Catholic Theological Society of America

Catholic Theological Society of America

Call For Papers

Theology and Science Topic Session

Administrative Team:

Celia Deane-Drummond, University of Notre Dame (Convener)
Gloria Schaab, Barry University
Oliver Putz, Santa Clara University

Theme: Sensus Fidelium

Session Description:
“Sensus Fidelium.” Through baptism all the faithful are gifted and summoned to participate fully in the life and mission of the church”

Human Uniqueness:
The basis for this call is to explore traditional Catholic understanding of the human person and theological anthropology in the light of new developments across a range of different sciences. Catholic doctrine has put great emphasis on human uniqueness, both in the creation of human persons through ensoulment, the fall from grace in the Genesis account of original sin and the unique redemption of humanity through Jesus Christ. Emphasis on the dignity of the human person and its unique status relative to the rest of the created order is also presupposed and permeates Catholic social thought. The philosophy of personalism and stress on the unique human status has become sensus fidelium in a manner that seems to be presupposed both before and after the second Vatican council.

Such a view of human uniqueness has relied for the most part on a separation narrative through particular emphasis on a radical ontological difference between humans and all other creatures. There are, nonetheless, deep tensions between this position and a growing consensus across a range of contemporary sciences. Theologians engaged in theology and science discourse can either (a) confront such positions as out of keeping with faithful teaching and so reject the science or (b) they can find ways to adjust their theology in the light of earlier aspects of the tradition, or (c) both confront and affirm depending on the particular claims made by a particular science (d) affirm their faith commitments, yet reinterpret them in light of the insights from a particular science. The criteria for accommodation or rejection are not always made clear and relevant philosophical tools are important in this context.

We invite papers from those who are prepared to engage with the natural sciences broadly conceived, such as neuroscience and medical sciences, or anthropology, psychology, or different aspects of animal behavior and evolutionary science in order to develop original papers on this theme. We particularly encourage those versed in philosophy to offer papers, but we will be ready to accept proposals whose orientation is from a range of different sub-disciplines within theology, including historical, systematic, or moral theology.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Proposal should be not more than 250 words.
  • You should also include a 100 words précis that will be posted on the CTSA website should your paper be accepted.
  • Include full name and contact information of all participants, including e-mail.
  • Indicate whether your presenters will be requiring A/V equipment. 
  • CTSA guidelines require that those making proposals ordinarily be associate or full members in good standing with their dues paid up.  Anyone with an associate or full membership application on file can also submit a proposal if they expect to be accepted for membership in the upcoming June convention. 
  • No member may present a paper/respond to a paper/participate on a panel more than once at a given convention, with the exception of members of under-represented groups.

Deadline: September 1, 2014.  Please submit proposals to: Celia Deane-Drummond at
You will be notified by e-mail whether your paper has been accepted by September 14, 2014.