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Saint Leo University to Host Religious Freedom Discussion

Saint Leo University to Host Religious Freedom Discussion
Saint Leo University to Host Religious Freedom Discussion
Saint Leo University to Host Religious Freedom Discussion
Religion, Business, Psychology, Criminal Justice Aspects Discussed

Saint Leo University’s Department of Philosophy, Theology, and Religion will present Vatican II’s Declaration on Religious Freedom: A Multidisciplinary Panel Discussion from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, October 31, at Saint Leo University’s Chesapeake Education Center, 1434 Crossways Blvd., Suite 175, Chesapeake, VA 23320.


The question of religious freedom remains a hot topic today as the 50th anniversary of Second Vatican Council’s “Declaration on Religious Freedom” (Dignitatis Humanae) is being observed in 2015. The purpose of the panel is to summarize the document for those who may be less familiar with it, to discuss its contents from the perspectives of some other disciplines (psychology, criminal justice, and business), and to reflect upon what it would be like if a document such as Dignitatis Humanae were to be written today, half of a century later, said Dr. Marc Pugliese, assistant professor of religion and theology.


Panelists include Dr. Mo Matthews, psychology; Dr. Ramona Taylor (criminal justice); Dr. Okey Igbonagwam (business); Dr. James Cross (theology); and Pugliese. Dr. Michael McLaughlin, associate professor of religion and theology, will serve as the moderator. All are Saint Leo University faculty members in Virginia.


“Vatican II's Declaration on Religious Freedom affirms the right, based on the inherent dignity of the human being as created in the divine image, to freedom of religious belief, worship and expression, for both individuals and groups,” Pugliese said.


The Declaration on Freedom is relevant today “as there are a number of national and international issues that bear upon religious freedom, “such as the debates over whether aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) impinge upon religious freedom, whether businesses have the right to refuse to engage in certain business transactions due to religious convictions, and policies of groups and states like ISIL/ISIS and Saudi Arabia,” Pugliese added.


Saint Leo University’s panel discussion will look at religious freedom from an interdisciplinary perspective. For example, psychology has much to say regarding the concept of human freedom and "free will." Criminal justice and business experts may discuss the recent high-profile cases of the Colorado cake shop baker and the Indiana florist, who refused to participate in gay marriage celebrations.


There is no cost to attend the October 31 event, but registration is required. For more information and to register, go to For information, call (757) 227-4450.


About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is a regionally accredited, liberal-arts-based institution known for an inclusive Catholic heritage, enduring values, and capacity for innovation. The school was chartered in 1889 by Catholic Benedictine monks in rural Pasco County, FL, making Saint Leo the first Catholic college in the state. Saint Leo provides access to education to people of all faiths, emphasizing the Benedictine philosophy of balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit. 


The university welcomes learners from all generations and backgrounds, from civilian occupations and the armed forces, and from across the country and more than 60 nations around the world. Saint Leo’s nearly 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students may elect to study at the beautiful University Campus in Florida, at more than 40 teaching locations in seven states, or online from any location. The university’s degree programs range from the associate to the doctorate. Through these rich offerings, Saint Leo develops principled leaders for a challenging world.


Saint Leo University boasts nearly 80,000 alumni in all 50 states, Washington, DC, five U.S. territories, and 72 countries.



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