Faith, Science, Climate Change and Pope Francis’s Encyclical Laudato Si: A Symposium, St. Michael’s College, Toronto


Saint Michael’s College Science Association and the University of St. Michael’s College will present a two hour symposium on climate change and the Pope’s encyclical Laudato Si.

The symposium Faith, Science, Climate Change and Pope Francis’s Encyclical Laudato Si will take place in

Charbonnel Lounge on January 28, 2016 from 4 to 6 pm.

The Charbonnel Lounge is located in Elmsley Hall (81 St. Mary St.) on the St . Michael’s College campus

The focus of the symposium is a discussion and a dialogue among scientists and theologians of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si with its focus on global warming and climate change. In the encyclical Pope Francis calls for such a dialogue. In Paragraph 13 and 14 of Laudato Si he wrote: “Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share. Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded. I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet.” Later in Paragraph 62 he wrote: “Science and religion, with their distinctive approaches to understanding reality, can enter into an intense dialogue fruitful for both.” The purpose of this symposium is to enter into the dialogue between science and religion that Pope Francis has called for.

To that end Moira McQueen will give a twenty minute key note address. There will then follow a panel discussion with scientists and theologians moderated by Robert K. Logan. The panel will include Paul Seungoh Chung, Dennis O’Hara, Richard Peltier, and Father Leo Reilly. Following the panel presentations there will be a Q & A session with the audience.

Dr. Moira McQueen graduated in law from the University of Glasgow, Scotland and practiced law there specializing in family law and juvenile court. She has a Master of Divinity and a PhD in Moral Theology from St. Michael’s Faculty of Theology. She is the Executive Director of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute. The Institute has a mandate to conduct research and education in bioethics from a Roman Catholic perspective, and pursues bioethical issues in palliative and end of life care, reproductive technologies, stem cell experimentation and regenerative medicine, genetics, mental health and other current areas. She is also a member of the Vatican Theological Commission that advise the Pope and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Dr. Paul Seungoh Chung is a pastor at the Toronto Korean Presbyterian Church. He has a BSc Hon from the University of Toronto and a PhD in philosophical theology/philosophy of religion He is the author of God at the Crossroads of Worldviews to be published by University of Notre Dame Press. He designed and taught an undergraduate course, Christianity and Science, which is part of the Christianity and Culture Program at St. Michael’s College.

Dean James Ginther is the Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the University of St. Michael’s College and also teaches at the Toronto School of Theology. He earned a PhD at the University of Toronto in medieval studies with a thesis that focused on the work of the theologian, scientist and statesman Robert Grosseteste. He has taught at the University of Leeds and St. Louis University (SLU). He is a pioneer of digital theology having helped to create the Center for Digital Theology at SLU, where he was the Director, and the T-Pen (Transcription for Paleographical and Editorial Notation) project. The T-Pen tool allows the transcription of manuscripts right on the screen avoiding the moving back and forth from screen to paper.

Prof. Dennis Patrick O’Hara is an associate professor and the director of the Elliott Allen Institute for Theology & Ecology at the Faculty of Theology in the University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto. He is also an associate member of the graduate faculty at the School for Environment at the University of Toronto. As a former chiropractor and naturopathic doctor, he has been a consultant for the World Health Organization and the Natural Health Products Directorate of Health Canada where he facilitated six international consultations.

Prof. Richard Peltier is a University Professor in the Physics Department of the University of Toronto. He is Director of the Centre for Global Change Science, the Principal Investigator of the Polar Climate Stability Network 
and the Scientific Director of SciNet. His research interests include atmospheric and oceanic waves and turbulence, geophysical fluid dynamics, the physics of the planetary interior and planetary climate. He is the author of 248 refereed publications.

Father Leo Reilly is a Basilian Priest who studied with Marshall McLuhan in the 1950s. He holds a St. Michael’s College Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science. He received a PhD from the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies. Fr. Reilly taught at Basilian high schools in Calgary, Edmonton and Sudbury and at the University of Windsor. He is the author of a Latin grammar book, “Summa Super Priscianum.” He was a parish priest for 25 years in St. Anne’s Parish in the Greater Detroit area. He is an editor and contributor of Stirrings, A Peace & Justice Newsletter.

Prof. Robert K. Logan is a Fellow of St. Michael’s College where teaches the McLuhan Seminar and What is Information? He teaches The Poetry of Physics and the Physics of Poetry in the U of T Physics Department. He is the Chief Scientist of the sLab at OCAD University.

Click on the image below to watch a 6 minute video about the main ideas of Laudato si:

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