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Catholic Institute gets funding for Science and Religion course

The Catholic Institute of Sydney has received a special grant to fund the development of a new course focusing on the ongoing dialogue between science and religion.

The grant, from the Centre for Theology and the Natural Sciences in the USA, is one of 100 awards given to colleges and universities around the world in the Centre's annual Science and Religion Course Award Competition.

Catholic Institute of Sydney professors Dr Gerald Gleeson and Ms Janiene Wilson received the award for their course titled Science, Human Behaviour and Christian Ethics.

The Catholic Institute of Sydney, located at Strathfield, is a member of the Sydney College of Divinity.

Dr Gleeson said the new course unit would explore the relevance of the behavioural sciences, particular psychology, to Catholic moral teaching on topic such as conscience and moral development. He added that the behavioural sciences can shed light on the subjective factors relevant to moral choices.

"The Catholic tradition emphasises the objectivity of morality - that human beings share a common human nature and that the principles of good human living apply to all of us," he said. "We also recognise that people are individuals with their own experiences, perceptions and insights, at different stages of moral development, and influenced by conscious and unconscious motivations."

The interdisciplinary course unit will be offered from next year at Masters level, but will also be open to qualified undergraduates at other member institutions of the Sydney College of Divinity and affiliated universities.