Symposium - Colloquium Sessions

Colloquium Session #1, 9:40 - 11:00 a.m.

Room 324

Mr. John Horvat, American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property
Presentation Title: The Frustrations of Technology

While technology facilitates material progress, it also represents challenges to the dignity of the human person and the search for meaning. Abuse of technology sustains a mindset that is mechanical and anti-metaphysical. Unlike machines, humans require pondered choices, creative opportunities and varied rhythms. Modern technology clashes with the spiritual side of an organic nature which is oriented toward God. During the Industrial Revolution, a technological paradigm shift changed lives by introducing a mania for speed, nausea for reflection and shallowness of thought. Dealing with the abuses of technology involves organizing a Christian society that naturally tempers technology's excesses. A second way is to apply the cardinal virtues to modern economic practices. The third way involves challenging the anti-metaphysical premises of technology that make the universe unintelligible. The Catholic Church is uniquely positioned to present solutions due to its doctrine and teachings.

Ms Meghan Schofield, John Paul II Institute, Washington DC
Presentation Title: Affection for Reality

Given today's  “technocratic paradigm “ I would like to propose a paper that explores man's current abstraction from the world of real things, and the role technology (especially social media) has played in that abstraction. While there will be a general critique of the purpose and structure of technology latent in my argument, I will seek to get beyond that to a holistic, integrated, and truly Catholic (we are not Amish, after all). I will argue that the proper integration of technology in our daily lives must take the form of letting technology accomplish its purpose of being mediator and connecting us to reality. This is only possible when we remember the proper order of image and reality, and when we rediscover an affection for the world God has given us. I will claim that the cultivation of an affective bond with the world is a central task in the New Evangelization. A concrete proposal will be outlined, so that technology may have its right place in our lives.

Dr. James Young, Benedictine College
Presentation Title: Constrained Moralization

This paper will explore the use of the technocratic paradigm within the social sciences, especially economics.  Pope Benedict XVI in Caritas in Veritate states,  “Technology is highly attractive because it draws us out of our physical limitations and broadens our horizon. But human freedom is authentic only when it responds to the fascination of technology with decisions that are the fruit of moral responsibility.“ (#70) In the former sentence the pope mirrors the technocratic aspect of economics which is conventionally defined as the pursuit of maximizing human desires subject to physical constraints. In the latter statement he hints at a limitation of the modern study of economics: the difficulty in weighing normative economic judgements. This paper will review attempts by economists to bypass normative judgements in order to pursue a social science reminiscent of engineering.  Unfortunately, as Pope Francis notes in Laudato Si,  “Decisions which may seem purely instrumental are in reality decisions about the kind of society we want to build.“ (#107)   The unfortunate side effect of the technocratic paradigm has been a loss of legitimacy of economic methods, which, if used more holistically, could contributed to a more integrated human development.

Room 323

Dr. Joseph Atkinson, Pontifical John Paul II Institute at the Catholic University of America
Presentation Title: Creation as Revelation: A Response to the Technocratic Paridigm

In every age there are perversions of truth and freedom that prevent man from committing himself to Christ.  Yet, the longing for existential truth and freedom remains. In our time, the scientific revolution has almost completed its task of having every human person live, move, and have his being bounded within, and informed by, the technological matrix.  Man's capacity to grasp and commit to truth is gravely weakened by this radical “paradigm of reality.“ As Guardini presciently saw,  “the technological mind sees nature as an insensate order, as a cold body of fact... Technological individuals... see their task as Promethean and it's stakes as being and non-being.“ This is the final working out of the ego-centric impulses inherent in the logic of man's original sin. The defence against this 'paradigm of technology' lies in grasping once again the God-given structures of reality as mediated by revelation. This paper explores the narrative of creation (Gen 1-3), establishing key principles of creation (organicity, differentiated unity, dominion, and teleological order) and foundations for an authentic anthropology (corporate reality and imago as steward) that enable a proper critique of technology's inner meaning and show man's proper relationship to a Christo-centric creation which grounds evangelization.

Dr. Kevin Clarke, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary
Presentation Title: God the Craftsman in the Wisdom of Solomon and the Speculative Hazard Hidden in the Manipulation of Nature

The Wisdom of Solomon describes God as a craftsman (τεχνίτης) who can be discovered analogously by contemplating things existing in nature. Indeed, the lower cosmos is teleologically ordered toward contemplation, and no one can be excused for not discovering the Author of beauty as cause of beautiful things. The passage shifts toward the craft (τεχνή) of idol-making, which stands in contrast to the Creator's work that fills all things with power and life. The idol maker engages in an evil craft (κακότεχνος) not seeing that his breath is on loan from the One who fashioned him from the earth's clay. But human craft itself is not futile, as it is clear that wisdom is the one who crafts (τεχνῖτις σοφία) the vessel that crosses the sea via divine providence, as in the time of the ark. Human craft ought to participate in the creative work of God. Because the lower cosmos is to be filled with beauty, the essay concludes with an evaluation of the technocratic domination over nature.

Mr. Jacob Terneus, Marquette University
Presentation Title: Making Life One's Own: Creation and Givenness with Heidegger and John Paul II

A tension lies deep in the life of man: on one hand, he is a free agent, able to take part in creation, to work, to build, to “fill the earth and subdue it “ (Gen 1:28). Even “man himself, “ writes St. John Paul II, “has been entrusted to his own care and responsibility“ (Veritatis Splendor, 39).  Or as we see in Sirach,  “God left man in the power of his own counsel“ (Sir 15:14).  In a very real sense, man can self-create!  But on the other hand, we are  “situated “ or “thrown,” as Heidegger says, into the world, as it is.  We do not choose our parents, historical era, or physical form.  We do not get to create our moral law; it is given to us, just like the rest of the world.  If we, in seeking false, technocratic glory, try to create outside this givenness, as Tolkien's Melkor sought to play his own music contrary to the melodies of God, we not only fail to gain true autonomous creation, but misapprehend our role as assistant creators, forfeiting the glory of a life properly  “our own. “

Room 308

Dr. Donald Bagert, Benedictine College
Presentation Title: Artificial Intelligence, Mind Transfer, Physical Immortality, and the Soul

An increasing number of scientists not only believe that humans will be able to live in the physical world indefinitely, but that the first  “immortal “ person has already been born.  One proposed method for immortality is to transfer a person's brain to a computer, where it could live in simulated reality, theoretically forever.  Would this resulting entity have a soul? Another issue related to an immortal being concerns the idea that it is expected that sometime in the mid-21st century  “The Singularity,“ the point at which there is an artificial intelligence that surpasses general human intelligence, will occur. Once again, will such an intelligence have a soul? Will it have a conscience? Would such intelligences, on computers with an insatiable need of resources, subsequently destroy humanity? This presentation will look at Church teachings current relate to these possible developments, and how it might deal with how such technology could impact future evangelization efforts.

