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"Keeping Scientifically Informed: A Duty for Theologians and the Church Magisterium"

10/07/2021 8:55 AM | Anonymous

"Keeping Scientifically Informed: A Duty for Theologians and the Church Magisterium"

by Jame Schaefer, Marquette University

Designee of the CTSA Workshop of the Committee on Doctrine
with the Learned Societies Laudato Si':
Science, Responsibility, and Solidarity. 
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (March 11, 2021).

CTSA member Jame Schaefer would enjoy any comments and questions--especially regarding her three recommendations to the Committee on Doctrine (p. 184).  A link to the paper she presented follows along with the three recommendations to the Committee on Doctrine.  Join the conversation!

Click here to access Jame Schaefer's paper (pdf)

  1. Become an advocate for the quest for scientific information--encourage and affirm the quest for knowledge about God's creation.  In this role, you are not confirming scientific findings because confirming them does not fall within your purview.  Instead you are confirming the search for scientific knowledge that may help you teach about our faith in cogent, meaningful ways.
  2. Establish a scientific panel to (i) alert you to scientific findings, (ii) meet periodically on issues at the boundaries of doctrine/faith and science, and (iii) provide scientific clarity that can inform magisterial discourse.  To identify scientists who are eminently qualified to serve, consider asking the American Association for the Advancement of Science to request its Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion to recommend highly qualified scientist for you to invite.
  3. Initiate within your seminaries and in continuing education of priests opportunities to become informed by the natural sciences and to probe their significance for preaching and teaching our faith in ways that make sense to an increasingly educated "people in the pews." Our priests need basic scientific knowledge about God's creation.  Our priests need to be ecologically informed so they can help the faithful discern how to respond morally to human-forced climate change and other complex issues.


  • 10/15/2021 12:00 PM | Thomas J Massaro SJ
    We all owe a great debt of gratitude to Dr. Jame Schaeffer for her expert analysis contained in this short essay. She packs a lot of wisdom (not to mention some especially apt distinctions about the prudent division of labor between scientists and theologians and climate activists) into a succinct package. Keep up the good work on behalf of CTSA!
    Link  •  Reply

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