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Cardinal Ravasi thanks UFV for their suppor for dialogue between reason and faith

The Casina Pio IV, the headquarters of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, in the Vatican gardens, hosted yesterday afternoon the ceremony to award the first edition of the Expanded Reason Awards.

The event was presided over by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture. Fr. Federico Lombardi, S. J., President of the Ratzinger Foundation, and the Rector of the UFV, Daniel Sada, also participated.
Cardinal Ravasi demanded the overcoming of an excessive specialization of knowledge and thanked the Francisco de Vitoria University for its commitment with the Prizes to open reason and make possible a real transdisciplinarity among the different fields of knowledge. Citing Apple founder Steve Jobs, Cardinal Ravasi said that “technology alone is not enough. It takes marriage between technology and humanistic disciplines to bring about real change.

For his part, Fr. Lombardi referred to the celebration of the awards ceremony as a “feast”. He assured that “Pope Benedict XVI is regularly informed about the development of this initiative. “We feel it very close, even if he can’t be physically with us. One of the great themes of his teaching is undoubtedly that of expanded reason, in a society which denies a scientific status to Theology and Philosophy, which entails a reduction of man and a diminution of the dignity of the human person. Reason, as Benedict XVI taught us so many times, can and must seek reason”.

Finally, The Rectot of UFV, Daniel Sada, thanked the Ratzinger-Benedetto XVI Foundation for its support and assured that it was “the culmination of the first stage of a journey”. The Rector asked himself how to be relevant and how to influence the lives of students and society. “The creative minorities of which Benedict XVI spoke must come from our Catholic universities,”Daniel Sada stressed.

Fr. Lombardi, at the end of the ceremony, announced the convocation of the second edition of the Expanded Reason Awards. There will be 100,000 euros in prizes, distributed in four awards, two in each category (teaching and research). Entries can be submitted from 1 October.

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The rector of UFV presents the Expanded Reason Awards at the Vatican’s Press Office

The Rector of the University Francisco de Vitoria, Daniel Sada Castaño, presented the Expanded Reason Awards at the Vatican’s Sala Stampa. In his speech, he thanked the Holy See for its support, referred briefly to the prize-winning works and advanced the announcement of the second edition.

“The Catholic University will be so not only because it has catholic teachers or crucifixes in the classrooms, but above all because of what happens in its classrooms and how it uses reason. The aim of this initiative is to “go out into the periphery of the University and dialogue with the dominant culture”, underlined the Rector.

The award-winning works approach subjects as diverse as the development of moral conscience, economics and enterprise seen from the Church’s Social Doctrine, determinism and freedom, the care of the Earth, the integral understanding of health and the narration in videogames.

The awards ceremony will take place tomorrow, Wednesday at 5 p. m. at the Academy of Sciences (The Vatican). You can watch it live on the Youtube channel of the Expanded Reason Awards.

The presentation of the Awards in the Sala Stampa is part of the press conference offered by the Foundation Ratzinger – Benedict XVI to present the activities of this academic year 2017-2018.

Cardinal Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, introduced the event and announced the winners of other awards this year, the Ratzinger Awards, which are now in their seventh year.

Father Lombardi, president of the Foundation, has spoken about the nature and activities of the Vatican Foundation itself, and the Rector of the Catholic University of Costa Rica has presented the Congress that, also in collaboration with the Ratzinger Foundation, will take place next November in the Latin American country, on the encyclical Laudato Si and the care of the common house.

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The winners travel to Rome to celebrate the Expanded Reason Awards

Darcia Narváez, Michael Schuck, Nancy C. Tuchman, Claudia Vanney, Laura Baritz O. P, Alberto Oliván, Arturo Encinas and Christopher Cook are already in Rome to celebrate the first edition of the Expanded Reason Awards.
The ceremony will take place at 17:00 hrs on september 27th, at the Vatican Academy of Sciences.  The ceremony will be led by the director of the Vatican Foundation Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI, Federico Lombardi, and the rector of the University Francisco de Vitoria, Daniel Sada Castaño.
During the ceremony, the launch of the second edition of the Expanded Reason Awards will be announced, which opens the period for the submission of entries onOctober 1st, 2017.
On the other hand, and regarding the presentation of the Prizes, a two-day congress will be held. During the congress a group of professors from the UFV will have a research and reflection meeting with the winners of the first edition of the Prizes. The congress will be celebrated at the Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum (Tuesday) and at the Colegio Español (Thursday).
On Tuesday morning, at 11 a. m., the Stampa Hall has called a press conference in which various activities of the Ratzinger Foundation will be presented, in which Cardinal Ravasi and Fr. In this press conference the Rector of the UFV, Daniel Sada, will speak about the Open Reason Awards.
This year’s edition of the Awards, together with the recognition of researchers and teachers, seeks to create and consolidate an Expanded Reason Community that can result a meeting forum for all those who want to investigate according to Benedict XVI’s intuition of widening the horizons of reason.
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The essential