Miss Julia Bolzon, Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, Washington D.C.
Presentation Title:  “The Technocratic Paradigm and Our Origin: Toward a Re-Education of the Beginning of Life “

Of the myriad ways modern technology imbues our current lifestyle, our culture's inability to fathom the violation that artificial reproductive technologies (ARTs) inflict on the human person, specifically the child, urgently merits a profound philosophical and theological look at the meaning of procreation, and a better articulation of why artificial reproduction is a violence to both the child and marriage itself, further entrenching the logic of technocratic domination and control that Pope Francis seeks to dismantle. What meaning is contained in the fact that we begin our existence as conceived and born, and what exactly is at stake in society's oblivion to this reality? This paper aims at a re-education of the meaning of the origin of human life in procreation, embedded in the context of marriage and family, through the help of the philosophical and theological anthropology of Karol Wojtyła and Hans Urs von Balthasar.

Dr. Mark Zia, Benedictine College
Presentation Title: Our Understanding of Human Evolution Needs to Evolve: A Defense of the Direct Creation of Man

Much ink has been spilled over the question of our origins, and it is unfortunate indeed that today an atheistic notion of materialistic evolution dominates our educational systems and world-view.  In response to this false ideology, people of faith have offered an alternative view of evolution, generally known as  “theistic evolution, “ which stipulates that God, the author of the laws of nature, directs creation in such a way that the evolution of man from the beast is part of the divine plan, and not a random result of adaptation and mutation.  Although this theory is a clear improvement over any atheistic view of creation, the problem is that it does not go far enough in explaining the true origin of mankind. This paper will propose that the only theory of mankind's origin that is consistent with the data of Divine Revelation is not evolutionary but rather one of direct creation.

Room 307

Dr. Randall Colton, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary
Presentation Title: Between Method and Madness: A Thomistic and Semiotic Alternative to Technocratic Education

Contemporary theories of education veer between behaviorism and constructivism, between method and madness. The thought of St. Thomas Aquinas offers an alternative.  Careful attention to Thomas and John of St. Thomas on teaching and signs suggests that the pedagogical art is fundamentally semiotic. The semiotic nature of teaching follows from the formal or objective nature of its causality and from the triadic character of the understanding it seeks to facilitate.  From this perspective, the inadequacy of behaviorism and constructivism becomes clear: both fail as sufficient accounts of pedagogy because each, in its own way, is dyadic, focusing on efficient rather than objective causality in instruction. Thus, they represent opposite extremes of technocratic logic, as understood by recent papal teaching. A Thomistically inspired semiotic alternative to the technocratic logic of behaviorism and constructivism depicts teaching as mediating the learner's encounter with the truth.

Mr. Brett Feger, Ave Maria University
Presentation Title: Techné, Beauty, and the Human Person: A commentary on Laudato Si

The control and stimulation that technology affords has caused an observable dissociation between man and nature especially among younger people. Screen technology particularly provides a stimulation that has drawn young people away from spending time  “in nature “ and caused a death of natural wonder, which has produced an inability to perceive truth and beauty and thereby, a  lack of care for ecological matters. An ecological conversion is needed. It is vital for young people to encounter nature and its beauty and to understand the hierarchy of life and their role in it. Spending time in nature is foundational for renewing an admiration of its beauty and an appreciation for the created order. To aid this conversion, education must integrate the natural sciences and natural philosophy with technology. As a result, creation will play an integral role in the development of the human person and maintain a proper place in the role of human life, not subject to the technocratic paradigm.

Dr. Mikail Whitfield, Benedictine College
Presentation Title: Does Technology Serve the Student?

Much has been made of technology in the classroom teaching environment, both in positive and negative arguments, but to what extent has the academic world explored the effects of technology upon the student outside the classroom? For all students, but particularly for college students, life outside the classroom has a close proximity, and effect, upon classroom success. Yet, it must also be recognized that the ideal student is not one who finds success only in the classroom. Because of this, those institutions that take their role as an alma mater particularly well, recognize that as a college the institution is called not merely to form the intellect of its students, but the whole person. Therefore, it becomes a question worthy of the academic study to ask: Does unbridled access to technology serve the student’s academic, spiritual, social, physical and psychological well-being? In this talk, I will draw upon the feedback of over 200 students who participated in periods of technology free student life, in order to raise and examine this question so as to weigh the legitimate benefits and threats which technology bears upon the current and future generations of students.

Room 301

Mr. Christopher Check, Catholic Answers
Presentation Title: Liberation from eSlavery

Our age is the age of technology, and technology is about control. Some technologies are intrinsically evil: The purpose for which they were designed is wicked. The contraceptive pill is one example.Other technologies, while not intrinsically evil, can produce bad effects when wrongly used, for example, mirrors. A score of other examples can be found in the myriads of gadgets and systems that comprise the world of modern communication technology.  We have today at our disposal more devices and systems with which to deliver information than ever in history. But do they offer genuine human communication? Or do these devices enslave us? Far from strengthening human relationships, they render them more abstract and distant. They divorce us from reality and make the truth harder to uncover. Worse still, they serve as obstacles to our relationship with the Divine. The English philosopher and poet, G.K. Chesterton, saw this danger in his own day, and sounded the warning years ago. His insights can help us navigate our own age’s “information superhighway” and find silence amidst the “enervating din” of modern communication technology.

