The Chesterton Speaker Series
These regular events sponsored by the Seattle G. K. Chesterton Society take place at the Catholic Newman Center at the University of Washington, located at 4502 20th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105. Please see the map available here.
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Upcoming 2013-2014 Season:
- Thursday, October 24, 2013 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Separating Church and State (Muñoz)
- Thursday, November 21, 2013 . . . . . . Catholic Education in the 21st Cenury (Fraga)
- Thursday, January 23, 2014 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . “What an Event!” or . . . (Curran)
- Thursday, February 20, 2014 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Chesterton on the Family (de Solenni)
- Thursday, April 10, 2014 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .A Scattering of Mustard Seeds (Bradshaw)
- Thursday, May 15, 2014 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .The Meaning of Life (Goggans)
Having Faith in Reason
Dr. Steve Duncan
In discussions of faith and reason, the emphasis tends to be on the question of the status of faith as a source of knowledge. In this evening’s discussion, the spotlight will fall on the other member of this supposedly opposed pair. What is reason? What role does reason play in the pursuit of truth? Our speaker Steve Duncan will contend that to have faith in reason as a source of truth is already to have implicit faith in God as the author of our rational faculties.
Steven Duncan is Professor of Philosophy at Bellevue College, Bellevue, Washington. He is the author of four books of philosophy: A Primer on Virtue Ethics, How Free Will Works, The Proof of the External World–Cartesian Theism and the Possibility of Knowledge, and Philosophy of Religion. He is married to Cora, and worships at St. Thomas Parish in Tukwila. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Washington in 1987.
Chesterton Speaker Series 2013 – 2014
“Did the Founding Fathers Intend to Separate Church from State?”
Dr. Vincent Phillip Muñoz
University of Notre Dame
Is “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional? Can the Ten Commandments be posted on public property? Did the Founding Fathers intend to separate church from state or religion from politics? Dr. Muñoz will address these questions by exploring the church-state principles of James Madison, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and by explaining how the Founding Fathers might help us resolve contemporary church-state controversies.
Vincent Muñoz received his doctorate from Claremont Graduate School in 2001, and is the Tocqueville Associate Professor of Religion and Public Life and Associate Professor of Law, at the University of Notre Dame. His recent research focuses on the theme of religious liberty and the American Constitution. His award-winning first book, God and the Founders: Madison, Washington, and Jefferson, is being followed by a sequel, and by a third book: Religious Liberty & American Constitutionalism.
Catholic Education for the 21st Century:
Expanding Access to Build Inclusive Communities of Faith
Dr. Luis Ricardo Fraga
University of Washington
It is estimated that at least 1400 Catholic schools have closed in the United States from 2000 to the present. As a result, there are now 500,000 fewer seats available in Catholic schools. In 2007-08 there were 691,000 empty seats in Catholic schools throughout the country. Additionally, only 24% of self-identified Catholics attend Mass at least once per week.
Do Catholicism and Catholic education have a future in the United States? How will that future be structured by the dramatic shifts in the demographic profile of practicing Catholics in the U.S. over the last two decades? What is the place of an educated Catholic in the “modern” world, who wants to be a contributor to the ongoing American experiment? As a prominent and widely respected figure in higher education who has also worked directly on Catholic education in the Seattle Archdiocese, Dr. Fraga will offer his insights regarding Catholics, Catholic education, and the the role educated Catholics in society and the public square.
Luis Fraga received his doctorate in Political Science from Rice University in 1984 and his A.B., cum laude, from Harvard in 1978. Now at the University of Washington, he is the Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement, Russell F. Stark University Professor, Director of the Diversity Research Institute, and Professor of Political Science. He has been on the faculty at Stanford University, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Fraga has authored and co-authored five books and has published widely in scholarly journals and academic volumes. He has received fifteen awards for his teaching, mentoring, and advising. In 2011 he was appointed by President Obama to the Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. In 2012 Dr. Fraga was recognized as a Champion of Catholic Education by the Archdiocese of Seattle Fulcrum Foundation.
“What an event!” or “What, an event?”
