Reading Science in the Light of Faith Course



This online course teaches the seminarian how to articulate developments in current research in biological fields—emphasis on evolutionary biology, genetics, or neuroscience as it relates to the human body—by reading scientific papers. Then the seminarian will learn how to classify the conclusions in the scientific papers as contradictory or consistent with the Catholic faith, particularly as it relates to St. John Paul the Great’s Theology of the Body.

Using online meetings, course management software, and written communication, the seminarian will be guided through the evaluation of a single scientific paper from a refereed journal and then a broader field of research. The two papers will be edited and (optional) published on a website designed to share the fruits of the course.

Nuts and Bolts of Scientific Papers

The first 5-week segment teaches 1) how scientific work is generally done per the scientific method, 2) how scientific papers are organized once a set of experiments yields data, 3) how to read and summarize a published scientific paper, and 4) how to dig into the scientific record to gain historical context. During the first segment, weekly quizzes will be given and reviewed to reinforce the material and develop literature research skills.

Sorting Out the Science

The second 5-week segment teaches 1) how to assess whether provisional scientific reports contradict the Catholic faith, particularly St. John Paul the Great’s Theology of the Body, 2) how to identify questions where legitimate opinions may be explored, 3) and how to determine when scientific conclusions are consistent with divine revelation. At the end of the second segment, a paper will be due that interprets a single scientific conclusion in the light of faith.

Publishing the Dialogue

The third 5-week segment will be a guided study of a particular topic (a collection of scientific papers) with particular emphasis on evolutionary biology, genetics, or neuroscience as it relates to the human body, also prepared for (optional) publication. Thus the seminarian will go from a) comprehending scientific developments to b) appraising them in the light of faith to c) communicating his synthesis to the faithful.


Pope Francis wrote in Lumen Fidei that “faith broadens the horizons of reason to shed greater light on the world which discloses itself to scientific investigation.” This quote represents the spirit of the course.

To navigate science in the greater light of faith, one must be able to first follow research as it develops. Seminarians are particularly well-suited for reading the precise language in scientific papers because they already have the skill for reading the organized theological documents of the Church. It is a matter of transferring their skills to a new type of document.

A seminarian or priest (or philosopher or theologian) can “broaden the horizons of reason” and “shed greater light” on scientific investigation. Such a visionary not only guides the faithful in navigating challenges of our times; he ultimately aids the scientific community by interpreting research in a broader context and helping to guide its progress.

Come, let us show you how to navigate science in the light of faith.

Dr. Stacy Trasancos, PhD is an adjunct professor of Chemistry at Holy Apostles College and Seminary. She holds a doctorate in Chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University and a masters in Dogmatic Theology from Holy Apostles. She was a Senior Research Chemist for Senior Research Chemist for DuPont. She teaches chemistry and physics for Kolbe Academy and is author of Particles of Faith: A Catholic Guide to Navigating Science.

Funding for Science in Seminaries

initiative at

University Heights, Cleveland, OH

has been provided by the

John Templeton Foundation.

See announcement here.

Space is limited.

A free non-credit short course will be offered online later for anyone who just wants to learn how to read scientific papers in the light of faith.


For more information about the course, contact Dr. Stacy Trasancos at

To apply for admissions and to enroll, contact Dr. Elizabeth Rex, Director of Admissions at

If you are a seminarian, you will need to obtain permission to take the course and work with Dr. Rex for admissions and enrollment.