Dr. Aaron Riches, Benedictine College
Presentation Title: Liturgy and the medium of the message--Evangelization in the Electronic Age

Heidegger’s thesis according to which technology enframes being as “standing reserve” is fruitfully complimented by the writings of McLuhan on media, and especially how media fashions and determines “the scale and form of human association and action.” In both cases, the non-neutrality of media technology is shown to imply a reconfiguration of the real and of human experience. In this context the liturgical media of rememberance and discernment of a carnal Presence will be proposed as the authentic medium of the message of evangelization. The Christian, it will be offered, has no need to raise a moral discourse against the internet age, neither to embrace the new media as a means of “evangelization,” but rather must learn to live afresh the true medium of the liturgical rite as the experience of incarnation: the encounter of God in the flesh.

Room 208

Mr. Brad Bursa, Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Presentation Title: A Lesson from Amos: Ratzinger, Culture, and Youth Evangelization Today

The Church exists to communicate the Gospel in every age. The Gospel does not encounter a person who is a tabula rasa, but who bears the marks, notions, and patterns of community that is known as culture. Today, the  “technological paradigm “ influences nearly every aspect of human existence, and profoundly impacts youth who exist in an apparent state of contradiction -- ever connected, always alone. In the face of a culture of isolation seemingly fostered and reinforced by technology, how can the Gospel be communicated to the youth of today? This study first draws from sociology and psychology to identify characteristics of  “youth culture. “ Next, the paper considers J. Ratzinger's discussion of culture and the communication of the Gospel that finds inspiration in Amos' self-identification as a  “dresser of sycamore trees. “ Finally, applying Ratzinger's insight, the paper argues that youth evangelization today will benefit from an intentionally incarnate step of  “pre-evangelization. “

Ms. Katie Patrizio, Mercy College of Health Sciences / St. Cecilia Church, Ames IA
Presentation Title: The Heresy of Involvement: Guarding Against a Technocratic Vision of Church

Often in Church work today, the health of a parish is evaluated by metrics denoting internal activity.  The more small groups, catechists, volunteers, committees, and onsite activities that exist, the healthier the parish.  Pastors and parish staff work hard to pack the pews not only for Mass but for every gathering offered, fueled by the belief that an increase in involvement yields an increase in holiness. But does this view reflect the Church's theological patrimony or is it another manifestation of the modern technocratic championing of usefulness?  How have American Catholics come to see faithfulness as synonymous with involvement and what are the practical implications for holding this view? Relying on ecclesial documents and the thought of recent popes as well as current studies on the nature and role of the lay vocation, specifically the historical development of clericalism (Shaw 2013) and the theological distinction between ministry and apostolate (Andrastek 2018), this paper will seek to show that the prevailing attitude toward and treatment of the laity in many parishes is not only frequently harmful to their holiness but also displays a subtle rejection of the Church’s ministerial vocation and the irreplaceable role of the laity in the new evangelization.

Prof Edmund Lazzari, Mount Saint Mary's University
Presentation Title: The New Hyde Park and the New Evangelization: Social Media and a Proposal for the Catholic Evidence Guild

Speakers' Corner in London's Hyde Park is an esteemed free-speech institution where anyone can advocate for any opinion so long as it does not incite violence. Any speaker is welcome, but any speaker is liable to be heckled by the crowd or get into a debate with a bystander. The Catholic Evidence Guild has trained lay Catholic speakers to explain the Faith to crowds in this environment since 1918, but there is a new Hyde Park in the world. Social media give each person the opportunity to speak to crowds that can be hundreds more than in the Speakers' corner and face hecklers far more incisive than the passerby. |This new media Hyde Park calls for a new oratory. The social media world is hungry for truth through debate, and Catholics are failing to adapt to the platform. This talk will show the need and will call for a digital branch of the Catholic Evidence Guild, training lay Catholics to navigate the new public squares of the digital while proposing the same true Faith.

Room 207

Dr. Richard Coronado, Benedictine College
Presentation Title: Technology as Boon and Bane in Catholic Social Thought

My thoughts go to Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum as a starting point, for in that document are found the principles that serve as the foundation for the later social encyclicals. The principle of private property, along with the necessary corollary of the universal destination of goods, the inherent dignity of the person, the social nature of the person and need for family and intermediate organizations, the proper role of the State in supporting the common good, and the Church's commitment to unity and harmony in social life come to mind. I will examine how successive pontiffs used various of these basic principles in making their judgments about the positive and negative roles played by technology in social and economic life. For example, Pius XII praised technology for its practical benefits, but saw the grave spiritual danger that it posed in giving man such a potent sense of self-sufficiency that it promises an omnipotence that makes it a false god. Paul VI coined the term  “technocracy “ and develops similar themes. Benedict and Francis develop the ideas further, extending principles of Catholic social thought to deal with the issues of what Paul VI, Benedict and Francis consider such a powerful molding ideology.

Dr. Scott Newbolds, Benedictine College
Presentation Title: Integration of Technology and the Human Person in the Engineering Profession

The ability to appropriately integrate technology and the human person is an essential skill of engineers.  In many ways, the engineering profession has placed an emphasis on developing human-centered technology.  As such, it is not uncommon for engineers to place an emphasis on the human dimension in their designs.  At the same time, the deposit of Catholic social doctrine has a long history of teaching the principles underlying the relationship between technology and the human person.  However, there are similarities and differences in the humanistic approaches to technology offered by the secular engineering profession and the Church. This presentation will explore those differences and offer examples on how teaching engineering at a Catholic, liberal arts college can bridge the gaps between the two approaches.

Professor Timothy O'Donnell, Ivy Tech Community College
Presentation Title:  “Identity Zero: Why You Don't Matter in the Technocracy of the AI Herd and What to do About It “

Enter in this new absurd theatre of the self, a kind of status one inherits within the Herd formed by Artificial Intelligence (AI), which severely compromises, corrupts, and replaces what St. John Paul II identified as an authentic Christian Personalism with Identity Zero. Depersonalized and dehumanized to a factor of mere quantity - a twisted, dark mathematization of the person - the door swings wide open to the furthering of false ideologies. Technology becomes weaponized and ritualized: an institutional behemoth - neither tame nor benign - demanding to be worshipped by the Herd and through a ritualistic and sacred technocratic Liturgy-of-the-Self that puddles the consumeristic self into Identity Zero. In this essay, I will a offer one possible way forward through the Personalism of Bl. John Henry Newman.

