The Pierre Teilhard de Chardin Center seeks to be a point of convergence and community for deepening reflection among the sciences, technology, and spirituality. The fast pace of scientific development and advancement has led to numerous challenges [to?] human wisdom – in the reflections of philosophers as well as ordinary citizens – but first of all to the scientific world. On this site known for its intellectual excellence, the Teilhard de Chardin Center is an important and significant investment by the Catholic Church to engaging the questions posed by scientific evolution and advancement today.
The context of the Saclay Plateau
The Saclay Plateau sits to the north of the Essonne administrative district and southwest of the Yvelines district, approximately 20 kilometers south of Paris. Future “French Silicon Valley,” Saclay currently welcomes 20,000 students, teachers, and researchers, as well as hundreds of residents. Future development is important: by 2024, the plateau expects to host 100,000 students and researchers, 400,000 residents, and 18,000 employees.
In a rather compact geographic zone, the disciplines studied and the applications envisioned range from the hard sciences to biology and human sciences. Numerous hi-tech corporations have established a presence in the area too.
Two large university institutes are present at the Saclay Plateau:
- L’Université Paris-Saclay: This includes three universities (Paris-Sud, Versailles-Saint Quentin, and Evry Val d’Essonne), the Grandes Écoles (CentraleSupélec, l’ENS Paris-Saclay, AgroParisTech and l’Institut d’Optique Graduate School), and research centers (CNRS, INRIA, INRA, CEA).
- L’Institut Polytechnique de Paris: Around the École Polytechnique, the institute includes l’ENSAE, l’ENSTA ParisTech, Télécom ParisTech, and Télécome Sud Paris.
Altogether, this means 60,000 individuals on the Saclay Plateau in the upcoming years: students, doctoral students, researchers, professors, engineers, technicians and administrative personnel, from both France and the rest of the world: an accelerated development that offers a great challenge!
All of these varied stakeholders aspire to be able to incorporate in their research and activities a character and sense that corresponds with their own human values. More and more, explicitly or implicitly, they are posing these existential questions. Many are interested in a more collective reflection.
To learn more about Paris-Saclay : https://www.epaps.fr/
An important challenge and opportunity for the Church
In this context, the relationship between the sciences, ethics, and anthropology is of great importance. Among stakeholders in the life of the city at Saclay, scientists themselves realize the responsibility they bear for future generations. The students on the Plateau are the decision-makers of tomorrow. And the institutions invested in human formation and citizenship know that we must address the ethical questions linked to the lightning-fast development of science and technology and their direct implications for human life and existence.
How to support this reflection and these collective efforts when faced with the questions that human wisdom poses? The reflection of the philosopher or the reflection of the ordinary citizen?
How to wisely address ethical questions that arise from lightning-fast developments in the sciences?
How can we try to respond to the aspirations, hopes and spiritual questions of this community?
It is precisely these concerns that bring the Catholic Church to the Saclay Plateau through the new Teilhard de Chardin Center.
“Aujourd’hui, la question du sens revient en force. On dit que la raison éclaire la foi, et que la foi éclaire la raison. Le défi est de taille. Il ne faut donc pas se rater… le Centre Teilhard nous aidera.”
” Le Centre Teilhard de Chardin pourra être le lieu d’un dialogue exigeant entre foi et science, si nécessaire alors que prospèrent les approximations, fake news et ‘vérités alternatives’ : une maison pour des chercheurs ! “
Living in Saclay
“Les familles chrétiennes qui vont être de plus en plus nombreuses à résider sur le Plateau éprouveront vite le besoin de se retrouver ! Nous espérons que le Centre sera ce lieu qui permettra à notre foi de s’exprimer, se partager et se fortifier.”