Chris Sparks will become the first student to lecture at a Gonzaga University Socratic Club meeting from 4-5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 14 in College Hall (formerly the Administration Building) Room 203. The event is free and open to the public.
Sparks, a Gonzaga junior majoring in philosophy with a minor in religious studies and a concentration in Catholic studies, will address the question of Catholic identity and higher education.
In his talk, titled “Ad Fontes! Gonzaga’s Catholic Identity from the Church’s Documents,” Sparks will assert that key documents of both Gonzaga and the Catholic Church — including Gonzaga’s Mission Statement, Canon Law, the Vatican II declaration “Gravissimum Educationis,” and the papal encyclical “Ex Corde Ecclesiae” — provide a road map to understand and implement Catholic identity.
In Sparks’ view, these documents not only spell out the basic structure of the religious character of a Catholic university, they address practical questions about research emphasis, academic freedom, the special role of theology in studies, and the relationship between intellectual inquiry, faith, and science.
Sparks is a staff writer for the campus publication the Gonzaga Witness; opinion contributor to the students’ weekly newspaper the Gonzaga Bulletin; a writer for Charter, Gonzaga’s journal of scholarship and opinion; and an active member of several campus clubs and the Gonzaga Pep Band. For a draft text and PowerPoint presentation of Sparks’ talk, visit the Gonzaga Socratic Club Web site.
A response to Sparks’ talk will be offered by Anna Gonzales, intercultural relations specialist at Gonzaga’s Unity House. In keeping with the approach of the Gonzaga Socratic Club, there will be time for questions and discussion.
The Gonzaga Socratic Club has a new time and location for all of its meetings this academic year. The meetings will be held Wednesdays from 4-5:30 p.m., in College Hall, Room 203.
The Gonzaga Socratic Club’s mission is to promote open intellectual discussion of the Christian worldview. Like Socrates, the Club aims to “follow the argument wherever it leads,” concerning both Christian doctrine and practice. The club takes inspiration from the renowned Oxford Socratic Club, which was founded at Oxford University in 1941 and was presided over by C.S. Lewis until he left Oxford.
The Club welcomes suggestions for topics or speakers for future meetings. Please send ideas to David Calhoun, associate professor of philosophy, at (509) 323-6743 or via e-mail.