16th Century Priest Hailed as Model in Faith-Science Friendship

Jesuit's Contribution Commemorated at Rome Conference

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ROME, DEC. 16, 2011 (Zenit.org).- A symposium held last week at Rome's Pontificial Gregorian University commemorated the work of a Croatian Jesuit, Father Ruđer Josip Bošković, who played an important role in promoting a dialogue between science and faith in the 16th century.

The university's rector, Jesuit Father François-Xavier Dumortier, said he considered the symposium as an obligation because if institutions do not recall the past then they are condemned to what is superficial.

He described how Bošković opened up a profound dialogue between faith and science. He suggested that as we mark the third anniversary of his death we have the opportunity to bring to mind his contribution.

Bošković's love for science was subjugated to his love for Christ. When he was offered a professorship at the University of Pisa, on the condition that he renounce his clerical status, he refused.

Jesuit Father Anto Tustonjic, provincial superior in Croatia, said that the ever-present skepticism and relativism in a large part of the media portray the central truths of the Catholic faith as no longer being relevant. Everything is now said to be relative and reduced to what is of use to me, mere opportunism.

"We also wish to propose this model (Father Bošković) of a man of science to young people, because these two things, science and faith, are not opposed,” he said.

"Bošković said that whoever considers all that is created as only the result of chance cannot make a bigger mistake,” Father Tustonjic added.

Also present was a representative from Croatia's foreign ministry, Mario Nobilo, who recalled Pope Benedict XVI's visit to his country in June, during which he quoted Bošković.

The Croatian parliament dedicated 2011 as a year of honor for Bošković.