Faith Needs Science and Vice Versa, Says John Paul II

Addresses Pontifical Academy of Sciences

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 10, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Faith and the Church need the contribution of science, and science needs the contribution of faith and the Church, John Paul II said when observing the fourth centenary of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.



The Pope evaluated the relations between faith and science during the years of his pontificate, when he met today in the Vatican with leading scientists and members of the academy, the oldest of its kind.

The Holy Father said that his participation in the assemblies of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences has given him the opportunity over the years to manifest his great esteem for the scientists and to share their concerns and suggestions.

"In encouraging your work I have emphasized the spiritual dimension always present in the search for truth," the Pope said in his English-language address. "I have also affirmed that scientific research must be directed towards the common good of society and the integral development of its individual members."

"We are united in our common desire to correct misunderstandings and even more to allow ourselves to be enlightened by the one Truth which governs the world and guides the lives of all men and women," he added.

"I am more and more convinced that scientific truth, which is itself a participation in divine Truth, can help philosophy and theology to understand ever more fully the human person and God's revelation about man, a revelation that is completed and perfected in Jesus Christ," the Pope continued. "For this important mutual enrichment in the search for the truth and the benefit of mankind, I am, with the whole Church, profoundly grateful."

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences, whose original name was the "Accademia dei Lincei" -- Academy of the Lynxes, an allusion to the sight of this feline animal to which the acuity of scientists was compared -- came into being in 1603 by the initiative of Federico Cesi with the support of Pope Clement VIII.

The academy is international in scope and nonsectarian in its choice of members. See www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_academies/acdscien/index.htm.