Home Page

Christian Thought & Pluralism in Modernity


In order to give continuation to the cooperative process that in March of 2015 culminated with the realization in Rome of an International Conference on «Renewing the Church in a Secular Age: Holistic and Kenotic Vision» conjointly organized by the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (Washington, DC) and the Pontificia Università Gregoriana, COMIUCAP is now inviting its members (old and new) to engage in a joint Research Project on «Christian Thought and the Challenges of Pluralism in Modernity».

The Christian tradition has contributed a substantive number of formative themes to modern cultures and civilization(s). These include the view that human beings are made in the image of God, that every human being has a basic dignity, that issues of moral character and spiritual formation are more expressive of human nature than materialist pursuits or worldly success, that we must maintain a balance between individual rights and the common good, that the Church has an important role to play in society, that there is reasonable hope for eternal life with God. Yet in recent times the Christian perspective has been challenged by a multiplicity of trends as they appear embedded in the secularizing processes at work within the multiple modernities of both the past and our own age. The Secular Age is now more than ever endowed with an international dimension and can be found at work within the many cultures and civilizations of the world. The dialectic of Secularity and Post-Secularity is complex and touches the many dimensions that characterize the intellectual dimension of the Mission of the Church in the world of today. There is no doubt that, and not just in the West, secular liberalism tends to promote themes and issues that pose, in one way or another, serious challenges to the Christian worldview. But since our main goal is to contribute to the continuation of any process leading up to the Renewal of the Church in the Secular Age, and all the more so as we just finished celebrating the first 50 years after the Council Vatican II, we recognize and want to assume as part of our intellectual and practical challenges the need to contribute towards the effort of an ever new historical configuration of a Church that understands its Mission as primarily being one of listening, discerning, welcoming and serving. Indeed, as a global network of scholars and catholic institutions of philosophy we share the kenotic vision and the holistic dimension of the dialogue that the Church is called to pursue with the multiplicity of cultures and civilizations of the world today.

The project is of an interdisciplinary nature and proposes to interested Scholars the shared engagement of research and scientific communication in areas such as the following: 1. Philosophical Anthropology and Metaphysics; 2. Ethics and Political Philosophy; 3. Epistemology and Philosophy of Science; 4. Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art; 5. Technology and Philosophy of Nature; 6. Philosophy of Religion and the Question of God; 7. Philosophy of History. Moreover, taken into account the transversal nature of this Research Program, we consider pertinent to enunciate the following –fields as well: 1. Education and the Future of the University; 2. Ecology, Technology, and Human Responsibility; 3. Life, Bio-politics, and Bioethics; 4. Economy, Justice and Solidarity; 5. Violence, Culture(s), and Security; 6. Religion, Values, and Moral Engagement; 7. Peace and Intercultural and Inter-religious dialogue.

The specificity of the topics to be handled will depend on the research teams themselves, but we would like to suggest the following: 1. Culture(s), Tradition(s) and the Public Realm; 2. Civil Society and the Life of the Church; 3. The Role of the Catholic Tradition in Education; 4. Religious Freedom in the Secular Space; 6. Catholic Tradition and Secularism; 7. Catholic Tradition and Liberal Political Theory; 8. Catholic Tradition and the Dialogue with Science; 9. Tolerance, Moral Relativism, and Modernity; 10. Pluralism, Truth, and Justice; 11. Religion and Secularism in the Public Sphere; 12. The Meaning of History and the Prophetic Experience; 13. Temporality, Historicity, and Finitude; 14. Philosophical Foundations of Compassion and Solidarity; 15. Religion, Violence and Peace.

