I want to welcome you to the Faculty of Religious Studies (FRS), a community of scholars and students engaged in research, teaching and studying the disciplines of Philosophy and Theology, together with other necessary, ancillary disciplines. Traditionally our fields of study were referred to as the Handmaid and the Queen of the Sciences and here, at the University of St Joseph, we can proudly claim our place at the heart of the academic work and mission of this Catholic University.
Two giants of Catholic philosophy and theology give us our basic orientation. St Thomas Aquinas, the great Dominican theologian, also described as Doctor humanitatis (the teacher in humanity), teaches us that human nature is in itself open and good. Man has, in his nature a capacity for God; he is naturally capax Dei. St Augustine, the other guide, is often called the teacher of grace, Doctor gratiae, he reminds us that we long to know God in the depths of our hearts and we cannot be at rest until we do. Created to live in communion with his Creator each human being is a free and intelligent individual, integrated in the community with his own duties and rights; he is the connecting link between the two great spheres of reality – the material and the spiritual – and he fully belongs to both. Accordingly, wherever there is human life, there is religion.
Understanding religion in its historical, social, political, intellectual, and artistic aspects is, therefore, self-evidently important. Nevertheless, whilst necessary to understand the human condition, such an approach is not sufficient, since it does not fully engage with the truth claims of religion in general and specifically with the Christian claim of God’s definitive and full self-revelation in Jesus Christ. FRS provides a venue within the University of St Joseph and the wider local community for the exploration of the religious, historical, intellectual, social, and cultural aspects of the various religious traditions and especially those of the Christian faith. It is both a place where religion can be encountered and studied and one in which all can come to engage with the Catholic faith, understood as a life-giving sacra doctrina, Holy Teaching. Being situated in Macau, FRS continues the long tradition of dialogue between faith and culture.
Our Religious Studies programmes are designed to cater to the needs of two classes of students:
(1) Those enrolled in the degree of Bachelor of Christian Studies. This is meant for anyone interested in an initial degree in Catholic theology – whether they be members of the Catholic lay faithful, religious men/women, those preparing for the diocesan priesthood or even simple men and women of goodwill, who wish to know more. For those preparing for the ordained ministry in the Catholic Church, who require a canonical Bachelor’s degree in Catholic Theology, a Foundational Year in Philosophy is offered. The Bachelor of Christian Studies prepares students for teaching and pastoral ministries, or further studies in Theology.
(2) Those who wish to do a Master’s degree or Ph.D. in Religious Studies. These graduate programmes train students to develop a deeper understanding of religion and its relation to society and culture. Different religious traditions are explored through comparative and thematic studies in their specific historical and cultural contexts.
The Faculty of Religious Studies also hosts lectures, conferences, and evening classes for all comers from local society, seeking always to witness to Christ and to foster a sense of belonging to a vibrant intellectual and faith community.
The Rev’d Professor Stephen Morgan, DPhil(Oxon) Dean of the Faculty of Religious Studies firstname.lastname@example.org