Scientific Research Needs Faith-and-Reason Dialogue, Says Pope

Notes That Theology Can Help Round Out Human Learning

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 27, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II says that scientific research needs the dialogue between faith and reason if it is to respond to the full development of the human being.



The Pope expressed this conviction Tuesday when he received Archbishop Zygmunt Kaminski of Szczecin-Kamien, accompanied by a delegation of the academic senate of the University of Szczecin.

The Polish guests came to Rome to celebrate with the Pope the decision of the senate that the university "embrace within its walls the School of Theology that until now has carried out its scientific and educational activity independently."

John Paul II noted that during the Middle Ages it was generally considered that "a university without a school of theology was, in a certain sense, incomplete."

"It is true that modern times have created many dynamic universities that do not have a school of theology, but it seems that the point of view of that time had its reason for being," the Pope added. "The latter is based on the need for dialogue between reason and faith."

"This type of dialogue," the Holy Father continued, "is necessary so that the fruits of scientific research in various disciplines serve the full development of human beings. Just as reason cannot be separated from the soul, science cannot be fully transmitted without keeping in mind the needs of the human soul, which is open to the infinite."

"In addition," he said, "development in the sciences entails many ethical questions that should be resolved while respecting the autonomy of the sciences and the spirit of truth."

John Paul II concluded: "The collegial tendency toward the knowledge of truth about man, the dignity of the human person, the value of life and, at the same time, the greatness of scientific results in all disciplines, will surely serve in the deeper study of transmitted knowledge."