Category Archives: Theology

A Jesuit at the former Holy Office

After two Salesians, now a son of Saint Ignatius will be second in command of the first of the Congregations of the Roman Curia.

An interview with Archbishop

Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer

by Gianni Cardinale


      After two Salesians, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has a Jesuit as its new secretary. On 9 July in fact Benedict XVI appointed as number two in the Department, that he himself directed from 1981 to 2005, the Spaniard Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, 64 years old, originally from Manacor, the second city, after Palma, of the island of Majorca in the Balearic Islands.       Ladaria takes the place of the Salesian Angelo Amato, promoted Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, who in turn succeeded another son of Don Bosco, the then Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, who as Cardinal Secretary of State consecrated Ladaria bishop in the Basilica of Saint John Lateran on July 26.       30Days met the new secretary, in the Palace of the Holy Office, on his return from vacation, passed mostly in his homeland. In answer to the observation that he didn’t look very tanned, Monsignor Ladaria smilingly said: “That comes of the fact that I love the sea, much less the sun…”. Before the interview Ladaria spoke of his origins, explaining that, although his family has been rooted for generations in the Balearic Islands, perhaps his ancestors came from the Kingdom of Naples, and more specifically from the Gulf of Policastro. But the pleasantries end there. And the questions begin.      

Benedict XVI receiving Monsignor Ladaria Ferrer in audience at Castel Gandolfo, 10 September 2008 [© Osservatore Romano]

      Your Excellency, how did your vocation come about and why did you choose the Society of Jesus?       Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer: Perhaps the word “choose” is not correct. It was not I who chose but I saw a road in front of me and set out on it. A road, that of vocation, that I began to see when I attended the Jesuit College in Palma de Mallorca and then while studying Law in Madrid. I studied law but I realized that was not what I wanted. I wanted to become a priest and I liked the Society of Jesus which I knew. And so it was a path open before me that I set out on almost naturally. 

 Was your family very religious?       LADARIA FERRER: Fairly.   

Was there some priest figure who particularly influenced you?       LADARIA FERRER: Certainly, I have before me the faces of the fathers of the College I attended, the old College of Mount Zion, founded in 1561, but it was rather the whole environment, the air one breathed, that brought me to devote myself entirely to God.   

You took your religious vows in 1968. What memory do you have of that year, so turbulent at least outside Spain?       LADARIA FERRER: It was a turbulent year in Spain also. But I quietly took my vows, without paying too much attention to the the turbulence. I liked studying and I studied.       

Did you ever feel the fascination of ’68?       LADARIA FERRER: Maybe we are all a little conditioned by ’68, but in my case not in any special way.       

Who were your teachers?       LADARIA FERRER: I am pleased to remember a few. In Frankfurt in Germany, where I studied theology, I had as professors Father Grillmeier, who then became a cardinal, who was a great scholar of Dogma, Father Otto Semmelroth and Father Herman Josef Sieben, at the beginning of his academic career, who would then become one of the world’s greatest experts on the concept of Council. In Rome I did my graduate thesis with Father Antonio Orbe, a great patrologist, and I had as professors Fathers Juan Alfaro and Zoltan Alszeghy.

You also studied in Germany. Did you ever meet Professor Ratzinger?       LADARIA FERRER: Not personally. But I knew his writings. In particular his Introduction to Christianity which was his best known work, but also his book on the People of God. I remember that even in our faculty lecture notes of some of the courses of the then Professor Ratzinger circulated. 

And when did you personally come to know the current Pontiff?       LADARIA FERRER: In 1992 when I became a member of the International Theological Commission. I recall with pleasure the detailed discussions that took place on the subject of relations between Christianity and other religions. The intervention of Cardinal Ratzinger was always very precise and profound and the discussion was always at a very high level. The work of that Commission is very interesting both for the topics dealt with, always of great importance, and for the international and Catholic air, that one breathes there.

Did you have a role in the drafting of Dominus Iesus?       LADARIA FERRER: No.

Your degree at the Gregorian was on Saint Hilary of Poitiers. Why that choice and what attracted you to that saint?       LADARIA FERRER: The topic was proposed by Fr Orbe who was interested in that Father of the Church. I was lucky because there was not a great bibliography on Saint Hilary, so I could better devote myself to reading his original texts directly. Saint Hilary was not studied enough at the time, but since then many works about him and many translations have appeared, especially in France. And yet he is the demonstration that the Patristic era in the Latin Church did not begin with St. Augustine, who indeed knew, and often cited, Saint Hilary.