Isidro Catela

The essential is invisible to the eyes. It is not only Saint-Exupèry and his universal little prince. It happens to us too, every day, in every logo, avatar or inspiring photo that circles the web. Have you noticed our background photo? Look at it again, and, as if finding Wally, try, search, scrutinize and contemplate. In addition to a bridge and people walking on it, we have in the background a hidden miracle of a coral reef.

Reason is also like this: wide, expanded towards the horizon, enormous as an ocean with its coral reefs. It happens to us, however, that we often place the blinders of scientism and we leave the greatness behind, flying low and looking in only one direction. We are not able to see everything that such a large vessel can contain.

Benedict XVI traces in his thought one of the key points of his teaching: the essential, which is a lot, sometimes seems too little to us. He writes, for example, that Jesus brought God to us (not peace, not justice, not the end of hunger and wars). He brought God to us, nothing more and nothing less, because from God, everything will be given us besides. What happens is that sometimes we feel like it is too little. So also our reason is much more than the small and narrow concept that we imagine it to be.

Where we give to others only knowledge, skills, technical capabilities and instruments, we give them too little. So, let’s start seeking more, even if the effort seems to be shortsighted at first. Just contemplate, search and find the coral reef, the meaning. Later there will be time for more, to remind you of the conditions of our Awards, to write art, mathematics, physics, or medicine. Let’s, in short, seek, as authentic hidden treasures, examples of expanded reason and solid hope in the midst of the fluid society that surrounds us.

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When broadening of a horizon affects your life

Max Bonilla

It does not happen all the time, but it does happen occasionally, that my students, after a particular class or conversation, would cry when they realize the importance of the class to their own lives.

This happened most recently when during a conversation one of my students, struck by how important the subject matter was for her life, realized that not all her classmates felt the same way, and astonished asked, in tears, “why don’t they see it?” The topic we had been discussing in class was the credibility of revelation: is it reasonable for a person in the XXI century—with the great scientific and technological advances we now enjoy—to believe that there is a God who might be personally interested in her fate?

Hers was not the reaction of another classmate, who, as a convinced atheist, had been resting comfortably (as much as that is possible) on the assurances of the amazing power of modern human civilization. In fact, her attitude at the beginning was to assume that belief in God was something that only (in her words) “primitive peoples” engaged in, so as to explain that which they did not understand. Thus, they may have appealed to the gods for an explanation of storms, whereas today we know about meteorological conditions that enable us to put the gods aside. When our knowledge is vast, as it is now, so she reasoned, there is no room for God. Science has explained it all or soon will.

The horizon of reason under which my students typically operate—and the last above is but one of the many that come with the same mentality—is one often strictly limited by what science can teach. My students often assume that human knowledge is most clearly demonstrated in scientific, empirical knowledge, and that anyone who does not accept a strict materialistic approach is not really engaged with the truth, since truth “is limited to facts.” This attitude is slightly naïve in non-scientists, such as my students. I say naïve because I know that there are many world-class scientists who do not fall into that error, and it surprises my students when they find out: empirical knowledge has its place and great value, of course, but when most scientists leave their labs at the end of the day, they do not make assumptions about their knowledge concerning the other aspects of their lives (their loves and friendships, for example) based on empirical experimentation, yet the truth of love and friendship and their knowledge of those is often as strong and convincing—and reasonable!—as any empirical knowledge.

Some of my previous students, some highly accomplished lawyers and medical doctors or NASA engineers, who came to my classroom in Houston to study about God despite their advanced education, would find my current, younger students indeed to be naïve, and yet representative of an entire class of people whom we can likely call colleagues and neighbors, who understand truth as something that can be ascertained only through scientific study.

