Monday, June 25, 2007
It's an odd term. Science is based on repeatable verifiable data. Religion is based on a belief in something that can't be seen. How can they come together? The term is vaguely reminiscent of Rudolf Steiner's "spiritual-science". Steiner was a Rosicrucian Mason, founder of the religion of Anthroposophy which relies on clairvoyance.
I happened to be reading a story on the "Chilean bishops requests study on satanic groups" at the Catholic News Agency website the other day. The story opens this way:
Bishop Manuel Camilo Vial of Temuco, Chile, has requested the Institute of Religious Science at the local Catholic university conduct a study on the satanic groups that exist in the region.
Huh? Institute of Religious Science at a Catholic University? What could that be?
Further digging brought up "Roman Opus Dei Institute Becomes Pontifical University":
The Pontifical University of the Holy Cross includes schools of theology, canon law, and philosophy as well as Apollinare Institute of Religious Science.
And a USCCB webpage:
Lasma Latsone of Latvia graduated from Fordham University with a PhD in Religion and Religious Education in the spring of 2004. She was sponsored by the Office to Aid the Church in Central and Eastern Europe at the United States Bishops’ Conference. Today back in Latvia she teaches religion at the Institute of Religious Science and the Pedagogical Academy, and she is involved in the newly-established Latvian Catholic Women’s Association.
Then there was the story on the evolution of the University of St. Thomas Aquinas at Answers.com:
On July 2, 1964, the Superior Institute of Religious Science for the laity, Mater Ecclesiae, was incorporated into the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Several other Institutes of theological and philosophical studies are affiliated with the University.
On the Vatican website I found:
Visit of Cardinal Daoud to Egypt for celebrations commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Seminary of Maadi and the 25th Anniversary of the Institute of Religious Science of Sakakini (November 7-11, 2003)
I don't get it. And my efforts to find out what exactly this Catholic religious science was about have been a failure so far, even though I found this discipline or school or theology--whatever it is--in Catholic places in Lebanon, Lucerne, Madrid, and Naples.
There is a Religious Science International whose mission statement indicates:
The mission of Religious Science International, as a world religion with world concerns, is to create an environment that nurtures and celebrates the individualized, authentic expression of Spirit through the principles of the Science of the Mind.
Ok, what is "Science of Mind" about? That question led me to Ernest Holmes, the Founder of Religious Science, where I read:
The philosophy of Religious Science is found in a textbook written by Dr. Holmes called, The Science of Mind. It was first published in 1926 and revised in 1938.
The book is online here. Yikes! "The State of Trance," "Normal Psychic Capacities," "Abnormal Psychic Powers," "Clairvoyance"...and that's just the first page. And across the top of the website the words "New Thought Library", "Read New Thought Online".
Excuse me! can this be the same thing that is turning up in a school at Catholic institutions? Are the Catholics studying this so as to address it or so as to embrace it? So far I haven't been able to find the answer.