What is the relevance of Saint Hilary?       LADARIA FERRER: It doesn’t take much effort to find out the relevance of the Fathers of the Church. We have to read and savor them to be better able to approach the freshness of the Gospel message, Jesus, and that is of permanent value rather than something tied to what is topical, which by its nature is variable, changing minute by minute. The Fathers of the Church are a source that springs in an era closer to the apostolic one. That’s what makes them always relevant.

Father Orbe was an expert on Saint Irenaeus and Gnosticism …       LADARIA FERRER: In effect, he was one of the greatest experts on the subject. He wrote many books on these subjects, to be honest often complicated because the material is difficult.

For many years you were a teacher at the Gregorian and vice-rector. What did you learn in all these years?       LADARIA FERRER: The fact that I was vice-rector for eight years is not very important. What is important was the teaching, the supervision of the theses. The Gregorian taught me to live in an international environment with students from over one hundred countries, of different languages, races and cultures. All united by the love of study, but above all of the Lord and His Church. In a real university students not only learn from professors, but also the reverse occurs. And I learned a lot from my students.

When your appointment was made public, John Allen Jr. of the National Catholic Reporter collected some opinions on you from your colleagues. Some have called you gentle and affable …       LADARIA FERRER: I must say that I try to be, but it must be up to others to say whether I succeed …

There are also those who described you as a moderate conservative and theologically centrist. Do you recognize yourself in those decriptions?       LADARIA FERRER: I must say that I don’t like extremisms, either progressive, or traditionalist ones. I believe that there is a via media, which is taken by the majority of professors of Theology in Rome and in the Church in general, which I think is the correct path to take, even if each of us has his own peculiarities, because, thanks be to God, we do not repeat, we are not clones.

Your appointment did not please the traditionalist world. In Spain the theologian Don José María Iraburu accused your Theology of original sin and grace of not conforming to the doctrine of the Church, while the periodical Sì sì No no even wrote that your book Theological Anthropology “is completely outside the Catholic dogmatic tradition”. Are you concerned about these judgments?       LADARIA FERRER: Everyone is free to criticize and make the judgments they want. If you ask me if I’m concerned I have to say that these opinions don’t concern me too much. Besides, if I was appointed to this office, I must presume that my works do not deserve these judgments.

You gained a certain notoriety when the Theological Commission published the document on the salvation of children who died before baptism. In it Limbo was finally thrown out of the Magisterium?       LADARIA FERRER: The International Theological Commission has no power to throw anything or anybody out. Although it is formed not by private theologians but ones appointed by the Pope, its conclusions do not have magisterial value. The document in question reiterates that the doctrine of Limbo, which for centuries was accepted by the majority and dominant in theological reflection, was never defined dogmatically and therefore was never a part of the infallible magisterium. And it does not mean that those who still want to continue to speak of Limbo are outside the Catholic Church because of it. That said, however, the Theological Commission, considering together the revealed data and the universal salvific will of God and the universal mediation of Christ, wrote that there are more appropriate ways to address the issue of the fate of children who die without having received baptism, for whom a hope of salvation cannot be ruled out. These conclusions are not new to tell the truth, they originated around the time of the Council, but bring together the fruits of a very broad theological consensus today.

How do you feel about being the first Jesuit to hold this position?       LADARIA FERRER: I must say that I didn’t pose myself the problem. Even if it’s true that it seems no Jesuit has ever held the position. I believe that the Holy Father chose me not as a Jesuit but because, I imagine, I seemed to him the best person.

Monsignor Ladaria Ferrer [© Osservatore Romano]

      How did you learn of the appointment?       LADARIA FERRER: That was very surprising. I would never have thought of ending up here. And not just me, seeing that my name was never mentioned in the newspapers … Until the evening of June 24, when I was told that the Holy See was considering giving me this job. For my part I explained my state of mind about this prospect and I indicated that in any case I accepted the decision of the Holy Father.       As a Jesuit did you have to ask permission of the Provost General first?       LADARIA FERRER: Yes, we Jesuits have a vow that prevents us from receiving episcopal appointments if not out of obedience. And the Provost General told me that I should accept the will of the Pope.      

