Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Brenda Cooper, University of St. Thomas

4/8/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

University of St. Thomas Honors Research Goes 6 Feet Under

A few hundred people have undergone cryopreservation procedures since 1962, having their bodies cooled to sub-zero temperatures, with the hope that one day they may be brought back to life using highly advanced technology. It's the kind of issue-along with assisted suicide, euthanasia and "do not resuscitate" orders-that would not have been considered decades ago but becomes a moral question today.

Honors Program students consider the issues of death and mortality in the Contemporary Seminar research presented at UST's Research symposium.

Honors Program students consider the issues of death and mortality in the Contemporary Seminar research presented at UST's Research symposium.

Highlights

By Brenda Cooper, University of St. Thomas

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/8/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in College & University

Keywords: University of St. Thomas - Houston, University of St. Thomas, UST-Houston, UST, Houston, Honors Program, Honors, Graduation, Student Research, Research Symposium, Death, Mortality, 6 feet under


Honors Program students in the Contemporary Problems Seminar are considering the issues of death and mortality as issues of hide and seek-there are paradoxical dealings with the two responses of death: to hasten it or delay it as long as possible.

The 13 students will present their research at the Honors Colloquium on April 11 at 4 p.m. in Jones Hall, during Research Symposium. In the final course of the Honors Program, students select a contemporary problem that interests them, choose a professor to advise them, and then collaborate on research to present to the University of St. Thomas community.

Students Explore 4 Facets of Death and Mortality

Senior philosophy major Kelsey Boor said while death is not a new issue, "the way we treat it with technology and in our culture is different."

With the interdisciplinary nature of the Honors Program, the students come from a variety of majors, including science, social sciences and liberal arts, so the Contemporary Problems research examines the topic from multiple points of view:

-
First, from a medical or biological point of view, what is death? How do you define it?

-
Second, from a historical and legal point of view, the group examines arguments associated with the U.S. Constitution: Do we have the right or the freedom to die?

-
Third, an existential component explores death in terms of psychology, mass media and music. Are popular TV shows that deal with death more successful than others? In literature or music, does one avoid death by becoming immortal through a work?

-
Finally, death is examined through philosophy and theology. The advisor, the Rev. Dempsey Rosales-Acosta, said the great paradox in Christian theology is Christ on the cross. "It was a terrible death," he said. "At the same time, that terrible death is the beginning of a new life, a life with God."

Honors Students Direct the Research

The students made choices about how to pursue their research. Class readings included works by Leon Kass, a political philosopher, on whether there is a right to die; Hans Jonas, a philosopher and early pioneer in biomedical ethics, and 
Evangelium Vitae, a papal encyclical expressing the Catholic Church's position on the value and inviolability of human life.

"It differs from the other Honors courses, because the students are behind the steering wheel," Boor said. "It's a different kind of learning experience.

Students selected Father Dempsey Rosales-Acosta, assistant professor of theology, as the advisor for the project.

"As a priest, he has lots of experience helping people through their own experience of mortality," Boor said. "It's very sensitive and important, so having his experience helping us along has been very good."

Father Rosales-Acosta said the issues related to death, like assisted suicide, are heavy moral issues.

"People are afraid of suffering or afraid of being a burden to their family," he said. "Fifty years ago, to [consider assisted suicide] would be an abomination, but now it's become so common that some people claim it is a right."

Dying May Be the Most Important Thing You Do

While there are new situations today that affect moral theology because of recent technological advances, Father Rosales-Acosta said the Church is very clear: "Any kind of murder or any instance in which the human life is threatened is unacceptable."

Boor said at its most basic level, death is a huge matter that affects every person. She referred to a homily she once heard where the priest said: The most important thing you will do is die.

"From a Catholic perspective, the state of your soul at the moment of your death impacts you for eternity," she recounted. "Whether or not you hold that point of view, everyone knows that death is really important. Our project explores the different ways that people either address or try to sidestep the seriousness of human mortality."

---

Abstract: Hide and Seek:Our Paradoxical Dealings with Death and Mortality


In contemporary society, we encounter a bifurcated response to the issue of death and mortality.  On the one hand, people seek to avoid death through extreme technological intervention. On the other hand, there are those who see death as a means to avoid the unbearable circumstances of their lives.  Neither approach is correct. To see through the perplexing dichotomy in the modern response to death and mortality, a holistic approach is necessary. If we are to understand who man is and why he exists, we must take into account the biological, historical, legal, cultural, and philosophical components of this difficult issue. When we become fully mindful of man's nature and circumstances, it then becomes apparent that we should neither hide from nor seek out death. Instead, we ought to treat death as a natural part of the human experience, and not as its annihilation.

