Historic Holy See congress to bring together science, philosophy and theology


This morning at the Holy See, a group of Vatican and academic leaders announced an historic congress, to be held later this month, which will seek to discuss and unite commonalities in the fields of science, theology and philosophy. 

Plans for the First International Congress of the STOQ Project (Science, Technology and the Ontological Quest) were presented in the Vatican press office this morning by Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Msgr. Gianfranco Basti, director of the STOQ Project, Rodolfo Guzzi of the Italian Space Agency, and Vincenzo Cappelletti, professor of the history of science at Rome's "Roma Tre" university.

The congress will be held at Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University from November 9th through the 11th, on the theme: "Infinity in the Sciences, in Philosophy and in Theology.".

Cardinal Poupard, president of STOQ and whose dicastery gives considerable patronage to the project through the Pontifical Universities in Rome, told journalists that the aim of the initiative is "to create a new climate of dialogue within the Catholic Church between scientific culture, ... and our daily life."

He said that the ultimate goal of the project, "rather than limiting itself to a specialized study of theoretical problems, is to contribute to changing the mentality of believers towards the sciences.”

“At the same time,” he said however, “the project seeks to offer the world of science competent partners with whom to maintain a respectful dialogue on the many questions raised by the development of science today, especially natural science."

For his part, Msgr. Basti announced that the congresses will be held every two years.

"The project”, he said, “aims to promote dialogue between science, philosophy and theology by organizing courses and research activities which, over the first three years, have already involved two Pontifical Universities, the Lateran and the Gregorian, and the Pontifical Athenaeum 'Regina Apostolorum.'“

“Over the next few years,” he continued, “other Pontifical Universities will become involved, in the first place the Salesian and the Holy Cross, as well as ... certain European Universities such as the University of Navarre, Spain, of Lublin, Poland, and of Namur, Belgium."

Professor Guzzi said that "this congress will study the conceptions of infinity that emerge from physics, cosmology and mathematics, seeking to find responses to the questions arising from various scientific theories and from the readings supplied by modern radio telescopes, in order to create as unitary a vision as possible."

Scheduled attendees for the upcoming congress include professors from the Universities of Princeton, Oxford and Indiana, as well as two rabbis, both experts in the conference theme.

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