Notre Dame joins Vatican initiative on evolutionary theory and faith

Author: Arts and Letters


The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture, six pontifical universities and the University of Notre Dame’s John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values announced Tuesday (Sept. 16) during a Vatican press conference that they will sponsor “Project Evolution,” a groundbreaking series of conferences and workshops in 2009.

The events will encourage a dialogue on evolutionary theory and faith between scientists, philosophers and theologians and take place during the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s “Origin of the Species.”

An international conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University from March 3 to 7 will focus on the known facts of evolution, evolutionary mechanisms, the origin of man, anthropological questions about evolution and its philosophical and theological aspects.

A Notre Dame workshop in November 2009 will focus on the impact of evolutionary theory on other disciplines.

A final workshop in October 2010 will concentrate on the philosophical lessons of evolution theory.

The Reilly Center has been working in collaboration with the Vatican Council for Culture’s Science, Theology and the Ontological Quest (STOQ) Project to organize “Project Evolution.” The STOQ Project began in 2000 as a means of building a philosophical bridge between science and theology in such as way as to make a meaningful contribution to confronting the urgent concerns of our day.

The Reilly Center was established in 1985 and is named for the father of an alumnus whose gift created the initial endowment for the center. Through conferences and publications emphasizing the complementary roles of scientific, technological, ethical and humanistic perspectives, the center seeks to highlight scholarship reflecting the interplay of these viewpoints and to stimulate broad public discussion of critical issues.

Gerald McKenny, associate professor of Christian ethics, is director of the center, and a group of elected faculty fellows is responsible for operational insight of the center’s programs.

Contact: Gerald McKenny, director, Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values, 574-631-4520 (office), 574-850-6871 (cell),

Originally published by William G. Gilroy at on September 16, 2008.