Cephas 2018

CEPHAS 2018: Human Freedom and Ethics in the World Today.

‘What is man? What is the meaning and purpose of our life? What is good and what is sin? What origin and purpose do sufferings have? What is the way to attaining true happiness? […] What is freedom and what is its relationship to the truth towards which we tend? What is the role of conscience in man’s moral development? How do we determine, in accordance with the truth about the good, the specific rights and duties of the human person?’ (Veritatis Splendor, 1993)

Cephas 2018 explored the Thomistic framework underpinning the encyclicalsVeritatis Splendor [The Splendour of the Truth] (1993) and Humanae vitae [Of Human Life] (1968).

We didn’t focus on the specific, and contentious issues raised by the encyclicals 25 and 50 years on. Rather, we took a step back to examine the philosophical and theological rationale underpinning the Church’s statements, especially with regard to the Thomistic tradition of natural law, and its relationship to human freedom. We discussed together core human questions about freedom, ethics, happiness, sin, moral law, and conscience.

As usual, participants were also able to join in the daily liturgy of the Stone community. The guest lecturer was Br Andrew Brooks, OP, who championed St Catherine of Siena as a Dominican thinker, doer, and prophet for our time.

What participants said:

“Thank you so much – a very informative and stimulating course with plenty of participation.”


“The sense of community was wonderful – very welcoming and a supportive atmosphere in which to voice thoughts and pose questions.”


“George and Sr. Valery as always excellent teachers and guides.”


“As a beginner I found it both accessible and challenging, but my impression is that it was also addressed to the more experienced – so skilful, thank you.”


“Excellent staff. Excellent and most kind hospitality. And a privilege to find myself among the other students here who brought so much to the weekend.”