Colloquium Session #2, 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Room 324

Dr. Kevin Miller, Franciscan University of Steubenville
Presentation Title: The Tragedy of Technology and the Pedagogy of Desire

Angela Franks and I consider in this session the relationship between technology and desire. Dr. Franks argues that in the technological mindset, desire would use technology to constitute the self. I first explain the convergence between this position and Leon Kass's: the technological mindset makes all problems look like technological ones, blinding us to real solutions; technology is less problem than tragedy. Therefore I examine the difference between  “soulcraft “ and technology. Already in Aristotle, moral education is not even technÄ“. Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, like Kass and Pope Francis, teaches that this mindset is a non-technological problem. Further, at the start of the 2013  “Year of Faith, “ he taught that the human person innately desires God and that fostering faith involves a pedagogy of desire. Accordingly, I elucidate Ratzinger/Benedict's understanding of desire for God and pedagogy of desire, and explain how this-beyond moral education-responds to the problem of technology.

Dr. Angela Franks, Theological Institute for the New Evangelization at St. John's Seminary
Presentation Title: Deleuze and the Technē of the Desiring Self

The question of technology might seem to be a technological question-a question of kinds of technology. Instead, Kevin Miller and I will argue that it is a question of desire. In this session, I will explore contemporary desire-the  “problem “-while Dr. Miller's paper will develop Ratzinger's  “solution “ in a pedagogy of desire. In Introduction to Christianity, Ratzinger highlights how fallen desire was managed through a technique of superstition (religious idolatry). With the waning of religion, superstition is replaced by technology (verum quia faciendum, as Ratzinger puts it). The philosopher Gilles Deleuze explains and promotes this inter-implication of desire and technology by proposing that the human subject is a desiring-machine, which constitutes the self as its residue. In the contemporary mission field, people attempt in futile,  “Deleuzean “ ways to construct the self through a technē of desire. This helps to explain why technology is such a neuralgic issue today.

Room 323

Dr. Brian J Nelson, St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center
Presentation Title: Musical Meaning -  Music as an Efficacious Sign in a Technological Age

The role of music in the New Evangelization is vital, especially now when much of our public discourse has become quite rancorous. But prior to evangelizing through music, we need to understand what it means.  Is it-as Longfellow famously said-the universal language of mankind?  Or does it rely on a culturally-agreed-upon lexicon of  “words “ and meanings like spoken language? The answer is, of course,  “both/and, “ although not at an even 50/50 split but, I would argue, greatly favoring Longfellow's view. To aid in our understanding, I suggest that music is like a triptych in the visual arts: each panel representing a kind of canvas upon which music is painted. The first panel represents the physics of music, especially the harmonic series, tessitura and timbre. The second panel: natural cycles and many aspects of bodily life and human relationships. The third: other music, especially that with deep cultural associations; also, ambient technological sounds and the electronic processing of music. Further, I argue that music-while not a sacrament per se-is like them in being an efficacious sign, conveying what it signifies. Finally, I will address how technology affects music overall, especially as a medium for the New Evangelization. 

Mr. Sean Teets, S.J., Loyola University Chicago
Presentation Title: John Henry Newman’s Spirituality and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius

Cardinal John Henry Newman and Sir Edward William Elgar were contemporaries of each other in England during the late 19th century.  Both were influenced by their Catholic faith, which helped inspire their creative and intellectual works.  After becoming Catholic, Newman wrote a poem called The Dream of Gerontius that focused on several Catholic beliefs about creation, redemption, and faith.  With the marriage of his wife Alice in 1889, Elgar received a copy of Newman’s poem as a wedding present and later set the poem to music as an oratorio or large sacred choral work.  Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, op 38 is one of his most popular choral works.  This presentation will explore several points that include the following: 1) a short biography of Newman, 2) Newman’s preaching style, 3) two central themes of journey and solitude in Newman’s spirituality, 4) the influence of music on the life of Newman and his theology in The Dream of Gerontius, and 5) a stylistic examination of Elgar’s choral work and a commentary about one of my favorite sections in the oratorio.

Room 308

Mr. Michael Camacho, Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family
Presentation Title: Love in the time of technology

It's not uncommon today to recognize that our laptops and smart phones and social media accounts, which promise to connect us to the world and other people, end up leaving us more isolated than before. But why is this? Does it come down to the way we use and abuse these technologies, or is it instead something built in to their very  “logic, “ as it were? And what is a good response? In this paper I propose to investigate these questions concretely by engaging two recent films which beg to be put in conversation. Both are thought-provoking stories centered on the question of love and connection in the modern world. Her (2013), directed by Spike Jonze, is about a man who falls in love with his operating system. His relationship with the disembodied personality of Samantha, which in the film is presented in a rather positive light, raises questions not only about what is real and what is not (does technology lead us further into or further out of reality?), but more specifically about the importance of embodiment, with all its stubborn limitations, which lie decisively outside our control. Lars and the Real Girl, directed by Craig Gillespie (2007), serves as a perfect rejoinder. This film about a painfully shy man who orders a blow up doll on the Internet to treat as his  “girlfriend “ ends up surprising the viewer: for we find that it is the concrete, physical presence of this make-believe girl that leads the protagonist back into genuine community and the  “real world.“

Dr. Kevin Kilcawley, Integrative Psychology Services
Presentation Title: The Industrialization of Pornography: How Technology is Reshaping Human Sexuality

Pornography has existed for more than a millennia, but the industrialization of pornography is less than a hundred years old. Human sexuality was never safe from the industrial revolution; like other goods, sexuality has become a commodity, another resource to be manufactured, sold, and possessed. As a consequence, human sexuality also falls victim within the technocratic paradigm; a shift in nature, which Pope Francis warns us about in his encyclical Laudato Si’, which approaches nature as something to manipulate or control. Thus, we no longer simply receive the goods that human sexuality has to offer. Instead, our aim, as the the Holy Father notes, is to “extract everything possible from them while frequently ignoring or forgetting the reality in front of us.” As a result, the consumerist way our culture views sexuality has lead to compulsive and addictive pornography use, fueled by its availability through technological mediums. In this paper, I will examine how the industrialization of sexuality through technology has increased the accessibility, anonymity, and affordability of pornography and how this is creating an epidemic in our culture today.

