Science and religion are often view as opposing forces. Although the Catholic church has long struggled to accommodate scientific research, recent evidence suggests that there is a better relationship.
Pope Francis embraces science as a means of learning about the world in many ways. His encyclical, Climate Change and the Environment, has called for people to take more care of the environment.
His message is not about having dominion of the earth but rather encourages stewardship. This message resonated with Catholics all over the world.
What impact can Pope Francis have on the way people of faith interact with science by aligning his papal agenda with science?
Catholics Church Accept Science
Pope Francis’s commitment to scientific discussions and the modern church’s devotion are just a few of the possible motivators.
It becomes increasingly difficult to discredit basic scientific findings. It is better to accept new findings than to try and discredit them.
Other than the pardoning Galileo for believing in the heliocentric Solar System, Guy Consolmagno, director of the Vatican Observatory, said that he would gladly baptise an extraterrestrial.
Another factor is the fact that some scientific advances and discoveries are so important that they raise moral questions. The church gains traction here because of the ethical implications of science development.
In 1994, the Pontifical Academy for Life was establish to provide advice for the church on scientific issues, including medical ethics.
The academy is currently exploring ethical issues in areas such as bioethics and human genome editing.
It is possible that the church has an interest in science and contributes to it through its own research initiatives. The most well-known of these is the Vatican observatory.
The original purpose of the observatory was to accurately regulate the religious calendar. It has been a significant contributor to modern astronomical research for centuries.
Faith And Facts Don’t Always Have To Be At Odds
Catholics seem to be open-mind to the idea of science being compatible with God’s creation theory.
The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate discovered that Catholics were more open to scientific world views than other religious groups in 2017.
This relative ease with science is illustrate by the Church’s willingness to allow serious discussion about evolution since at least 1950 when Pope Pius XII stated that evolution could coexist in Catholic doctrine. (Even though the paragraph below mentions the Biblical Adam, a real person in his statement).
John Paul II was able to strengthen this engagement with evolution, stating that evolution was more than just a hypothesis. Galileo of heresy was also formally acquit by John Paul II.
Pope Francis today is open about his belief that evolution is a way God create humanity.
This series of developments may have help American Catholics to accept that life is evolving rather than being create in its current form.
Are You A Believer In Church Science Or Faith?
It is said that science is about finding empirical facts about the world, while religion is about finding meanings in it. However, this is an inaccurate understanding of both.
Many religious teachings are grounded in simple, immediate actions. Science provides powerful narratives that help us understand the universe.
Many of the greatest scientists, including Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon and Nicolaus Copernicus were Catholics. This could be attributed to cultural and philosophical norms of the time.
While many scientists today are people of faith in some way, the proportion of scientists who don’t believe in God is significantly higher than the general population.
The Pontifical Academy for Life is home to some of the most respected scientists and academics in the world. They may not be Catholic, but their willingness to help the church with critical issues and engage with them is remarkable.
If the church and Pope Francis didn’t value scientific knowledge, this would not be possible.