My work in the classroom is not so much an effort to demonstrate the reasonableness of the claim of Christianity, and much less to promote some kind of pietism. Rather it is to broaden the horizon of understanding in my students, so that other, non-empirical-yet-reasonable claims may get a fair hearing; thus, that my students may judge the Christian claim for its true significance in their lives, just as the first student I mentioned above did.  The second student concluded—and she was troubled in saying it—that now it seemed entirely reasonable that there might be a God who is concerned with her.

Fundamentally, I see my work as planting seeds. They may germinate quickly as with the first student above, they may begin to germinate slowly, as with the second, or they may take years if they germinate at all. In the final analysis, their freedom must engage an expanded horizon of reason in order for them to see truth as what it is: more complex than it initially seems and intensely more significant for their lives.

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The first edition of the Expanded Reason Awards has received 367 works from 30 different countries from around the world

  • The winners will be announced on July 31st. In total, the awards will amount to 100,000 euros

The first edition of the Expanded Reason Awards, organized by the University Francisco de Vitoria (UFV) in collaboration with the Joseph Ratzinger Vatican Foundation, has received 367 works from 30 different countries from around the world. Most of the works have been submitted from Spain (137), the USA (56), Mexico (39) and Argentina (30).

Also, many works have been submitted from Spanish speaking countries such as Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Venezuela; other countries such as Italy, Brazil, Canada, the Philippines, Hungary, India, Nigeria, Poland, the United Kingdom and Switzerland have also participated in the Awards with a great number of works.

As far as the fields of knowledge are concerned, these have been the most numerous: philosophy, theology and humanities (145), legal, economic and social sciences (116), and biomedical and health sciences (56).

The Awards, which were inspired by the International Congress “Prayer, Power to Change the World” at UFV on October 2015, were presented last September in Madrid by UFV’s Rector, Dr. Daniel Sada, and by Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., President of the Vatican Foundation, in a ceremony that took place in Madrid’s Cathedral of the Almudena.

The Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, Most Rev. Carlos Osoro was also there to witness the inauguration of the Awards. The Expanded Reason Awards seek to support and acknowledge those professors and researchers who are working to broaden the horizons of rationality through a dialogue between the sciences and philosophy and theology, grounded in the certainty that the fundamental questions of human life cannot be ignored by scientific rationality.

The deadline for submissions was April 30th. Four prizes of 25,000 euros each will be awarded (two in teaching and two in research). In addition, other additional works considered to be of particular relevance will be shared on the Awards’ website, after due consultation with the respective authors. The winners, as well as the names of the members of the jury, will be announced on July 31st, and the award ceremony will take place in September. That occasion will also serve to inaugurate the second edition of the Expanded Reason Awards.

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Biography of the winners

Research category

Darcia Narváez


“Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom”.

Darcia Narvaez is Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame who focuses on moral development and flourishing from an interdisciplinary perspective. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Educational Research Association. She writes a popular blog for Psychology Today (“Moral Landscapes”).

Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom provides an evolutionary framework for early childhood experience grounded in developmental systems theory, encompassing not only genes but a wide array of environmental and epigenetic factors. It describes the neurobiological basis for the development of moral feelings and reasoning, outlining ethical functioning at multiple levels of complexity and context before turning to a theory of the emergence of wisdom. Finally, it embraces the sociocultural orientations of our ancestors and cousins in small-band hunter-gatherer societies—the norm for 99% of human history—for a re-envisioning of moral life, from the way we value and organize child raising to how we might frame a response to human-made global ecological collapse.

Integrating the latest scholarship in clinical sciences and positive psychology, Narvaez proposes a developmentally informed ecological and ethical sensibility as a way to self-author and revise the ways we think about parenting and sociality. The techniques she describes point towards an alternative vision of moral development and flourishing, one that synthesizes traditional models of executive, top-down wisdom with “primal” wisdom built by multiple systems of biological and cultural influence from the ground up.

Claudia E. Vanney and Juan F. Franck


“Determinism or indeterminism?”.

Claudia E. Vanney is Doctor in Physics from the University of Buenos Aires and Doctor in Philosophy from the Universidad de Navarra. She is the head of the Institute of Philosophy at the Universidad Austral, where she runs several interdisciplinary research programs. She is currently focused on the dialogue among science, philosophy and theology, with a particular interest in the philosophy of physics.