Room 307

Dr. John Rziha, Benedictine College
Presentation Title: How God Was Excluded from the Secular World of Science  or How Metaphysical Ideas Really Do Effect Everyday Life

For Thomas Aquinas God works through secondary causes by moving them to their proper action. Hence, there is no conflict between the natural world causing things and God causing things as God moves things within the world to perform their proper action. However, Duns Scotus rejects Thomas’s understanding of God as the primary cause working through secondary causes. Instead he adopts a version of primary and secondary causality where God works with the secondary cause instead of through the secondary cause. The Enlightenment thinkers further accept this notion of conflicting causality between the natural world and God, only they then find a way to remove God from the equation. Those that emphasized the causality of the material world ultimately excluded God from any role in the scientific world. Hence, belief in God was always seen as contrary to acceptance of the truths of science. Hence, scientific theories like evolution and the expansion of the universe were set in opposition to the belief in God’s creation of the world (rather than a view that God works through evolution in creating and governing the universe). Hence, in the realm of technology, any attempt to order the technological development or restrict technological use for theological or metaphysical reasons will be seen as irrelevant.

Mr. Mo Woltering, Holy Family Academy, Manassas, VA
Presentation Title: Technology and the Interruption of Knowledge as Understood by St. Thomas Aquinas

There is now a substantial body of evidence from various disciplines on the negative impact of technology on young people and many adults. Whether it is in the form of video games, social media, hand-held devices or all the above, technology use is causing addictions, disorders, and even psychosis'. It is not necessarily a matter of content. The nature and structure of new media is  “rewiring “ the brain. There is a noticeable significant decline in the ability to engage intellectual concepts between current high school students and their counter-parts from 8 to 10 years ago. From here it is worth revisiting the Epistemology of St. Thomas Aquinas and his understanding of knowing and knowledge. Technology's impact on the user affects the union of knower and the object known. This has serious consequences especially for what Aquinas termed  “connatural knowledge “ and engagement with the transcendentals.

Room 301

Dr John Sehorn, Augustine Institute Graduate School of Theology
Presentation Title: How to Consider the Lilies and the Birds: Origen's Answer to Pope Francis's Questions about Scripture and Technology

In a 2017 Angelus address, Pope Francis wondered  “what would happen if we treated the Bible like we treat our cell phone? “ He went on to admit,  “Clearly the comparison is bizarre. “ But is it? In Laudato si', Francis worries about the unnoticed but powerful ways in which contemporary habits of interfacing with the world through technology can distort our perception of creation and of ourselves, obstructing our ability to consider the lilies of the field and the birds of the air. This paper takes the pope's  “bizarre “ question seriously by asking it of the third-century theologian Origen, who did treat the Bible as many now treat their phone. Origen shows us that Pope Francis's suggestion is not just pious fluff. Origen believes that the Bible mediates an agonistic, cruciform process of salvation that teaches human beings to recognize the whole created order, not primarily as an object for  “possession, mastery and transformation “ (Laudato si' 106), but as a revelation of divine love.

Sr Doris Engeman, Franciscan Servants of the Holy Family
Presentation Title: Are You Smarter Than Your Cellphone?

The ancient philosopher Heraclitus said that  “every new thing comes with a curse. “ While one can reasonably argue that technology has brought good to people's lives, is there a down side, a  “curse “ lurking within?  Digital devices have the capacity to integrate people's lives, through learning and connection to family and friends.  They also have the capacity to cause dis-integration, with addiction to being always  “present“ to the device, or when the majority of communication is mediated digitally, we lose touch with real human, face-to-face interaction.  How does this affect our relationships with people, even with God?  What can we learn from the Real Presence of Jesus?  This  “curse “ of which Heraclitus warned us does not have to defeat us.  Saint John Paul II wrote that  “Man is person precisely because he is master of himself.“ Developing self-mastery, practicing the virtues help us wisely use all forms of technology, using them for good, while not being controlled by them.

Room 219

Dr. Benjamin Brown, Lourdes University
Presentation Title: Attention and Leisure: Learning to Love in an Increasingly Mediated World

Drawing upon Matthew Crawford's philosophy of attention and Josef Pieper's philosophy of leisure, I develop a notion of deep engagement with reality. I argue that this kind of engagement is fundamental to human fulfillment, because it is ultimately a form of love. The Trinitarian God is perichoretic love in which the persons deeply interpenetrate and engage with each other immediately, directly, and totally. But for humans nearly everything is mediated rather than direct and immediate.  We encounter reality through the senses, share our thoughts through words, and use tools for most everything.  Electronic media increase the extent of mediation. Thus, it is vital that such media serve genuine engagement rather than distance us from reality. I will explore key features of these two kinds of mediation (unifying and distancing), apply the distinction to various technologies, and discuss some ways in which this understanding can help us develop practices that foster deep engagement.

Dr Andrew Salzmann, Benedictine College
Presentation Title: Mechanization as a Precondition of the Incarnation: The Human Relationship with Machines

Hominization theory was an important development in 20th-century theology, in which Logos is increasingly incarnated in matter over time, reaching its climax in Christ's hypostatic union. Japanese philosopher Keiji Nishitani, not a Christian, offered an important contribution to Hominization theory by emphasizing the importance of the emergence of the machine as another incarnation of logic into matter; in Nishitani's account, the machine allows for human culture to develop; indeed it is a more perfect stage of the movement of Logos into matter. The Christian recognizes the role of mechanization in producing the latter stages of human thought & culture which made the society in which the incarnation occurs possible and, to some extent, comprehensible. But the Christian must give an account of how Christ can be considered the final movement of Logos into history. I offer that explanation:Christ's incarnation is the free embrace of fleshly limitation once those limits can be transcended.

Room 208

Mr. Bo Bonner, Mercy College of Health Sciences
Presentation Title: Oikophilia and Techne: An Argentine Pope, A British Philosopher, and Okie Rednecks

Combining the insights of Pope Francis in his Encyclical  “Laudato Si “ with British Philosopher Roger Scruton's concept of  “Oikophilia, “ or love of home, this paper will use the example of Oklahoma's history of damming natural water ways in order to create man-made lakes for various purposes to explore notions of Nature, Technology, the Human Person, and Subsidiarity.

