Benedictine University's 12th Annual Faith and Reason Symposium presents:

"The Earth He Has Given to the Sons of Men:
Respecting the Gift of Creation"

Friday, March 29, 2019
8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Birck Hall Atrium & Tellab Auditorium, Kindlon 5th Floor
Sponsored by: The Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies.
For more information, contact Vince Gaddis at or (630) 829-6262,
or Lynn Dransoff at or (630) 829-6250.
William French Keynote Address: “Religion and Science in an Age of Climate Change: All Hands on Deck”

Summary:  Many see religion and science as antagonists.  But the growing climate crisis underscores how the two must be allies.  Though Pope Francis is dubbed by many as a “liberal” or a “progressive”, he is at the same time deeply “traditionalist” and “conservative” in seeking to recover the creation-centered stance of the Medieval Church that understood human life as a participant within a broader community of creation. Both the Protestant and Catholic communities tended to lose an interest in the nonhuman natural world once the rise of modern European science asserted that this realm is best understood as a mechanistic realm. But the rise of ecological concerns is reminding us of humanity’s dependency on the well being of nature and of our religious and moral obligations of caring for creation.  This suggests that for religious people, science in not an enemy, but rather a theological ally in helping us understand how God created and sustains life on Earth and how we might help in this remarkable work.

Featured Guest

Keynote Speaker: Dr. William French, Loyola University

Bill FrenchCurrently Associate Professor of Christian Ethics at Loyola University, Chicago.  He received his MDiv degree from Harvard University, and his PhD from the University of Chicago.  His research interests are religious ethics, ecological ethics and policies, and war and peace issues.  He has directed Loyola’s Center for Ethics, and has published in numerous journals, books and encyclopedias.

William French grew up in Maryland. He received his M.Div. from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in ethics and society from the University of Chicago.  He has taught religious ethics at Loyola University since 1985. He is in the Theology Department but is also affiliated with Loyola’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability. He served as director of Loyola’s Center for Ethics and serves now as director of Loyola’s Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies Program. He has published widely on religion & nature, environmental ethics, Aquinas, the natural law heritage, war & peace issues, climate change, just war theory, gun control concerns, and ethics & literature.  He serves on the board of the National Catholic Center of Holocaust Studies.


Schedule of Events
 8:00 - 8:50  Registration & Refreshments
 9:00 - 11:30  Morning Panel
 11:30 - 1:00  Lunch & Keynote with William French
 1:15 - 3:30  Afternoon Panel

Luigi Manca, Ph.D., Professor of Communication Arts

Jean-Marie Kauth, Ph.D., Professor of Literature

Alfred Martin, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Biology

Alan Gorr, Ph.D., Professor of Public Health

Jack Thornburg, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology

Alicia Battle, Ph.D., Asst. Professor of Public Health

Peter Huff, Ph.D., Chief Mission Officer and Professor of Theology

G. Blair Nelson, Ph.D., Philosophy Instructor