Juan F. Franck is Doctor in Philosophy from the Internationale Akademie für Philosophie (Liechtenstein). Currently he teaches modern philosophy at the Universidad del Norte Santo Tomás de Aquino and is a researcher at the Institute of Philosophy (Universidad Austral). His current research interests include the philosophical problems linked to cognitive sciences.

Besides other publications, in recent years both have collaborated in developing the Interdisciplinary Austral Dictionary for Sciences, Philosophy and Theology, which they have edited alongside Ignacio Silva.

The book, Determinism or indeterminism? Great questions from science to philosophy, is the result of a collaborative work between physicists, biologists, neuroscientists, philosophers and theologians from over 15 universities in 6 different countries. During the years 2013-2015 the editors promoted several activities focused on the discussion concerning determinism in nature, delving into the epistemological, anthropological and meaning-of-life questions. The researching itinerary that was put to the test led to a broadening of the scientific horizon in favor of a transdisciplinary perspective that included theology and philosophy. This book is the outcome of these efforts. Each chapter was co-written by a scientist and a philosopher who pursued the dialogue until an integrated text was reached.

Teaching category

Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., Michael Schuck and Nancy Tuchman


“Healing Earth”.

Michael J. Garanzini, S.J. is presently founding a new center to build an International Associate of Jesuit Universities based at Fordham University in Queens, New York, USA. Prior to that he was Chancellor of Loyola University Chicago from 2015-17. He was also president of the same university for 14 years (from 2001). Since 2011 he is also Secretary for Higher Education for the Society of Jesus, by appointment of Adolfo Nicolás, S.J. superior general of the Society of Jesus. He served in multiple capacities at various universities, including as Professor of psychology, Acting Vice President for Student Development, Academic Vice President, and Special Assistant to the President, among others.

Michael Schuck is a Professor of Christian Ethics in the Theology Department at Loyola University Chicago. He is also the Co-Director of the International Jesuit Ecology Project which has produced Healing Earth, a free online textbook in environmental science, ethics, spirituality and action. In addition to environmental ethics, Michael teaches and does research in the areas of Roman Catholic social thought, theological and philosophical ethics, and religious ethics and social theory. Michael was the Founding Director of the Hank Center for Catholic Intellectual Heritage at Loyola University Chicago.

Nancy Tuchman spent the first 14 years of her career as a Professor of Aquatic Ecology in the Department of Biology at Loyola University Chicago. In 2002–2003 she served as a Program Officer in the Ecosystem Studies Program at the National Science Foundation in Washington D.C., then returned to Loyola to serve as the Associate Provost for Research for five years (2004–08). In 2005 she founded and directed the Center for Urban Environmental Research and Policy (CUERP) at Loyola. From 2010–2013 she served as the University’s Vice Provost before being appointed Founding Dean of the Institute of Environmental Sustainability (IES).

In 2012, Fr. Michael J. Garanzini S.J., President of Loyola University Chicago, envisioned a ‘living textbook’ in environmental science that would provide a sound scientific understanding of the primary environmental threats to the planet, while also providing ethical reasoning, spiritual reflection, and a call to action. His vision was to develop a free, online textbook that seamlessly integrated science, ethics and faith, and could be accessed by anyone on the planet who had web access, with those living at the margins in mind. This was the birth of the International Jesuit Ecology Project (IJEP – see, an endeavor by a small group of scholars at Loyola University Chicago that quickly grew to a community of over 160 contributors (students, university faculty, high school teachers, students, language translators, technology specialists) from over 20 countries.


Sarolta Laura Baritz, OP

“The KETEG teaching program and mission”.

Sarolta Laura Baritz an economist by training, used to travel around the world as a sales development manager for Pepsi-Cola Hungary. Despite traveling around the world, she made the longest journey of her life without leaving town, practically without leaving her own apartment. Sarolta Baritz, a successful business manager, became Sister Laura, a Dominican nun. She gave away her wealth and moved into the convent. She had seven years to change her mind, but instead, she renounced her secular life. Since then she graduated as a professor of religion and ethics, teaches at Sapienta College and received her PhD in economics. In 2010 she established the KETEG (Christian Social Principles in Economy) teaching program connecting religion and ethics with economics.

