The Faculty of Religious Studies and Philosophy (FRSP) is a community of scholars, students, and staff engaged in research, teaching and studying the disciplines of Philosophy and Theology, together with other necessary disciplines (English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Psychology, Sociology, History, Law). Traditionally, our fields of study were referred to as the Handmaid (Philosophy) and the Queen of the Sciences (Theology), and FRSP continues this original mission at the heart 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 capax Dei, created with the capacity to know and love God. St Augustine, the other guide, is often called the teacher of grace, doctor gratia. He reminds us that we long to know God, our loving Creator, in the depths of our hearts and we cannot be at rest until we do. Humans are the interface between the two great spheres of reality – the material and the spiritual – belonging fully to both. Accordingly, wherever there is human life, there is religion.
Understanding religion in its historical, social, political, intellectual, and artistic aspects and contributions for the development of societies is, therefore, self-evidently important. 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 tradition. It is both a place where religion can be encountered and studied, especially in engaging with the Catholic faith tradition, understood as a life-giving sacra doctrina, Holy Teaching, rooted in God’s definitive and full self-revelation in Jesus Christ.
For more than four centuries Macau is preparing faithful for service and leadership in Church and societies of South-East Asia. Our diverse international faculty continues this journey with academic rigor, attentiveness to the Asian cultural and religious context, and fidelity to the Roman Catholic tradition. Students prepare themselves for a broad range of services, as candidates for ordained ministries, as members of male and female religious congregations, as lay faithful, and as man and women of good will. The intellectual, theological, pastoral, and spiritual formation of our students equips them to take up leadership in Church and society so that religion continues to nourish hearts and minds and faith yields fruit in word and deed.
The Journal Orientis Aura: Macau Perspectives in Religious Studies is published by the Faculty of Religious Studies and Philosophy of the University of Saint Joseph in Macao. In 2006 the University, known at that time as Inter University Institute of Macau (IIUM), launched a Master Degree in Religious Studies and later, a Bachelor degree. It was the beginning of a complex process which result was the relaunching of the Catholic Theological Studies in Macau. Orientis Aura is an important milestone of this process that hopefully will be a major contribution to Macau towards the enhancement of the study and research within the field of Religious Studies.