Benedictine University Chapter
Society of Catholic Scientists
Benedictine University Chapter
SCS fosters fellowship among Catholic scientists to witness to the harmony between the vocation of scientist and the life of faith. The Society serves as a forum for reflection upon and discussion of questions concerning the relation of science and the Catholic faith. Furthermore, SCS acts as a resource for Catholic educators, pastors, and lay people, and for journalists and members of the general public, who have questions about the significance of scientific theories and discoveries and about the relation of science and faith.
This mission of SCS aligns well with the overall mission of BenU. Inspired by the Ten Hallmarks of Benedictine Education, and convinced of the harmony of faith and reason, BenU cultivates virtues of intellect and character, encouraging people to study, listen, and engage the ideas of a variety of persons, cultures, and disciplines, while imparting ”the love of learning and the desire for God” to guide a lifelong pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. As a Catholic University, BenU is guided by the academic ideals presented in the Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities Ex corde Ecclesiae. One of these ideals includes “a continuing reflection in light of the Catholic faith upon the growing treasury of human knowledge, to which we seek to contribute by our own research.”
Per the BenU vision statement, we “welcome people of diverse faiths and cultures.” BenU SCS events are open to people of all faith traditions in hopes of fostering a welcoming and inclusive culture of interreligious dialog.
SCS hopes to answer the call of Pope St. John Paul II that members of the Church who are active scientists be of service to those who are attempting to integrate the worlds of science and religion in their own intellectual and spiritual lives. SCS does this through annual conferences, symposia and seminars, discussion groups, lectures, and other activities.
In its first four years, SCS grew to over 1,300 members in 50 countries. Over 120 scientists attended its 2019 conference, along with dozens of theologians, philosophers, and historians. The Society of Catholic Scientists is listed in the Official Catholic Directory and is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization under the US Internal Revenue Code.
The Society of Catholic Scientists sponsors Gold Masses for Scientists and science students. This follows in the tradition of special Masses for members of particular professions. The oldest, the Red Mass for lawyers and lawmakers, was introduced in the 13th century. The first White Mass for health care professionals and Blue Mass for law enforcement personnel were begun in the 1930s. By promoting Gold Masses for Scientists around the world, SCS hopes to create spiritual fellowship among Catholic scientists, science educators and science students at the local level.
The very first Gold Mass in the state of Illinois was held at Benedictine University in 2019, and celebrated by Fr. John Kartje, Rector and President of Mundelein Seminary. He also delivered a presentation entitled “The Mystery of Faith: From the Gold Mass to Gravity Waves.” The second Gold Mass was held in 2020 at the Benedictine University Mesa campus by Fr. Alex Juguilon, OSC; it was live streamed to the Lisle campus. He also presented a reflection on faith and medicine, reflecting on his medical training.
At the national level, SCS hosts lectures and webinars that address topics pertinent to the Society’s mission. The Society hosts annual meetings for SCS members to professionally engage and present their latest research. Past conference sites have included the University of Notre Dame and the, Catholic University of America. SCS maintains biographies of famous Catholic scientists. Please see the SCS website for pertinent, articles, FAQ, other content.
In 2019, a new initiative began to establish college chapters at select institutions, sponsored by a $234,000 grant from the John Templeton Foundation. BenU is proud to be the host institution for one of such chapters. The BenU Chapter of SCS will serve as the hub for all Chicago-area SCS activities while growing membership from BenU and other regional institutions.
The BenU Chapter of SCS works collaboratively with other offices and groups at BenU, such as Campus Ministry, the Center for Mission and Identity, and the Interfaith Cooperation Committee, to plan other academic activities that address the complementarity of faith and science. We co-host a scholarly panel discussion associated with the BenU Faith and Reason Symposium each spring.