The Faculty of Religious Studies (FRS) is 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 Saint 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, teaches us that human nature is created with the capacity to know and love God; he is naturally capax Dei. St Augustine, the other guide, is often called the teacher of grace, doctor gratia. 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 Saint 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 Macao, FRS continues the long tradition of dialogue between faith and culture.
The Rev’d Professor Stephen Morgan, DPhil(Oxon) Dean of the Faculty of Religious Studies