Dr Edward Macierowski, Benedictine College
Presentation Title: Jacob Klein on 'The Epistemological Paradigm Which Shapes the Lives of Individuals and the Workings of Society' (Laudato Si­ #107)

In Sources and Studies on the History of Mathematics, Astronomy and Physics (1934, 1936) Jacob Klein articulated the origin of “the epistemological paradigm which shapes the lives of individuals and the workings of society” mentioned in Laudato Sí. Klein “argues that during the sixteenth century a crucial change in the concept of number took place” -- a “symbolic algebra” “as a result of which numbers were ever later seen as ‘symbolic’ entities. This, in turn, made possible modern science, in which the symbolic ‘form’ of a mathematical statement is completely inseparable from its ‘content’ of physical meaning.” Leo Strauss in What is Political Philosophy? (p. 75) describes this change by quoting Hegel’s Phenomenology: “The manner of study in ancient times is distinct from that of modern times, in that the former consisted in the veritable training and perfecting of the natural consciousness. Trying its power at each part of its life severally, and philosophizing about everything it came across, the natural consciousness transformed itself into a universality of abstract understanding which was active in every matter and in every respect. In modern times, however, the individual finds the abstract form ready made.”

Room 207

Dr. Richard Crane, Benedictine College
Presentation Title: Romano Guardini & the Technocratic Paradigm: In His Time and Ours

German theologian Romano Guardini (1885-1968) is known to many Catholic readers as a footnote—actually several footnotes—in Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato si, particularly where the pontiff meditates on the implications of how a “technocratic paradigm” has deformed human relationships. Guardini’s theology has formed the basis of several studies, from that of theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar to that of historian Robert Krieg. In my paper, I will specifically examine how Guardini’s confrontation with totalitarianism (he was a theology professor in Nazi Germany) shaped his theology. I will further pose the question of whether, even in democratic societies like our own, technocracy might lead to a resurgence of totalitarianism under a new, putatively individualistic and emancipatory, guise.

Mr. Erik van Versendaal, Pontifical John Paul II Institute
Presentation Title: The Instrumentality of Sacrifice:  Artifice as Thanksgiving for Nature

The simple argument of this paper is that the classical definition of artifice as  “imitation of nature “ presents the standard against which technology can be judged as well as the principle for a recovery of human making in our day. Imitation, however, should be understand, in light of Christian worship, as the human elevation of nature into thanksgiving, eucharistia. For this reason, this paper will attempt to articulate a Biblical idea of good sacrifice as the norm of human action that takes responsibility for the goodness of creation in cooperation with God its origin. As the poet Paul Claudel says,  “Joy is the mother of sacrifice. “ Sacrifice means the preservation and exaltation of natural integrity into personal communion between man and God. Because it is predicated on a denial of nature's originality, technology by definition cannot be an imitation born of joy that overflows into thanksgiving. However, it does not cease to be sacrificial, so we argue, but instead manifests a mode of action that resembles idolatrous worship.  This paper draws on the Catholic philosophy of Ferdinand Ulrich, as well as that of Thomas Aquinas and Maurice Blondel, both of whom stand behind Ulrich's anthropology, in presenting a vision of artifice as an act of testimony to the goodness of God.

Colloquium Session #3, 3:40 - 5:00 p.m.

Room 324

Ms. Madison Abbott, Benedictine College
Presentation Title: Grasping for a Minute

Modern man has become a slave to the watch, clock, and time itself. Yet, as defined by Aristotle,  “Time is [merely] the measurement of change. “ In this presentation and paper, I plan to further understand and explain man's dependence on time as a  “non-thing “.  Man's attachment to time is a grasping after control, similar to the experience of the Fall, as man first grasped after godlikeness. This grasping after time is a rejection of the gift of the present moment. Using Josef Pieper, St. John Paul II, and Fulton Sheen, I plan to find time as a gift to be received. Time in this sense, weds itself to John Paul II's understanding of Christ as the center of all time. Modern man, through his fabricated reality, believes he can control  “his “ time, resulting in unreceptivity to God. This contracepts man from God's gift to him of all that is. By doing so, man rejects his nature as a dependent creature of relation. Modern man is  “in control “ of time and reality, and thus takes the place of God.

Br. Angelus Atkinson, St. Benedict's Abbey
Presentation Title: What Are We Waiting For?: Being Educated to the Meaning of Time

One of the most recognizable expressions of the  “technocratic paradigm “ is the supreme value placed on the instant gratification of our desires, especially for knowledge and connection, with the inverse devaluing of time itself. The advent of the internet and social media's omnipresence both encourages and promises to fulfill this ideal. However, scientists and former Silicon Valley executives are revealing the ways our capacity to focus is being undermined by the same technology, and the social data of the last decade seems to indicate we are more lonely than before. This crisis presents a vital moment to rediscover what the human heart actually desires, and the kind of path that leads to its realization. This paper will draw on the author's experience teaching at a low-tech school, social research, philosophy, and on the alternative paradigm offered by a Hebraic anthropology, in order to explore the positive value of time, risk, and memory in the journey of knowing.

Sr Thomas More Stepnowski, Aquinas College
Presentation Title: The Fallow Field of Unplugged Time

The recommendation to  “unplug “ a device is only a partial solution in breaking the addictive qualities often associated with technology. I propose that electing  “to do “ or simply  “to be “ during unplugged time should be predicated upon the two concepts of time: kairos and chronos. Kairos is characterized as time marked by opportune moments, whereas chronos is measured time such as by clocks, calendars or agendas. Describing  “unplugged “ time as a fallow field illustrates the differences between kairos and chronos.  Viewing a fallow field through the lens of chronos, may equate the unproductive field and characterize unplugged time as boring, wasted and lonesome. Yet if the fallow field is viewed through the lens of kairos, the uncultivated but fertile field is ripe for rest, leisure and contemplation. Recognizing the merits of chronos and kairos will not only strengthen a person's resolve in the appropriate use of technology, but also will contribute to a renewal of Christian humanism.

