December 1, 2009

Pope Notes Limits of Looking Through a Telescope

Cautions Against Being Blinded by Scientific Success

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 1, 2009 ( Scientific success should not blind humanity to God, Benedict XVI said in a message marking an event for the Year of Astronomy.

The Pope reflected on the successes and limits of science in a message to Monsignor Rino Fisichella, rector of the Pontifical Lateran University. The university is hosting a three-day conference titled "1609-2009: From Galilei's Telescope to Evolutionary Cosmology. Science, Philosophy and Theology in Dialogue." The event concludes Wednesday.

The Holy Father suggested that this year's celebration of the 400th anniversary of Galileo's use of the telescope marks what was an "awareness in culture of being before a crucial point in the history of humanity."

"Science was becoming something different from what the ancients had always thought of it," he observed. "The deductive method was giving way to the inductive, opening the way to experimentation. The concept of science that had lasted for centuries was now modified." And this, the Pontiff said, pointed "to a new conception of the world and man."

More questions

Benedict XVI suggested that today as well, "the universe continues to raise questions to which simple observation, however, is unable to give a satisfactory answer."

Natural and physical sciences, paying recourse only to their own resources, run the risk of presenting the cosmos as "an unresolved enigma."

But Galileo's lesson, the Pope said, is that matter "has an intelligibility capable of speaking to man's intelligence and of indicating a path that goes beyond a simple phenomenon." (Continue reading this article at ZENIT)

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