Boor, Kelsey; Cara, Lukas; Cruz, Austin; Hartley, Nadia; Lenz, Ruthie; Markus, David; Miller, C.J.; Randolph, Veronica; Snodgrass, Dominika; Ventura, Midori; Weatherford, Matthew; West, Allison; and Wurst, Carrie.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More College & University

4 reasons Catholic education needs your help this year Watch

Image of Are America's Catholic schools being attacked? (Wordpress)

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Catholic education system is coming under attack by a plethora of policies designed to make the hiring process, acceptance of anti-Christian viewpoints, transgender issues and Catholic identity concerns. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Cardinal Newman ... continue reading


Catholic identity or education: Are the top Catholic universities falsely rated by secular standards? Watch

Image of

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A list of the top 40 traditional Catholic and Jesuit colleges in America was created, but were they rated fairly? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Newsmax revealed their top forty Catholic and Jesuit colleges in America, but what were their standards?The United ... continue reading


Becoming Divine Mercy: A Mission of Mercy Watch

Image of

By Jessie Tappel, Communications Director at Divine Mercy University

God, the source of all mercy, provides us with an experience so great that we have no choice but to reflect it to our own brother and sister. Mercy calls for an outward response, which is made clear in the examples of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. You can ... continue reading


UST Breaks Ground on New Center for Science and Health Professions Watch

Image of

By Darnell Miller - University of St. Thomas

The University of St. Thomas, a member of the world-renowned Texas Medical Center, broke ground on a new Center for Science and Health Professions on Nov. 12, 2015. The new facility, containing more than 100,000 square-feet of modern lab space and classrooms, will meet ... continue reading


Religion and Science: The Evolutionary Controversy

Image of

By Kyle Jorstad, Grove City College

Catholic Online welcomes scholarly submissions for consideration, contact marshconnolly@catholiconline.email Abstract: Though members of the scientific and atheistic community alike often tout science as the downfall of religion, theories regarding Darwinian evolution ... continue reading


Do you love America? What these college professors were caught doing on camera will shock you! Watch

Image of The Constitution codifies many liberties, including the right to shred the Constitution itself.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

It should be no surprise that America's colleges and universities are overrun with anti-American liberals who lack all respect for the country and the principles upon which it is founded. In an age where political correctness has run amok, students are indoctrinated by ... continue reading


Catholic Colleges: Tackling Student Loans Ethically

Image of NORTHEAST CATHOLIC COLLEGE

By Caitlin Bootsma

It's almost an assumption in today's world that students will take out a staggering amount of debt to be able to attend a four year university. And, with college costs rising faster than the rate of inflation, 18 year olds are signing themselves up for increasingly ... continue reading


Franciscan nun becomes first woman head of a pontifical university Watch

Image of Sister Melone is an alumnus of the university set up in 1890 in honor of St Anthony, a 13th century saint from Spain known for his forceful preaching and expert knowledge of the Bible.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education made history last week when it nominated a Franciscan nun as the first woman head of a pontifical university. In a position held usually by priests, Sister Mary Melone will become the rector of the Pontifical ... continue reading


University of St. Thomas Graduates First Nursing Cohort in 25 Years

Image of University of St. Thomas Nursing Graduate, Elizabeth Ciocco

By Darnell Miller - University of St. Thomas

This May 27 nursing students, including Elizabeth Ciocco, will be the first nursing students to graduate from the University of St. Thomas in nearly 25 years.  Ciocco joins 298 undergraduates and 739 graduates at the University's 64th Commencement ... continue reading


University of St. Thomas Honors Research Goes 6 Feet Under

Image of Honors Program students consider the issues of death and mortality in the Contemporary Seminar research presented at UST's Research symposium.

By Brenda Cooper, University of St. Thomas

A few hundred people have undergone cryopreservation procedures since 1962, having their bodies cooled to sub-zero temperatures, with the hope that one day they may be brought back to life using highly advanced technology. It's the kind of issue-along with assisted ... continue reading


All College & University News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Kings 3:4-13
4 The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, since that was the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
9 How can a young man keep his way spotless? By keeping your ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 6:30-34
30 The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 6th, 2016 Image

St. Paul Miki
February 6: Paul was the son of a Japanese military leader. ... Read More