KETEG (Christian Social Principles in Economy) is a community and teaching program of devoted persons coming from the Hungarian academic and business world with the aim to promote and spread value driven economic and business thinking both on the level of theory and of praxis that is based on the principles of virtue ethics and Catholic Social Thought (CST). The original goal of the KETEG teaching program was to create an interdisciplinary connection between theology/philosophy and social-economic sciences, so as to provide a a new paradigm in social-economic thinking compared to the present mainstream utilitarian approach. We are convinced that by teaching and acting according to this way of thinking and value order that involves the holistic approach of the various sciences (especially economics in our program) we can best serve the good of mankind and the sustainability of our world.

Honorable Mention

Alberto Oliván  and Arturo Encinas

“Teaching Narrative in Videogames,or how we narrate our lives through video games”.

Alberto Oliván Tenorio is co-founder and game designer at Fictiorama Studios and a professor in the Narrative and Creation of Video Games degree at the University Francisco de Vitoria.

Arturo Encinas Cantalapiedra is an audiovisual manager at Apóstrofe Comunicación and professor at the Faculty of Communication Sciences of the University Francisco de Vitoria.

La enseñanza de la Narración en Videojuegos o cómo relatamos nuestra vida a través del videojuego (Teaching Narrative in Videogames,or how we narrate our lives through video games) is a teaching project that aims to orient future video game designers in their professional work, both from the technical side as well as from the perspective of poetic truth in their video game creations.

Christopher Cook


“The MA in Spirituality, Theology & Health”.

Professor Christopher Cook qualified in medicine from St George’s Hospital Medical School, London in 1981. He specialised in psychiatry and worked for over 25 years in the psychiatry of substance misuse. He has research doctorates in medicine and in theology. His academic interests are in spirituality, theology & health. He was ordained as an Anglican priest in 2001. He is an Honorary Minor Canon of Durham Cathedral and an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist with Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust. Chris is Professor of Spirituality, Theology & Health in the Department of Theology & Religion at Durham University. He is President of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality. His book publications include: The Philokalia and the Inner Life: On Passions and Prayer (2011), Spirituality, Theology & Mental Health (ed., 2013), and Spirituality and Narrative in Psychiatric Practice (eds Cook, Powell & Sims, 2016).

The MA in Spirituality, Theology & Health at Durham University is an inter-disciplinary and inter-professional programme aimed at enabling students to develop an integrative understanding of human sickness, health and wellbeing from both theological and scientific perspectives. To our knowledge, it is the only programme of its kind internationally on which clergy and health professionals, theologians and scientists can study together at masters level on the same programme in the same classroom. It provides opportunity for inter-disciplinary conversations within which scientists and health professionals can increase their awareness of the theological questions and research pertaining to their work and, similarly, chaplains and theologians can have opportunity to engage with some of the relevant scientific issues.

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The Expanded Reason Awards winners have been selected

After receiving 367 works from 170 universities and over 30 countries, the international jury, meeting at the University Francisco de Vitoria, has chosen four winners and two honorable mentions that best answered the challenge of actively promoting a dialogue between sciences and theology/philosophy.

The Awards ceremony will take place at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in Vatican City on September 27th.

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Award Ceremony and second edition of the Expanded Reason Awards

The University Francisco de Vitoria, together with the Vatican Foundation Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI, will hold the Award Ceremony for the first edition of the Expanded Reason Awards at the Academy of Sciences in Vatican City.

The celebration will take place on Wednesday September 27th, within the framework of a two-day congress on the concept of “Expanded Reason” organized by the University Francisco de Vitoria.

During the days in Rome (September 25-28) the winners of the Awards will be present (Darcia Narváez, Michael Schuck, Nancy C. Tuchman, Michael J. Garanzini, S. J., Claudia Vanney, Juan F. Franck and Laura Baritz O. P.), including several members of the jury and representatives of the organizing institutions.

In addition, during the Award Ceremony the second edition of the Expanded Reason Awards will be announced. The aim of these Awards, beyond giving due recognition to researchers and teachers, is to create an Expanded Reason Community that offers the possibility to be part of a forum for all those who wish to continue researching and teaching according to Benedict XVI’s intuition to broadening the horizons of reason.

The Expanded Reason Awards program aims to foster the creation of a great university community that encourages and supports the desire for truth that exists in the heart of every student, professor and member of this research community. The Expanded Reason Awards initiative recognizes the community as the ideal place to promote this effort.