As the project inserts itself in a wider search for dialogue among cultures and civilizations, religions and worldviews, our aim is inseparable from the promotion of deep and qualified reflection on the best ways to improve the ecclesial search for Peace and Justice at all levels and so try to develop a renewed debate on the Identity and Mission of the (Catholic) University in the world of today. Hence the relevance of questions such as the following: What can the Christian intellectual tradition bring to the dialogue and debate concerning religious plurality, cultural diversity, and the presence of values in the socio-economic and political spheres? What is the role of religion and secularism in the public square? How can we bring about the encounter between plural worldviews and the demands of science and technology? How can we understand the relationship between freedom and truth? How can we integrate notions such as tolerance, pluralism, and moral relativism? What are the philosophical foundations of human rights and human solidarity? How can we advance in the study of the many different issues related to contemporary inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogues? How can we respond to the issues of economic injustice and social inequality in modern societies? What can the Christian intellectual tradition learn from secularist and liberal approaches to the major issues of our time? What can be learned from the Enlightenment opposition to religion in general and to the Church in particular? How have Christian thinkers throughout the world responded to the challenges posed by the differently situated «plural modernities» ingrained in human history? What responses should be given by the Secular State to religious arguments, cultures and traditions? What role should philosophy and the arts play in the educational process of the modern State? What have been/are the models of co-existence and cooperation between the modern State and religious institutions? How can Church and State cooperate towards the goal of promoting Peace and Justice in the global world of today? How can Religion/Spirituality respond to the cosmopolitan challenges present in our world?

The Christian thinker of today cannot but be listening and discerning, free and responsible, dialogical and courageous, welcoming towards the good in others and capable of challenging all forms of reductionist simplifications when it comes to the service of Truth and Justice, of Love and Peace. This Research Project, therefore, intends not only to explore the many achievments and weaknesses of «secular modernity», but also shall look at the many ways in which Christian and Catholic thought has been able to both accommodate the strengths of the diverse modernities and anti-modernities throughout history as well as critically challenge the failures and shortcomings inherent to the «promises» with which the plural senses of modernity in today’s world attempt to re-direct the cultural and intellectual processes at work in human history across the great richness of traditions and cultures that are quintessential to the human condition.


Executive Commission

João J. Vila-Chã (President) Miguel Garcia-Baró (Vice-President for Europe) Salomón Lerner-Febres (Vice-President for Latin-America) Brendan Sweetman (Vice-President for North America) Janis T. Ozolins (Vice-President for Asia/Oceania) Joseph Agbakoba (Vice-President for Africa).

Scientific Board

[This Board is in the process of being constituted; the names here below still need to be confirmed; others will also join-in in due time].

Philip Capelle (France) • Charles Taylor (Canada) • José Casanova (United States of America) • Francis Jacques (France) • Hans Joas (Germany) • Jean-Luc Marion (France) • William Desmond (Belgium) • William Sweet (Canada) Jesús Conill (Spain) Miguel Giusti (Peru) • Vincent Shen (Taiwan) Adela Cortina (Spain) • John Millbank (United Kingdom) • Marcelo F. Aquino (Brasil) • Paul Dumouchel (Japan) • Richard Kearney (United States of America) • Thomas Menamparampil (India) • Louis Caruana (Italy) • Nicolas de Bremond Ars (France) • Tomas Halik (Czech Republic) • Adriano Fabris • Carlos Morujão (Portugal) • William Barbieri (United States of America) • Peter Jonkers (Netherlands) • Alfredo Culleton (Brasil) • Massimo Marassi (Italy) • Emmanuel Falque (France) • Bart Raymaekers (Belgium) • Josef Quitterer (Austria) [...].


Individual Researchers and Institutions interested in actively contributing towards the exploration of any aspect of COMIUCAP's Research Project are kindly asked to save the Registration Form, fill-in the information requested and send it to the address indicated as soon as possible. For further information or comments, please, contact us.


List of Participants (Ongoing & Provisory):

Anthony C. Ajah (Nigeria) • Paolo Benanti (Italy) • Marius Ciubaru (Romenia) • Indunill Kodithuwakku (Sri Lanka) • Graziano Lingua (Italy) • Monica Merutiu (Romenia) • Herta Nagel-Docekal (Austria) • Ludwig Nagl (Austria) • Pietro Ramellini (Italy) • Rodiel Rodriguez (Colombia) • Marko Trajkovic (Serbia) • Paolo Trianni (Italy) • Michal Valko (Slovakia) …