Adolfo Nicolás, Provost General since January, Spanish like you. Do you know him well?       LADARIA FERRER: I had heard of him, I knew him by name, but not personally. I met him for the first time only the day after his election, January 20. Then I went to visit him on the issue of my nomination.   

Another well-known Spanish Jesuit is Antonio Martínez Camino, who became the first follower of St. Ignatius to be made bishop in Spain as auxiliary of Madrid. Do you know him?       LADARIA FERRER: Absolutely. He was my student and so I know him well. And we are good friends.     

  You have practically lived in Rome since 1979. What do you think of Spain today? Do you identify with it?       LADARIA FERRER: Certainly Spain has changed a lot: in the political, religious, cultural, economic spheres. But I must say that when I return to my country to relax I do not deal with major issues of doctrine or policy. I visit my family, my friends, my background again, and I don’t find my background of always much changed.    

   Recently, your superior, Cardinal Levada, in Spain for a conference, issued a cry of pain at the measures announced by the Zapatero Government about the extension of the right to abortion …       LADARIA FERRER: At present Spain is undergoing a worrying drift on ethical issues.      

 Do you have any hobbies apart from books of theology?       LADARIA FERRER: I like to listen to music. Classical, preferably. Johann Sebastian Bach in particular, but without undervaluing the others.      

 Enthusiasm for sport?       LADARIA FERRER: No, I follow the major events a little, but from very far off.     

  You, along with Cardinal Levada, were received in audience by the Pope in Castel Gandolfo on September 10. It was the first audience as Secretary of the Congregation. What can you tell us about it?       LADARIA FERRER: It was a beautiful experience. The Holy Father, as always, was very welcoming and kind.      

What are the main issues that the Congregation finds itself facing?       LADARIA FERRER: I can say that our Congregation is concerned with promoting and protecting the Catholic faith. First promoting and then, if necessary, protecting. But I can’t go into details. Our Congregation always moves with discretion and speaks exclusively through its acts.

courtesy of 30 Days

Cardinal Paul Cordes: can we defeat evil?

Today I had the opportunity to hear Paul Josef Cardinal Cordes deliver an address at

seton-hall.jpgSeton Hall University, “To Defeat Evil–Possible?” at a ceremony which bestowed an honorary doctorate of humane letters on him. The 71 year old prelate hails from the Archdiocese of Paderborn, Germany, though he has worked at the Vatican since 1980. Pope Benedict made him a cardinal in November 2007.


Cardinal Cordes is the president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum (One Heart) for Human and Christian Development established by Pope Paul VI in 1971. The work of Cor Unum, virtually unknown to many Americans, demonstrates in concrete ways “the care of the Catholic Church for the needy, thereby encouraging human fellowship and making manifest the charity of Christ.”


The Cardinal said that sentimentality is unhelpful when it comes to religious and concrete reality; sentimentality allows us to slumber and therefore overlook evil. Look at the well known events of human history to see the effects of the human capacity for evil. The one bomb that still needs to be defused is that of the all-consuming anger in the heart of men and women. Today we continue to demand an answer that promotes real peace. The UN and other socio-political organizations can’t do the heavy lifting in eradicating evil: we need a concrete proposal that unveils the many sources of injustice, the psychological problems faced by man and woman and false religion. To zero-in on the serious issues of life that are born of the heart. What often happens and is rather unsatisfactory is dealing with life from the angle of empirical data alone. The Christian needs to step up to the plate approach these questions, particularly evil, from the approach of divine revelation.



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Change and Continuity: Interview With Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue

In early September I drew our attention to the work of an English bishop trying to renew the exercise of faith and reason in his diocese. Dominic Baster’s October 29th interview with Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue of Lancaster was published on and it would be good to read it.

In this interview with ZENIT, Bishop O’Donoghue explains what led him to write the document, why he thinks Vatican II has been misinterpreted, and how authentic Catholic renewal can be achieved.


Q: Why did you feel it was necessary to produce such a comprehensive critique on the Church in England and Wales now?


Bishop O’Donoghue: Similar to the rest of the Catholic Church, the Diocese of Lancaster has had successes in its implementation of the decisions of the Second Vatican Council, but also a variety of problems. These I frankly lay out in my document so we can at last talk about them openly and honestly.


For too long, bishops and people have been inhibited about openly admitting the sickness in the Church, and wider society, caused by misinterpretations of the Council, and the corresponding widespread dissent. If we fail in our duty of presenting the truths of the faith, it is not only the Church that suffers, but also wider society.


