The Church trusts in the advancement of science


PAT Kenny recently interviewed ‘rebellious’ priest Father Iggy O’Donovan on his morning show Newstalk to talk about the future of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

The Augustinian priest has clashed with the Vatican on a number of issues over the years, and Kenny invited him to the show to talk about how the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed “how people care little about the Church in modern Ireland “.

Father Iggy argued that “overall” the Church has not failed during the pandemic and the Church’s influence has “collapsed like a house of cards”.

He added that the Church is “in intensive care” and suffers from “deadly indifference”.

However, Father Iggy ended his contribution by recounting a famous anecdote involving Napoleon and a high-ranking Catholic cardinal.

During a heated argument with the cardinal, Napoleon is said to have darkly reminded his eminence that he had the power to destroy the Catholic Church.

Legend has it that the cardinal replied with irony: “Your Majesty, we, the Catholic clergy, have done our best to destroy the Church for the past 1,800 years. We weren’t successful, and neither were you.

One of the most interesting parts of the segment came with the listeners’ comments at the end.

One listener said Father Iggy “should be named Taoiseach or Pope”, while another said he would consider returning to Church after hearing “the refreshing honesty” of the priest.

However, another said: “Religion is dying because we are pretty sure that God does not exist. Fairy tales invented by cavemen who had no knowledge of science. We now have computers and spaceships.

It is truly incredible that an institution that has pushed and advanced scientific research is so consistently and lazily ridiculed as “anti-science”.

Copernicus was a devout Catholic and canon of Frauenberg Cathedral. He is perhaps best known as the astronomer who proposed the heliocentric system, which placed the Sun at the center of the universe, rather than the Earth.

Copernicus’s publication on the revolutions of the celestial spheres is often considered the start of the scientific revolution.

Catholic theologian and mathematician Blaise Pascal invented the mechanical calculator and developed the theory of probability, while Augustinian priest Gregor Mendel is recognized as the founder of the science of genetics.

The “Big Bang” theory is often spoken of as if it were the last nail in the coffin of God’s existence; however, a Catholic priest is credited with having developed the theory of the origins of the universe which would later receive the “Big Bang” label.

In 1931, Georges Lemaître, Belgian priest and professor of physics at the Catholic University of Louvain, proposed his theory according to which at a given moment all the mass of the universe was concentrated in a single point, “the primitive atom” where time and space came from. in existence.

The theory of evolution is also seen by many as a risk to the Church, but it is the Jesuit Catholic Jean-Baptiste Lamarck who is hailed as one of the early proponents of biological evolution, alongside Gregory. Mendel mentioned above.

It may be tempting to refute the above by arguing that it is the actions of a few free-thinker rebels that are in direct conflict with a medieval Church.

But it was Roger Bacon, the Franciscan friar, who was one of the first European defenders of the empirical scientific method. And it was Pope Clement IV who gave him a special commission to write on scientific subjects.

The Church has long been a patron of science and it is Catholics like Roger Bacon who are credited as the founders of modern science.

Historian Lawrence Principe called the Catholic Church “the greatest single and longest-term patron of science in history” due to being the largest private provider of medical care and facilities. research in the world.

The historian added that “many contributors to the scientific revolution were themselves Catholics”.

Far from being “anti-science”, the belief in God has cultivated the contribution of Catholicism in the sciences. The Church is famous for its work in the field of astronomy, which initially stemmed from difficulties in determining the date of Easter.

Easter falls on the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or after the spring equinox. The ability to predict this in a way that provided ample time to prepare for the holidays led to developments in astronomy.

Today, the Vatican Observatory continues to advance understanding of the universe through its astronomical research.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church declares that “there can never be a real divergence between faith and reason”.

He adds: “Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human spirit, God cannot deny himself, and the truth can never contradict the truth … humble and persevering in the secrets of nature is being led, so to speak, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the keeper of all things, who made them what they are. “

The advancement of the scientific method by Catholicism was born out of its desire to find order in the universe. It was a refutation of paganism and witchcraft and its primitive worship of nature.

The universe is full of “mysteries” but the Church has maintained that it was created by a logical God in a logical way.

Thus, it is up to us “humble and conservative investigators” to uncover the underlying truth of the universe using our God-given intellect.

The Church has done this from its very beginnings and continues to this day with the support of the Church in some of the most prestigious scientific and medical departments of the world’s greatest universities and hospitals.

Despite all this, the lazy revisionism of Church history continues.

For example, some media recently expressed bemusement that the Pope said the Big Bang theory was real, ignoring the fact that a Catholic priest had proposed it.

Father Iggy did not challenge the listener who asserted that the Church is “anti-science,” but it is time for the laity to embrace the Church’s many and varied scientific achievements and question this narrative.

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