About the Symposium

The Symposium on Advancing the New Evangelization is an annual conference sponsored by the Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College. The Gregorian Institute’s mission is to contribute to the renewal of Catholic culture and the defense of religious liberty in America by engaging, equipping, and developing the next generation of Catholic leaders. The Symposium supports this mission and offers a unique forum for current and emerging leaders to share ideas and best practices.

At the Symposium scholars, field professionals, members of religious communities, clergy, and students present papers based on their research and professional experiences. It is a time of fellowship, reflection, and dialogue concerning topics integral to the New Evangelization. In this respect, the Symposium fulfills Pope Francis’ statement that  “Universities are outstanding environments for articulating and developing this evangelizing commitment in an interdisciplinary and integrated way. Catholic schools, which always strive to join their work of education with the explicit proclamation of the Gospel, are a most valuable resource for the evangelization of culture, even in those countries and cities where hostile situations challenge us to greater creativity in our search for suitable methods.” (Evangelii Gaudium, 134)

In his 2015 encyclical letter, Laudato Si, Pope Francis used the phrase, “technocratic paradigm” to describe an “epistemological paradigm which shapes the lives of individuals and the workings of society.”(#107) Not calling for a return to a pre-modern era, the Holy Father challenges all those engaged in the mission of the Church to think reflectively and critically about the role technology has in our lives. Pope Francis joins a chorus of modern thinkers, Christian and non-Christian who have sought to identify the hopes and challenges of living within a world of dominated by technology and instrumental reason.

Der Mensch als Industriepalast by Fritz Kahn

The theme of this year’s symposium, “Technology and the Human Person,” seeks to enter into this reflection and analysis, with an eye specifically turned towards the ways in which technological society shapes our understanding of the human person and the common good. We hope to develop a conversation between scholars and professionals from a variety of fields and disciplines that will not simply critique, but also propose solutions to living and evangelizing within a world dominated by technocratic thinking. We sense the need for deeper discernment, especially by Catholics, about the role technology has in shaping all facets of culture. To this end we have invited and seek to engage presenters who have expertise in the areas of theology, philosophy, history, political science, literature, and the arts, as well as biomedical science, communications technology, education, economics, and industry.