However, I can see signs that this reticence to speak out about the misinterpretation of the Council is changing under the leadership of Pope Benedict XVI, with more bishops — particularly in the United States — going public about the need to heal the wounds in the Church.


Q: Why do you think Vatican II has been misinterpreted by so many?


Bishop O’Donoghue: What we have witnessed in Western societies since the end of the Second World War is the development of mass education on a scale unprecedented in human history — resulting in economic growth, scientific and technological advances, and the cultural and social enrichment of billions of people’s lives.


However, every human endeavor has a dark side, due to original sin and concupiscence. In the case of education, we can see its distortion through the widespread dissemination of radical skepticism, positivism, utilitarianism and relativism. Taken together, these intellectual trends have resulted in a fragmented society that marginalizes God, with many people mistakenly thinking they can live happy and productive lives without him.


One of the great truths recognized by the Second Vatican Council is that the Church is part of human history and culture. Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise us that the shadows cast by the distortion of education, and corresponding societal changes, have also touched members of the Church. As Pope Benedict XVI puts it, even in the Church we find hedonism, selfishness and egocentric behavior.


The Second Vatican Council tends to be misinterpreted most by Catholics who have had a university education — that is, by those most exposed to the intellectual and moral spirit of the age. These well-educated Catholics have gone on to occupy influential positions in education, the media, politics, and even the Church, where they have been able to spread their so-called loyal dissent, causing confusion and discord in the whole church.


This failure of leadership has exacerbated the even greater problem of the mass departure from the Church of the working-class and poor. For example, the relentless diatribe in the popular media against Christianity has undermined the confidence of the ordinary faithful in the Church.


I strongly support Catholics receiving a university education, but we have to ensure that they also have a firm grounding in the fullness of the faith from an early age in our homes, schools and parishes, and that they are equipped to challenge the erroneous thinking of their contemporaries.


Q: One of the questions you address is whether we have forgotten what it is to be Catholic. What do you say to those whose response to this crisis in Catholic identity is to reject change altogether?


Bishop O’Donoghue: The Jewish Christians in the early Church didn’t want to embrace the dietary and ritual changes that were implicit in Jesus’ Gospel. If they had succeeded in their opposition to Sts. Peter and Paul, the Church would not have spread like wildfire throughout the Roman world, and beyond.


The strength and vitality of Catholicism — which is a sign of the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit — is that it can change and adapt to its surrounding culture, while at the same time maintaining what is essential and definitive about its identity, that originates from the will of God. As Cardinal Henri de Lubac passionately believed, the Catholic genius is to balance necessary change with eternal continuity.


Q: You describe the liturgy as “the wellspring of the life of the Church” and “the authentic starting point of all renewal.” How should we balance continuity and change in the liturgy in ordinary Catholic parishes?


Bishop O’Donoghue: “Sacrosanctum Concilium” [The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy] remains a sound, measured guide to how we cultivate an authentic liturgical life in our parishes. Paragraph 23 deals with the challenge of balancing the retention of “sound tradition” with openness to “legitimate progress.”


Applying this principle to the Mass, the Council fathers directed that the use of Latin must be preserved in the Latin-rite Church, balanced with the use of the vernacular.


In the light of this, I have recommended to my parishes that Latin should play a regular part in the celebration of the Mass, such as the Gloria, the Credo, Sanctus, Pater Noster, and Agnus Dei. If only this sense of balance had been observed over the past 40 years, we would have avoided the banality, trivialization and secularization of the liturgy that has been all too common in the modern Church.


I think it true to say that in our almost frantic search to create meaningful liturgy that speaks to modern men and women, we fell into the trap on occasions of superficiality and novelty. What we need to do now is to understand more deeply man’s search for meaning, which will include the need for the sacred, and the apprehension of the transcendent.


Q: While urging Catholics to remain committed to the work of ecumenism, you acknowledge that it sometimes leads to an “urge to gloss over significant differences” between Christians. What should be the practical goal of authentic ecumenism?


Bishop O’Donoghue: It’s time we admitted that a wrong type of ecumenism has put a brake on the Catholic Church’s freedom to engage in evangelization and mission in society. It’s as if our fear of offending other Christians has inhibited us from confidently proclaiming the distinctive and defining truths of Catholicism.


