Fr. John Cihak, S.T.D. is pastor of Sacred Heart-St. Louis Catholic Churches in Gervais, Oregon and associate professor of theology at Mount Angel Seminary. He earned a B.A. in philosophy and theology from the University of Notre Dame (1992), and a licentiate (S.T.L., 1999) and doctorate (S.T.D., 2007) in fundamental theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. His dissertation, Salvific Anxiety: the Phenomenon, Origins, Redemption and Transformation of Anxiety according to Hans Urs von Balthasar, was awarded summa cum laude. He has published several articles on various theological topics, and has lectured for the Catholic Medical Association guilds of Oregon, Washington and Orange County. He is also an associate member of Physicians for Compassionate Care. He currently serves as a theological consultant for the STARS study on the long-term effects of meditation upon the brain and nervous system at the University of California, Irvine Department of Psychiatry and Behavior. This article was originally presented on June 14, 2007 at the Psychiatry and Spirituality Forum of UCI, a part of the Local Societies Initiative of the Metanexus Institute.
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