Initiatives of the Theology Department
The Theology Department at the University of St. Thomas is the home of a number of initiatives, including the Theological Encounters Initiative with its programs on Encountering Islam and Encountering Orthodoxy (especially through the work of IOTA: International Orthodox Theological Association, whose founding President, Paul Gavrilyuk, is a member of the Theology faculty). The Department is also the home of the Science and Theology Network (STN) and the Institute for Catholicism and Citizenship (ICC). These projects demonstrate the Department's commitment to interreligious and ecumenical dialogue, interdisciplinary engagement, and civil discourse.
This online portal to a six-unit series on dismantling racism by University of St. Thomas faculty provides free access to videos as well as some additional tools and materials that aim to educate for social transformation. The theory guiding this series is that the racial history we all inherit is dehumanizing for all of us, though it is dehumanizing for white folks in different ways than it is dehumanizing for black folks and for other people of color. The only way to “become human” is to confront the legacy of white supremacy.
Encountering Islam at the University of St. Thomas fosters mutual understanding and cooperation between Christians and Muslims. Emphasizing theological dialogue as a means of fostering interreligious appreciation and understanding, the program sponsors opportunities to encounter one another through activities, lectures, workshops, dinners, and other events.
The Theology Department established its “Encountering Orthodoxy” program as a response to the call of the Second Vatican Council to contribute to the healing of divisions among Christians (Unitatis Redintegratio, 1). Among these divisions, the schism between the Latin West and the Byzantine East has been one of the most enduring and consequential in the history of Christianity. For this reason, the restoration of communion between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches has been a priority of the pontificates of John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis. The “Encountering Orthodoxy” program seeks to contribute to a strengthening of pan-Orthodox unity via the work of the International Orthodox Theological Association (IOTA).
The Science and Theology Network (STN) is an active group of educators, students, pastors, lay people, and interested others who have an interest in the engagement of science and theology. We offer public lectures, faculty forums, a reading group, and special events throughout the year that include how scientific developments like evolution, neuroscience, and cosmology can be understood theologically. Our sole mission is to create forums that hightlight the interactions between science and theology.
Housed in the Theology Department of the University of St. Thomas, the Institute for Catholicism and Citizenship (ICC) engages the Catholic intellectual tradition, particularly Catholic social thought, to offer a locus for deepening the dialogue between the Church and the world. We work within a democratic ethos in order to encourage robust civil discourse, faithful citizenship, and the common good. The ICC fosters theological insight and interdisciplinary inquiry in a manner that takes up the invitation from Vatican II.