgian physicist and Roman Catholic priest.  In this country, Fr. Robert Spitzer, former president of Gonzaga University, is also a physicist and has a website through which he seeks to show the interaction of faith and physics (  The Vatican also has an Academy of Sciences and also operates an Observatory in Arizona.

The greatest challenge facing Roman Catholicism in 2012 (again, I can only speak from this tradition) is when reason is removed from the faith conversation.  That is why John Paul II wrote an encyclical called  Faith and Reason in the 1990s.  Roman Catholic theology is derived from Tradition and the Scriptures, and explained using science and philosophy.  In fact, I am currently reading a book on string theory and find that it is giving me a deeper appreciation of the Book of Genesis and the Church's teaching on the Trinity.

I agree with the author's line "If religion causes people to ignore science, then it holds us back as a society". I would add that if we ignore the questions that religion raises, we lose the motivation to persevere in scientific stud and human progress.

A question for all of you in campus ministry: what are some of the ways we can address this thought of separating reason from faith? Do you have programs or strategies that have been successful?  Please let us know!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Welcome to Empowered,
CCMA’s new and improved blog!

We are excited to bring you a new school year full of opportunities, best practices, idea-sharing, videos, reviews, reflections and more. Check back weekly to see what our guest bloggers want to share with you. We hope you find here a space to share experiences and request ideas, as well as to ask questions of other members. Suggestions – including topics, themes, and best practices - are most welcome! Thank you for the work you do and for sharing it with fellow CCMA members! Happy blogging!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Register Today for Magnifying Christ's Light!

Magnifying Christ's Light:
Calling Forth Leaders for our Campus, Church and World
Catholic Campus Ministry Association
Cordially Invites You To

Any individual that registers for the 2013 CCMA National Convention and pays in full no later than 5:00 p.m. EST on October 16, 2012, will be entered into a drawing for the following prizes.

  • 1st Prize – Reimbursement of your 2013 National Convention registration ($375), cost of hotel during your convention stay (four nights at the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort at $99 per night plus applicable taxes) and up to $400 towards your airfare (Total of $1,275)

  • 2nd Prize – Reimbursement of your 2013 National Convention registration ($375), cost of hotel during your convention stay (four nights at the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort at $99 per night plus applicable taxes) (Total of $875)

  • 3rd Prize – Reimbursement of your 2013 Convention Registration (Total of $375)
Visit CCMA's National Convention website for a complete list of rules!

CCMA National Convention
January 8-11, 2013
Hilton Hotel and Resort
Clearwater Beach, Florida