Dr. Tom Curran
Trinity Formation Resources
Please join Tom Curran as he reflects on the concept of “event” and how it offers a path to a more dynamic life of faith for Catholics today. Tom will draw upon the writings of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Fr. Luigi Giussani (Founder of Communion and Liberation), Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Blessed Pope John Paul II who have all highlighted the importance of this theme in their theological writings. He will also share implications for our daily lives as disciples.
Tom Curran has a graduate degree from Gregorian University in Rome, and a Ph.D. in systematic theology from the Catholic University of America. Since 1995 he has been Director of Trinity Formation Resources, a non-profit ministry dedicated to greater understanding, living and sharing of the Catholic faith. As Director of Evangelization for North America and the Caribbean he enabled worldwide responses to Pope John Paul II’s goals for the Great Jubilee Year 2000. Dr. Curran has served as a consultant to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, taught at Rivier College in New Hampshire, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the national Council for Catholic Evangelization, as a retreat leader and counselor for clerics and laity of all ages, and over the years has given more than 1,000 presentations to 200,000 Catholics in thirty states and six countries.
Keystone of Society: The Family according to Chesterton
Dr. Pia de Solenni
The most important things we can discover are often things we already know. G.K. Chesterton is a voice for the present moment and for the New Evangelization, in the central place he gives to things local and particular and especially the family. What does he remind us about the family as the indispensable cell and building block of any real society? And as the hearth for nurturing mature human beings destined for an eternity that is even bigger than anything “global”? In his autobiography Chesterton recalls how his grandfather (a local “monument and a landmark”) “kept up the ancient Christian tradition of singing at the dinner-table.” Also at the table, we find John Paul II and his Familiaris Consortio (the Community of the Family, 1981), with the invitation that “the future of humanity passes by way of the family.” What more is on Chesterton’s serving tray?
Pia de Solenni earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts-Great Books from Thomas Aquinas College, a B.A. in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, a Sacred Theology Licentiate and a Ph.D. in Sacred Theology summa cum laude from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. For her doctoral work, Pope John Paul II personally conferred on Dr. de Solenni the 2001 Award of the Pontifical Academies. As an ethicist and cultural analyst, Dr. de Solenni owns her own consulting firm, Diotima Consulting, and specializes in issues relating to women’s health, life issues, the new feminism, Catholicism, and culture. She has appeared on as several national radio and television talk shows, and her writing has been published in the Wall Street Journal Europe, the Washington Post, National Catholic Reporter, Our Sunday Visitor and National Review Online.
A Scattering of Mustard Seeds
Rev. Jordan Bradshaw, O.P.
University of Washington
What does the New Evangelization mean to today’s college student? Father Bradshaw will address the mission of Newman Center at the University of Washington and also speak to some of the similar questions that other Newman Centers face across the country. His remarks will come from many of the day-to-day discussions with students at the Center and their experiences on university campuses.
Fr. Jordan Bradshaw joined the Dominicans of the Western Dominican Province in 1983 after graduating from the University of Arizona. He has been a priest for 21 years and has served as a parish priest, campus minister, and retreat director throughout the United States and the Archdiocese of Seattle. He is currently the Director of the Prince of Peace Newman Center at the University of Washington.
Some Very Good Theories on the Meaning of Life
Dr. Phillip Goggans
Morehead State University
It was once widely held that there was an objective meaning of human life. Now it is commonly said that life is meaningless or that it has only whatever meaning one gives it. One reason for the new skepticism is the presumed absence of a plausible theory. It seems that any theory specific enough to provide direction to anyone in particular could not possibly hold for everyone. Any theory that could hold for everyone would not give direction to anyone. But this is wrong. Some philosophically defensible theories have clear application to life. So how do we choose between them? This is not a problem, since any one of such theories is true if and only if all of them are.
Phillip Goggans earned his B.A. in Biblical Languages from Asbury College, magna cum laude in 1985, an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Kentucky in 1987, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Syracuse University in 1993. He has written on topics in ancient philosophy, the history of ethics, metaphysics and political philosophy. Dr. Goggans taught philosophy at Seattle Pacific University from 1993 until 2006. He is now an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Morehead State University. Last but not least, Dr. Goggans is a former beloved president of the Seattle G. K. Chesterton Society.