Center Valley, Pennsylvania
This Local Society is geographically situated in a region where healthcare is a major industry. The Baranzano Society is composed of university faculty representing the natural sciences, healthcare studies, philosophy, and theology. In addition, the group includes regional healthcare professionals as well as students of biology, chemistry, nursing, and those studying to be physician assistants. This society meets monthly to discuss current issues in bioethics from a theological point of view, exploring the interplay of scientific knowledge and religious insight. The society’s comprehensive plan features meetings, book discussions with ongoing follow-up through an electronic bulletin board, and outreach activities that include public forums and an annual publication. The group has also designed a thorough plan for measuring the effectiveness of its programming and outreach in order to ensure long-term viability beyond the three-year term of the grant. The group takes its name from scientist and scholar, John Anthony Baranzano (1590-1622). Baranzano, a priest ordained by St. Francis de Sales, was friends with Kepler, Francis Bacon, and Galileo. The controversy surrounding a book of his lectures on astronomy, Uranoscopia, seu de coelo (1617), which taught Copernican theory as well as some ideas of Galileo, contributed to establishing the autonomy of science and other academic disciplines without contravening the dictates of the faith. More information can be found at the group’s website. Matching funds are provided by DeSales University as well as other gifts and grants.