Room 323

Mr Patrick Callahan, Wichita State University
Presentation Title: Plato vs. the Podcast

This paper examines the phenomenon of podcasting, from university-sponsored MOOC endeavors to apologetic programs to lifestyle talk-shows, through the lense of desire and technology in Plato's Phaedrus. As with writing, the technology seems on the surface to prohibit the sort of dialectic that leads to wisdom, both in the eyes of the philosopher and according to the old catechetical and apologetic practices of the Church. Drawing from writings on faith and technology in such authors as Popes Benedict XVI and Francis, Josef Pieper, James K.A. Smith and others, this paper argues we might find means in the medium for abuse, but more importantly, ways in which the modern Catholic evangelist might find a use that leads to authentic encounters with the True, the Good, and the Beautiful through this medium. Drawing especially on the work of Romano Guardini on culture and technology, this paper looks at the relation of this artifact to human nature. It ends with a practical assessment of Catho

Mr. Tom Hoopes, Benedictine College
Presentation Title: Donald Trump, Master of Media

What is the meaning of Donald Trump? There are many ways to consider the question but one thing is certain: The Trump phenomenon would have been impossible without modern media technology. The talk will trace the rise of the celebrity president from The Art of the Deal in New York, through the ascendancy of 24-hour cable news, reality TV and Twitter -- and explain how Trump is a media ubermensch. His rise tells us a lot about how media augments and diminishes the human person.

Mr. Andrew Whaley, The Calix Project
Presentation Title: Technology vs. Community: The Third Place as a Window Into Challenges and Opportunities in the New Evangelization

Community and hospitality lie at the center of Christian life, the Benedictine charism, and any real implementation of the New Evangelization. The rapid rise of technology has made a massive impact on the way people gather in a place and how they relate to each other while there. This is seen clearly in many places, but maybe most clearly in the casual places of frequent voluntary gathering known as the “Third Place." First, I would like to define the characteristics of the ‘third place" and look at the changes and development in this form of community brought on by the introduction of technologies such as the laptop, wifi, mobile phone, and digital point of sale, along with the rise of the new digital and social media. Then, I would like to explore the ways in which this moved us away from the peace of mind, attention span, ability to be present in the moment, and our formerly natural mode of seeing and relating to the other in community or public life. Finally, I will explore the ways in which these insights affect our mission to see Christ in the other and be Christ to him in the genuine gift of self that must lie at the core of any real evangelization or discipleship, as well as look at some solutions that have worked in the "third place" to reintroduce community and the centrality of the human person back into the space, applying these to the mission of the New Evangelization.

Room 308

Prof. Stephen Mirarchi, Benedictine College
Presentation Title: Techno-Horror: A Brief History of American Literary Dystopias

This presentation will provide an overview of some of the major works in American literature that warn readers of the dehumanizing effects of a culture's rapture with technology. Not surprisingly, some of these works are Puritan, and the Transcendentalists are surely known for their objections to industry. But throwing a wider anthropological net are stories by Melville, Hawthorne, and Poe. An early 20th century Catholic author, Myles Connolly, arguably wrote the first true American literary dystopia--a chapter in the classic Mr. Blue--nearly two decades before Orwell's 1984. While dystopias have flourished since then--morphing into modern-day political and military thrillers--a common theme emerges in the American literary tradition: technology given any license at all quickly makes human beings willing slaves of routine. In the grand tradition of the America of Franklin and Crevecoeur, this suspension of the great rights of the individual is the ultimate techno-horror.

Mr. Aaron Williams, Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family
Presentation Title: Renewal of Poetic Experience and Liberation from Technological Bondage:  Technology as Magic, Liturgy as Reality

Modern technology is more magical than rational according to Louis Bouyer. For both technology and magic seek  “to establish man's self-interested mastery over physical reality. Both replace the divine plan with a humanist one “ (The Invisible Father, 14). Furthermore, just as magic, in seeking to overcome the limits of nature by manipulating it towards its own ends actually leads to slavery within an ersatz reality, so technology promises freedom only at the cost of a more fundamental bondage to technocratic ways of seeing and living. Following Bouyer this paper offers both a critique of technocracy, as man's devolution and magical manipulation of the world through the enslavement of his mind to a mechanistic vision, and a proposal of a poetic or symbolic vision of reality, not as irrational but as a higher form of reason, intuitively grasping the deeper meaning of things. The Christian liturgy, ultimately, assumes this poetic vision and consummates it in the sacrifice of the Eucharist.

Dr. Ryan Womack, Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture
Presentation Title: On Attention: Human and Machine Culture

I want to explore the faculty of attention as a fundamental element needed in any discussion of restoring Christian culture, building villages, and simply structuring our day. Part of our current problem revolves around the machine metaphors we apply to human learning which reveal a mechanistic epistemology. However, such metaphors are overly reductive and what is lost in this paradigm is nothing less than the human person. |In my paper, I will draw in an analysis of attention as it applies to culture formation in a few ways: development of skill, organization of work and leisure, and the power of prayer. The intellectual backdrop to this presentation will be the theology of Pope John Paul II, the philosophy of Matthew Crawford and Wendell Berry, and the fiction of George Saunders. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Room 307

Mr. Jason Gale, Aquinas College - Nashville
Presentation Title: The Transcendent God and Self-Absorbed Man: Catechizing in a Cosmetic Age

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger remarked in 1980, “In the technological world, which is a self-made world of man, one does not immediately encounter the Creator; rather, initially, it is only himself that man always encounters.“ In handing on the faith, we must be clear in our direction and realistic in addressing the problems we face. Without shunning technology and using Cardinal Ratzinger as our guide, we will briefly address the frequently stated “eclipse of God “ and give two pedagogical tactics to make known the Transcendent God in a self-absorbed world. First, the human person must never lose its transcendent belonging to the Creator. Second, there needs to be an emphasis on reality, both seen and unseen, in catechesis. This is accomplished in catechesis with a particular emphasis on the Creed because  “the faith which it professes is reality, not merely the content of Christian consciousness. “

Dr. George Nicholas, Benedictine College
Presentation Title: Frankenstein, Original Sin, and Virtue Ethics

The creature is the victim of original sin-not his, because as a 'new Adam' he may arguably have none-but of Victor's. Untrained, ignorant and unprepared, he immediately becomes the victim of Victor's cruelty, fear, indifference, guilt, neglect, and self-loathing and becomes, in spirit as in body, a thing that his maker has done badly. In man, original sin is rejection of his Creator's will, replacing it with his own. Victor is in one (physical) sense, the creator of the creature. One limited, fallen, contingent, material creature gives rise to another; different it is true in species but not different in metaphysical kind. Nevertheless, the two carry on a sad imitation of the relations of God, Adam and Satan as described in the only theology the creature knows: Paradise Lost. The creature's plea for an Eve and an Eden is rejected, but he is a rebel who actually has the power of which Satan only dreamed, to cast down his creator.

