Science and the Catholic Church

“The Catholic Church is archaic”

“Catholic teaching is behind the times”

“The Church needs to get with the 21st century”

Chances are, if you are Catholic, you have either heard these statements or, ahem, uttered them yourself at one time or another. Sometimes Catholic teachings can cause us to stretch our spiritual muscles so much that it’s easier to complain or blame the Church than to look within and see why we don’t want to follow certain teachings. But one thing is clear, of all Christian religions, in the area of science and scientific research, the Catholic Church is the most supportive and up-to-date.

Rather than a Creationism view that most Protestants take, giving full authority of history, science, and spirituality to the Bible, the Catholic Church supports the view of Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design is the belief that humanity is made of such sophisticated complexity that could not have arisen accidently. Intelligent Design makes more sense and can coincide with science because it is open to the advancements of science such as the discovery of dinosaur bones and the proof of evolution. Intelligent Design goes as far as using science as proof of the complexity of life, further proving that someone or something (God) must have created it. Personally, I enjoy pondering the complexity of life as a way of glimpsing at only some of the intricacies of God himself.

So does the Magesterium support the view that scientific research has a place in the Catholic Church? As a matter of fact, beginning with Pope Pius XI in 1929 and continuing through the present day Papacy, leaders of the Catholic Church have affirmed the importance of science. Pope Pius XI went as far as saying that “scientific truth never contradicts religious truths”. In more recent times, Pope Blessed John Paul II, has stated that evolution is no longer considered a hypothesis worth consideration, but a truth revealed through science. This was but one step closer to closing the gap between religious views and scientific research.

The greatest proof that the Catholic religion and science can work hand-in-hand is the fact that the Catholic Church has birthed many famous scientists over the years. The list includes: Louis Braille, inventor of the Braille system; Nicolaus Copernicus, mathematician who developed the Copernican System; Andre-Marie Ampere, founder of the science of electrodynamics; Blaise Pascal, famous philosopher and mathematician;  and Louis Pasteur, founder of the practice of pasteurization. The influence of these scientists on modern-day technology is significant, proving that faith and science can complement one another seamlessly.

Though the Catholic Church is often said to be out of touch with the modern culture, she has served as a trendsetter among Christian circles in her staunch support of scientific research, making the Catholic Church one of the most highly developed religions in the world. Only the Catholic Church can bring together scientific proof with theological truth and come up with a reasonable answer to the “why” and “how” of humanity. Though religion and science have been considered at odds with one another for a very long time, the Catholic Church has been a long-time supporter of scientific research and will remain that way for all time.

Coyne, G.V. (2011). John paul ii on the relationship between the natural sciences and religious belief: five key discourses. Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Sciences. Retrieved from http://www.disf.org/en/OtherTexts/Coyne.asp

Evans, J.H. (2011). Epistemological and moral conflict between religion and science. Journal for the scientific study of religion (2011) 50 (4): 707-727. Retrieved from http://www.EBSCOhost.com

Copyright © 2013, Alicia Hart

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Alicia Hart

Alicia Hart

Alicia Hart is the crafty Catholic multicultural mom of three boys. She became Catholic in 2007 after a life of longing for the faith. To see her crafty ideas and reviews written from a Catholic viewpoint, visit her at her blog, Through My “I”s. Her Catholic crafts can also be found on the first Monday of every month at CatholicMom.com. Alicia can be contacted for questions and comments at craftycatholicmom@gmail.com

One response to “Science and the Catholic Church”

  1. Alicia, be careful how you use words which have been hijacked by the political process. They tend to communicate something which you do not intend. I try to never use such words; liberal, conservative, gay, homosexual; and “Intelligent Design”. The extreme right wing of Christianity uses this phrase to mean, “God made it in 6 24-hour days, and that’s all there is to it!” The Discovery Institute uses this phrase to describe agnosticism. Catholic teaching is neither. I am both a scientist (geologist) and a cradle Catholic, so I spend much time immersed in this thought process. Let me assure you that in the 21st century USA, the political process is the enemy of science. The Catholic Church has been proved by scientific discovery to have been teaching the truth all along.

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