The Catholic University of America

Sept. 18, 2009

International Philosophy Scholars to Participate in Seminar at CUA

Talks Examine Impact of Sacred/Secular Differences on Global Relationships


A team of scholars from around the world will gather at Catholic University to participate in a seminar from Sept. 28 to Oct. 30 examining how people are shaped by their religious and secular backgrounds and how that affects their interaction with each other.

This year's seminar will further explore conclusions that were unearthed at last year's seminar.

Titled "The Sacred and the Secular: Complementary and/or Conflictual," the seminar is co-sponsored by the international Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, which is based at Catholic University, and CUA's Center for the Study of Culture and Values.

"In our global times, civilizations now meet one another in ways that but a few years ago were unimaginable," says Rev. George F. McLean, professor emeritus of philosophy and director of the Center for the Study of Culture and Values. "In turn, they encounter a secular age with its proper and appropriate focus on human fulfillment. Thus, the challenge is to develop a new paradigm for human awareness that enables the sacred and the secular to be lived fully, creatively and cooperatively so as to build a viable global whole."

During the seminar, participants will pay special attention to appreciating both the unique differences and the relatedness of the world's religious cultures, their relation to the achievement of secular goals, and the positive contribution of secular concerns for living religion fully in this world. "The search is for a paradigm that enables mutual understanding and communication in which the many peoples and cultures, both sacred and secular, can be positively complementary," Father McLean says.

Seminar participants hail from countries including Bulgaria, China, Congo, India, Iran, Pakistan, Spain and Taiwan.

Later in the academic year, the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy will publish a selection of papers written and discussed by seminar participants as part of its 200-volume series "Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Change," which is distributed to 350 university libraries across the globe.

The seminar meets every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon in Gibbons Hall, B12. Faculty and graduate students are invited to attend. Those who wish to attend the seminar must contact Father McLean at 202-319-5910 or

MEDIA: For more information about the seminar or to request an interview with Rev. George F. McLean, contact Katie Lee or Mary McCarthy at 202-319-5600.


The Center for the Study of Culture and Values at The Catholic University of America is dedicated to publishing books that apply cultural heritage studies to contemporary global interchange. With the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, the center mobilizes and unites international academic groups and research teams specializing in cultural heritage and values. The center has published more than 200 books and hosts an annual 10-week interdisciplinary seminar at CUA, bringing together philosophers, scholars and opinion leaders from around the world.