The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has selected Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology to participate in its groundbreaking effort that provides science resources to seminaries that seek to foster a greater appreciation for science among religious ministers as they share the Word of God.The initiative takes the form of a $75,000 grant, one of seven such grants given to seminaries in the United States in 2018. The seminary’s project is entitled, "Seeking the Heart of Science: From God to Galileo to Grandma, and Beyond."
“This grant affirms Sacred Heart’s position in the Catholic Church as a leading seminary whose graduates serve in dioceses and religious orders throughout the United States, and is thus well-positioned to achieve its project goals,” said Fr. Thomas Knoebel, SHSST president-rector. “Our primary job is to equip our graduates to help bring people of faith into closer relationships with God. This must take place in a context that accounts for the rich human understanding of His complex world.”
AAAS is providing the grant through its Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program. The grant is part of a five-year initiative that offers a unique suite of activities designed to expand the role that science plays in U.S. theological seminaries.
"Many people look to their religious leaders for guidance on issues relating to science and technology, even though clergy members may get little exposure to science in their training," said Jennifer Wiseman, director of the AAAS DoSER program. "We are pleased to see such enthusiastic interest in science, technology, and implications for society in these training institutions for the nation's religious leaders."
Stephen Graham, Association of Theological Schools senior director of programs and services, said, “Religious leaders need a level of facility with science in order to address a whole range of issues engaging people in communities of faith, and the voices of theologically-trained and scientifically-aware leaders are needed in broader public conversations about a whole range of issues.”
The AAAS initiative is funded by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, and is being carried out in consultation with the Association of Theological Schools.
Dr. Paul Monson, one of the authors of the proposal, said, “For the integration of science into our core curriculum, we’re proposing a two-track course of action. The first track, designated “Creation and the Heart of the Universe,” focuses on astronomy and evolution. The second track, “Love and the Heart of the Mind,” highlights the relationship between neuroscience and psychology in theological discussions on the nature of love. In this way, we explore the vertical relationship between people and the cosmos; and at the same time investigate the horizontal relationship among people through both rationality and emotion.”
The AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science (www.sciencemag.org) family of journals. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes 261 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The nonprofit AAAS (www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more.