Hest group secularization in Europe: International Symposium on Human Flourishing and Spirituality

The members of the Hest cluster on secularization gathered from the 17th to the 18th of June at Loyola University Andalucia. The cluster met in person for the first time for a fruitful program, coordinated and organized by Dr. Ignacio Sepúlveda, with Dr. Anthony Carroll and Dr. Tomas Halik as key speakers.

First day session

Dr. Anthony Carroll pronounced the first conference: From Catholic Modernity to Religious Modernities. The conference explored the relations between human flourishing and spirituality through the optic of Catholic Modernity. The conference started with an explanation of the concept of Catholic Modernity and how it represented an example of a “cultural” theory of modernity. Secondly, Anthony Carroll explored how this concept can help to foster a creative dialogue between religious and non-religious understandings of human flourishing.

He explored how the Ignatian spirituality, embodied in Catholic Modernity, can fruitfully engage with “exclusive humanist” approaches to life, such as that of the “nones”, and what lessons might be learned for both believers and non-believers from this encounter.

The first conference was followed by three panels: The identity of the new religious subject: Socio-cultural conditions of possibility for belief in the 21st century, Spirituality and Solidarity: the contributions of spirituality to the communitarian (and political) construction of our societies, and New spiritualities: transcendence or immanence?.

Second day session

The second day’s schedule started with Dr. Tomas Halik’s conference on Spirituality as a healing power for the world; followed by a panel on Spirituality and Jesuit University: Aperture to transcendence and spirituality; and a final panel with pastoralist.

Conclusions of the symposium

The cluster outlined several conclusions. They pointed out the importance of insisting on the differentiating element of the Jesuit education: the integral formation of the student. Focusing on the comprehensive development, not only the quality of the education in a practical sense but in a more deep and spiritual sense; insisting on the values Jesuit Education imprints in the students. Also, they pointed out as crucial to clearly identify and communicate the pastoral work and highlight their relationship with the university.

Hest group secularization work: book publication

Next January the cluster will publish a book gathering all the articles generated by the participants. We will notify you when the book is available.

Symposiun recordings


Fr. Philip Geister S.J. (Kircher Network director), Fr. Gonzalo Villagrán S.J. (dean of the Faculty of Theoly at Loyola University Andalucia) and Dr. Ignacio Sepúlveda’s (Professor at Loyola University Andalucia) impressions about the symposium.


The recording of the conferences will be available here soon.

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