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Creation of the Institute of Science and Faith

 

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PUCPR realises a twenty year old dream

31/05/2011: Brazil

The creation of the Institute of Science and Faith, on the part of the University Council, several months ago, represents a significant step for the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná, Brasil – PUCPR, in the sense of  realising what is proper to it as a a pontifical, Catholic and Marist university. It is a matter of a dream and concern of long standing.

In fact, in 1985, Br. Ivo Clemente Juliatto had already published, together with the  Rector of the time Euro Brandão, a little booklet entitled « Dialogue between science and faith ». In 1994, PUCPR published a special edition of the document « The Church’s presence in the university and in university culture », from the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for catholic Education. There were other publications affirming the identity of the Marist University.

 In showing its interest in the evangelization of the culture and the dialogue between  science and faith, PUCPR testifies to its communion with the objectives of the Marist Province of « Brasil Centro-Sul », and moves in the direction of the call of the XXI General Chapter, in 2009, which reaffirmed the priority of  evangelization (Acts, p. 64)

 PUCPR is conscious of the fact that the Church’s presence in the university and university culture requires discernment and an effort to promote a new Christian culture, since the « the rupture between Gospel and culture is, without doubt, the drama of our   epoch » (Pontifical Council of Culture, Towards a pastoral ministry of culture, Rome, 1990, n° 4). John-Paul II recalls on this subject that in the field of scientific research « a positivist mentality has come to be imposed which is not only far from any reference to the Christian  vision of the world, but has also and especially put aside any reference to a metaphysical and moral conception » (Cf. Fides et Ratio, Rome, 1998, n° 46). Thus, it is important to « put all efforts towards a generous evangelization of culture » (Towards a pastoral ministry of culture, n° 4).

In its educational and pastoral activities, PUCPR reflects on the thinking of the Church and intends to make it present. In line with the newly beatified John-Paul II, the university is convinced that « a field of special interest to the Catholic University is the dialogue between Christian thought and modern science. This task requires people especially well versed in the particular  disciplines, equally provided with an adequate theological formation and capable of facing up to the questions of epistemology on the  level of the relationship between faith and reason » (John-Paul II, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, n° 46).

As a Catholic University, therefore, PUCPR « is called in a privileged way to become a significant dialogue partner in the academic, cultural and scientific world » and to engage in the dialogue between faith and culture and in the development of a culture rooted in faith. (Pontifical Council of Culture – The Church’s presence in the university and in university culture, Rome, 1994).

The objectives, courses of action and activities capable of orienting the action of the new Institute have been decided on, therefore, taking account of the above mentioned elements.

The creation of the Institute of Science and Faith is confirmation that « the principal task of higher education (…) is to clarify the search for the truth with the experience of faith, by clearly stating the complementarity between the certitudes of the intelligence and the convictions of the heart. Thus the wisdom of the warning: faith without reason can lead to myths and superstitions, and reason without faith takes no notice of the radical nature of being. The light of faith is not situated outside rational enquiry, as if limited or prevented it, but above it; it raises it and enlarges its horizon » (Marist Institute, Marist Mission in Higher Education, Rome, 2008, n° 17).

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