However, the Council father’s insight that Christian communities outside the Catholic Church contain elements of sanctification and truth — see “Lumen Gentium,” No. 15, and “Unitatis Redintegratio,” No. 3 — provides us with the agenda for authentic ecumenism.


Those elements of the Catholic Church that we have in common with non-Catholic churches and ecclesial communities should be the focus of our dialogue, to the mutual enrichment and deeper understanding of both parties. In this way we will be able to explain the full Catholic understanding of doctrine, highlight any distortions that have occurred, and come to a deeper appreciation of the truth ourselves.


Our goal should always be to strengthen the imperfect communion that already exists in the hope that non-Catholics will come to see and come to seek the fullness of truth.



YouTube Allows Videos of Eucharistic Desecration

The centuries of Catholic life reveal a variety of “violations” of the Eucharist, Holy Communion, the real Presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. These violations include heretical writings, sermons, plays, burnings, descration of the sacred Host, etc. Now we are dealing with technology’s assistance in abusing the eucharistic Lord.


A problem we face is invinsible ignorance and flagrant behavior meant to shock and discourage the faithful. One of the disappointing things is the lack of media coverage on this topic and how relatively few Catholics standing up for their confessed faith in Jesus Christ. Of 65 million Catholics in the USA, how many are protesting this act of sacrilege? By protesting I don’t mean shaking their fingers and heads and saying, “That’s terrible!” but actually saying and doing something in a public way with friends, colleagues, etc. to make it clear that abusing something as sacred as the Communion is not to be tolerated.


In an era when religious sensitivity has lots of currency, even to an extreme, why isn’t this  a matter significant discussion and reaction from the Christians of all stripes? Here I take issue with a point in the article below: I don’t see this act getting people mobilized to correct an abuse. Even though the other ecclesial communities who have some belief in Communion should stand up and demonstrate. Where are they??? Why aren’t the Catholics as vocal as the Jews and Muslims are when they experience a preceived abuse of their theology? Think of the Danish cartoons that got Muslims excited.


Elizabeth Ela writes a piece for which is helpful. AND write to YouTube at the email address noted below to register your complaint.


adoration.jpgPeople can find a video of almost anything on YouTube: babies’ first steps, Saturday Night Live skits, news clips, concerts and now – to the shock of Catholics everywhere – desecration of the Eucharist.


YouTube has long been a destination for Catholics seeking video clips of Masses, apologetics lectures or devotions, but now Catholic outrage is growing as the site has become home to a string of videos depicting acts of Eucharistic desecration, including flushing a host down the toilet, putting one in a blender, feeding one to animals, shooting one with a nail gun and more. “I don’t know what to say,” said a stunned Msgr. C. Eugene Morris, professor of sacramental theology at Kenrick Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, when told about the videos. “I am outraged that YouTube is tacitly supporting this and giving this behavior an audience.”


The most prominent series of videos come from one YouTube user who claims to steal a consecrated host every day and desecrate each one in a different way. His videos began two months ago with the user saying into a webcam that he denied the Holy Spirit, then splitting a host in half and eating it with disrespect.


Most of the videos only have a few hundred views – relatively low for YouTube standards – although the latest installment, “Eucharistic Desecration #33: Nail Gun,” has been watched over 1,000 times.


The user, who lists his first name as Dominique, has also posted a video of his receiving communion at an unidentified Catholic church and removing the host from his mouth in the church parking lot. Msgr. Morris said people need to “stand up” for their faith in cases like this. Some have taken up the challenge.


Thomas Serafin is president of the International Crusade for Holy Relics, an internet watchdog group of Catholic laymen. His group has been fighting online affronts to the Catholic Church, including the sale of the Eucharist and of relics of the saints online, for more than a decade. “YouTube has to be held accountable and stopped,” Serafin said from Los Angeles. “If Catholics don’t take a stand right now, they can expect such outrages to continue.”


Serafin added: “The internet is, in many ways, a new world, and it is our duty to evangelize this world, but we have to speak up and be heard to do that.”


YouTube’s content policy technically restricts users from posting videos that contain hate speech or “shocking and disgusting” elements.


“We encourage free speech and defend everyone’s right to express unpopular points of view,” YouTube’s Community Guidelines state. “But we don’t permit hate speech (speech which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity).”


YouTube spokesperson Kathleen Fitzgerald asked for additional links to the desecration videos, but did not respond to a request for comment prior to the publication of this story.