Dr. Matthew Ramage, Benedictine College
Presentation Title: ‘Man, You Are Dust’: On Human Origins and Dignity in Light of Evolutionary Science

The famous atheist Richard Dawkins is no means alone in his contending that evolutionary biology makes it nonsensical to speak of man as “higher” than other living things.  Indeed, within a materialistic evolutionary worldview, creatures are measured not by powers of the soul but rather by their sheer ability to survive and reproduce.  From this perspective, there is no reason to suppose that anything about humans makes us, in contrast with other creatures, to be the image of God.  In response to such an outlook, this paper will argue that the reality of human evolution, when approached according to sound theological principles, is not only consonant with human dignity but moreover casts considerable light on precisely what it means to be God’s image and how we ought to treat our fellow men and creatures within an evolving universe.

Room 301

Fr. Paul Check, Saint John Fisher Seminary
Presentation Title: Technology, transcendence, and sex:  a clash of two narratives.

Two rival narratives compete for man’s mind and heart, each one promising him a share of divinity:  “You will be like God.” (Gen 3:5)    “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” (St Athanasius)  Technology complicates the question for fallen man, particularly in the realm of sex, by the power it seems to give him to control his life.  How does man fulfill his potential for greatness, without harming himself or others?

Mr. Victor Mendoza, Augustine Institute
Presentation Title: How Divine inspiration, a courageous priest from another country and technology spared me from a homosexual lifestyle.

My salvation came through the Internet. When I was a teenager, I experienced unwanted same-sex attractions, which made me feel ashamed and hopeless. I did not have the courage to speak to anyone about it then, so instead I turned to the Internet to look for answers. However, everything was discouraging until I found a free Catholic website called (Hope is possible), started by a courageous Spanish priest to help people from Spanish speaking countries in Europe and Latin America who did not desire to live a homosexual life. It was only through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and technology that this online community came into existence and that I could access it from Mexico. This platform led me to discover the truth about my own sexuality according to God's design, which helped me change the misconceptions I had about myself. It was the answer to all my prayers, and now I am able to fully live my vocation as a husband without experiencing those feelings.

Room 208

Ms. Erin Lazzari, Blessed Sacrament School
Presentation Title: The Romanoff Initiative and the Virtual Cocktail Party: evangelisation through friendship in the era of digital communication

As new friendships are being made on social media platforms such as tumblr and twitter, it is a relatively easy feat to bond with strangers over shared cultural touchstones. The effect of this inter-connectedness is very much like a cocktail party: a mutual respect and rapport is quickly developed, allowing the new friend to be far more open to the possibility of evangelisation. I have dubbed this approach  “the Romanoff Initiative,“ after Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow: the Russian super-spy of Avengers fame, known for her ability to hide anywhere. While budding friendships in the physical realm are sometimes thwarted by differences in moral approaches, these issues do not exist under the veil of the digital, allowing a virtually based friendship to be well-established before matters of faith or morals arise. This now-established friendship allows for sincere dialogue. This presentation will address the practical foundation and implementation of the Romanoff Initiative.

Dr. Matthew Muller, Benedictine College
Presentation Title: The Religious Sense and Total Reality: Apologetics in an Age of Authenticity

At the beginning of the 20th century, Catholic theologians and philosophers wrestled with the question of apologetics. Beginning in the 19th century, the standard forms of apologetics, appeals to history, miracle, prophetic fulfillment, or syllogistic demonstration, were called into question. Further complicating the task of apologetics is the desire for "authenticity" as described by the philosopher Charles Taylor. From Newman to Ratzinger, Catholic intellectuals sought to re-establish the foundations of faith in order to communicate the content of the Christian message to a world dominated by individualism, technocratic thinking, and apathy. Of the many voices that contributed to this project, Fr. Luigi Giussani, the founder of Communion and Liberation, articulated a vision for communicating the Christian message that was intellectually coherent and practically revelant. It will be my contention that Giussani's method provides the firmest foundation for apologetics in our contemporary situation. After a brief presentation of the problem of apologetics in the modern era, I will propose that Giussani's understanding of reason, rationality, and the religious sense, must guide our efforts of evangelization and catechesis today.

Dr. Michael Throop, Benedictine College
Presentation Title: “Always On: Digital Silos, Human Disconnection, And the Opportunity To Create Wired and Unwired Faith Communities “

The incursion of  “disruptive technology “, in the form of myriad digital devices such as phones, tablets, and other hardware, married with texting, social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, might have led to a new communication, dialogue, and mutual awareness of our humanity. Instead, these technologies, and the programs which are accessed on those devices have, in many cases, had the opposite effect: |•Creation of  “human silos “ and  “echo chambers “, where only like-minded thoughts and words are exchanged.|•A reduction in day-to-day, hour-to-hour personal human contact, in favor of simply texting the most personal and intimate thoughts via phone or computer. |This presentation will examine the role 21st century Church may assume to present the values of our faith, the importance of personal interaction in a worship setting, and the joy of encountering the face of Christ, individually, and in community, in a digital society.

Room 207

Dr. Patrick Herrick, MD, PhD, Olathe Medical Center, and Dr. Tricia Sprouse, Benedictine College
Presentation Title: Contra-Environment: Sind Wir so auf die Zwitterbahn Gekommen?

Technology is changing not only our understanding of mankind, but physically changing  even man himself.  We wish to call attention to the crisis in masculinity, multifaceted in even its physical manifestations including male infertility and the reduced expression of masculine traits; the links between environmental pollutants and the masculinity crisis; and the evidence for environmental hormonal disruption by human excretion of oral contraceptive hormones.  We will present a variety of information from peer-reviewed biomedical sources, translated for a non-biomedical audience.  We will show how 1930s German scientists, who aimed to create female hormones more potent than Nature’s, were more “successful” than they intended; provoking the question:  in using their product to make women less feminine, have we inadvertently made our men less masculine?  In the process, we will make manifest the latent prediction of Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae; in this case, a particular example of the unintended consequences in “man’s stupendous progress in the domination and rational organization of the forces of nature.”