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Regina Apostolorum in Rome to Host Vatican Conference
Ontogeny and Human Life” Congress to Bring Faith and Science into Dialogue

International Conference

Vatican City, November 6, 2007.  In coordination with the Pontifical Academy for Life, the Legionaries’ Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College in Rome will be hosting an international conference on the origin and development of the human embryo, bringing faith and science into dialogue on a hot-topic issue.

The conference, which will take place November 15-17, is part of a Vatican teaching and research program entitled “Science, Theology and the Ontological Quest.” The program involves six pontifical universities in Rome, which are coordinated by the Pontifical Council for Culture and financially supported by the John Templeton Foundation and other institutions. The program was created in 2003 to further explore the relationship between science and faith.

Father Rafael Pascual, LC, the dean of philosophy at Regina Apostolorum, said that the topic of ontogeny was chosen because of its timeliness and urgency.  "The study of human life from the point of view of its individual origin acquires a particular interest in today´s world," he said. Issues such as assisted fertility, cloning, genetic manipulation and embryonic stem cell research make this a timely issue, if not an explosive one.

The Regina Apostolorum, which had the first university bioethics faculty in the world, is a fitting location for such a discussion. Father Pascual also commented that this topic would provide an ideal opportunity to further develop discussion on the subject of a previous conference hosted five years ago at the university: evolution “as a meeting point between science, philosophy, and theology.”

The topic of the origins of human life—whether that of the species or that of a unique individual— is of world-shaping importance. But by calling together such a scientific conference, the Church is also engaging in another important task: she is demonstrating to the scientific world that it is possible to bring faith and science into dialogue in a rational way.

The upcoming conference will tackle the question of the origins and development of human life from a multitude of viewpoints, including experts from fields such as biology, law, medicine, and anthropology. This multi-faceted approach is characteristic of the approach outlined in the apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae, published by Pope John Paul II on August 15, 1990: “In a Catholic university, research necessarily includes (a) the search for an integration of knowledge, (b) a dialogue between faith and reason, (c) an ethical concern, and (d) a theological perspective” (Ex Corde Ecclesiae, #15).

The Vatican conference at Regina Apostolorum will carry out this integrated study of the origins and development of human life in four sections of presentations and debate. These four sections will examine the issue from the point of view of its biological aspects, biomedical aspects, philosophical and theological aspects, and bioethical and juridical aspects.

Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, affirmed that the ultimate objective of the project is “to contribute to a dialogue between areas of investigation and study that the modern age has been gradually separating from each other.” The purpose, he said, “is to establish stable bridges and fruitful exchanges between science, philosophy, and theology by means of dialogue between experts in these fields.”

The conference will be transmitted to other research and study centers through by videoconferencing systems. Its participants will include scientists, researchers, and students.

Since its institution five years ago, the STOQ (Science, Theology, and the Ontological Quest) program has involved 650 university students from 56 countries, who have presented 11 doctoral theses and dozens of licentiate theses. More than 70 public conferences and 12 workshops have been organized.

To read more about the upcoming conference, follow this link



Related links web site
New Gate Tours
Institute for the Psychological Sciences
Magdala Center
Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center
Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College

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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.

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