However, YouTube defines hate speech as “content that promotes hatred against members of a protected group. For instance, racist or sexist content may be considered hate speech. Sometimes there is a fine line between what is and what is not considered hate speech. For instance, it is generally okay to criticize a nation, but not okay to make insulting generalizations about people of a particular nationality.”


The guidelines add, “YouTube is not a shock site. Don’t post gross-out videos of accidents, dead bodies or similar things intended to shock or disgust.”


Users may “flag” offensive videos, which YouTube says will alert their reviewers to videos that may violate content guidelines. A video featuring the Eucharist desecrated with a knife was flagged by Headline Bistro staff but remains on YouTube.


“Here you have someone attacking another group, and there’s no outcry,” Msgr. Morris said. “We’re not hurting anybody or attacking other’s beliefs,” he added, saying he would ask perpetrators of Eucharistic desecration, “Why are you so concerned about this? Why is it your business?”


One name still making the rounds in YouTube and bloggers’ discussions on Eucharistic desecration is Paul Z. Myers, the University of Minnesota professor who asked his blog readers in July to “score” him “some consecrated communion wafers.”


“If any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare,” Myers wrote in response to the case of a University of Central Florida student who stole a consecrated host the previous month.


Myers later posted a picture of a host – which he claimed was consecrated and sent to him via mail – as well as pages from the Koran and atheist Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” in a trash can, underneath coffee grounds and a banana peel.


As for the current YouTube videos, Dominique cited Myers as inspiration for the video series. In terms of the response he’s received for his own acts of Eucharistic desecration, Dominique said most reactions are “quite funny.”


“The best I have are from moderate Catholics,” he wrote in an email to Headline Bistro. “Catholics who really believe that a cracker can become somebody after a magic ritual don’t get the point, but some moderate Catholics who see the wafer as a symbol of Jesus’ flesh realize something. Sometimes they disagree with what I do, but they realize that some of their friends are quite insane and that something must be done about that.”


Fr Eugene Morris.jpgMsgr. Morris refuted Dominique’s portrayal of believing Catholics as “insane.”

“If you don’t believe in the mystery of Christ, then of course you don’t understand the sublime mystery of the Eucharist,” Morris said.


“We have confidence,” he added, in what “(Christ) has said to us” in regards to the Eucharist. Morris also pointed out the many examples of men and women who died for their faith in the Eucharist over the past 2,000 years.


Serafin said people should call or write YouTube to demand that the videos be taken down. YouTube’s public relations email address is


“Christ died on the cross for us,” said Serafin. “The least we can do is defend him in cases like this.”

Biological Evolution: Faith & Science Evaluate

An international conference “Biological Evolution: Facts and Theories. A Critical
human evolution.jpgAppraisal 150 years after ‘The Origin of Species,'” will be held in Rome 3-7 March 2009.


This conference is jointly organized by the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome) and the University of Notre Dame (Indiana) coordinated by the Pontifical Council for Culture as a project of STOQ (Science, Theology and the ontological Quest).


About STOQ


Seeking to foster a dialogue between science and religion, between science and
STOQ logo.jpgfaith, three universities in Rome (Italy), under the coordination of the Pontifical Council for Culture, have launched an initiative entitled “Science, Theology and the Ontological Quest” (STOQ), a project that unites professionals from the fields of theology, philosophy and scientific investigation, in the common search for the truth.


STOQ, following the teaching of the Church as found in documents like Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason), published by Pope John Paul II in 1998.

“The Church needs science and science needs religion. Science purifies religion of error and superstition; religion purifies science of idolatry and false absolutes,” Cardinal Paul Poupard, President-emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

STOQ seeks to promote this dialogue by means of formative courses, in-depth investigations, publications, congresses and a student exchange program. Targeting professors and students alike, the project has three centers of investigation in each of the universities collaborating in the initiative:

The Pontifical Gregorian University will concentrate on the foundations of philosophy of science.

The Pontifical Lateran University will focus on the relation between the scientific and humanistic disciplines, especially Logic and Epistemology.

The Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum will focus on the relations among the fields of philosophy, theology and the science of life, especially through its faculty of Bioethics.

The STOQ project seeks to create a new mentality within the Catholic Church that is open to the challenges that science presents to society and our faith of today, while promoting a new outlook in the realms of science, seeking the truth and at the same time open to the mystery of transcendence of the human person.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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