Pope affirms there is no opposition between faith’s and science’s view of creation.
Benedict XVI said this when he addressed members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences who were beginning their plenary assembly on “Scientific insight into the Evolution of the Universe and of Life”.
The Holy Father recalled how his predecessors, Popes Pious XII and John Paul II noted that there is no opposition between faith’s understanding of creation and the evidence of the empirical sciences.
But for the world to develop it first has to exist. And he explained: “In order to develop and evolve, the world must be, and thus have come from nothing into being. It must be created, in other words, by the first Being who is such by essence.”
He explained how Thomas Aquinas observed that creation is the foundational and continuing relationship that links the creature to the Creator, for He is the cause of every being and all becoming.
The Holy Father noted that the word “evolve” literally means “to unroll a scroll”, that is, to read a book.
“The imagery of nature as a book has its roots in Christianity and has been held dear by many scientists” he said. “This image also helps us to understand that the world, far from originating out of chaos, resembles an ordered book; it is a cosmos.
Notwithstanding elements of the irrational, chaotic, and the destructive in the long processes of change in the cosmos, matter as such is “legible”. It has an inbuilt “mathematics”.
Because of this, the Pope said, humanity can engage not just in studying measurable phenomena but also in discerning the visible inner logic of the cosmos.
“We may not at first be able to see the harmony both of the whole and of the relations of the individual parts, or their relationship to the whole”, he acknowledged. “Yet, there always remains a broad range on intelligible events, and the process is rational in that it reveals an order of evident correspondences and undeniable finalities, between microstructure and macrostructure; in the organic and animal world, between structure and function; and in the spiritual world, between knowledge of the truth and the aspiration to freedom”.
"Experimental and philosophical inquiry gradually discovers these orders; it perceives them working to maintain themselves against imbalances, and overcoming obstacles. And thanks to the natural sciences we have greatly increased our understanding of the uniqueness of humanity's place in the cosmos.”
Benedict XVI noted that the existence of beings capable of God points to the existence of the “intellective soul of a free transcendent subject.”
Thus, he said, the Church has constantly affirmed that the immortal soul is created by God, not produced by parents.
He concluded by thanking the scholars and scientists, recalling words from John Paul II: "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. For this important mutual enrichment in the search for the truth and the benefit of mankind, I am, with the whole Church, profoundly grateful."
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 31, 2008. Full text: www.zenit.org/article-24120?l=english
Pope urges students to be wise, not arrogant.
Today, when he greeted students in St. Peter's Basilica after a Mass marking the inauguration of the academic year for pontifical and ecclesiastical universities of Rome, Benedict XVI encouraged students to seek the true wisdom that comes from God, not the "wisdom of this world."
The "wisdom of this world," he said, "is a way of living and seeing things, dispensing with God and following popular opinion, according to the criteria of success and power."
The Holy Father clarified that divine wisdom is not opposed to human knowledge, but is a question of attitude. Divine wisdom, he said, is "following the mind of Christ, the one who opens the eyes of the heart to follow the path of truth and love.
He explained St. Paul's opposition to intellectual pride. St. Paul denounces: "the poison of false wisdom, which is human pride. It is not, therefore, knowledge in itself that can cause harm, but rather presumption, the 'vainglory' from what one has come -- or imagines he has come -- to know."
The Apostle, the Pope continued, "doesn't want in any way to lead to an undervaluing of the human effort necessary for knowing, but rather places himself on another plane: Paul is interested in emphasizing -- and he does it without any half measures -- what it is that is truly worthwhile for salvation and that which, on the other hand, can bring division and ruin."
What St. Paul opposes, he affirmed, is "a type of intellectual pride, in which man, even knowing a lot, loses his sensitivity for the truth and his willingness to open himself to the novelty of divine action."
The Bishop of Rome thus invited the students to "consider spiritual formation according to the thought of Christ as fundamental " and a "true perspective for your studies."
"To know and understand spiritual things, it is necessary to be spiritual men and women, because if one is of the flesh, he inevitably falls into stubbornness, even if he studies much and is a 'wise one' and 'debater of this age,'" he added, citing St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians.
"Remaining faithful to this Jesus that Mary offers us, to this Christ who the Church presents us," the Pope concluded, "we can engage ourselves intensely in intellectual work, interiorly free of the temptation to pride and glorifying always and only in the Lord."
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 31, 2008
Benedict XVI encourages more teamwork with movements.
Young ecclesial movements are a gift from God and their contributions should be valued and welcomed with trust.The Pope affirmed this when he received in audience two groups attending conferences related to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.
The Holy Father affirmed that the "ecclesial movements and new communities, which bloomed after the Second Vatican Council, are a unique gift of the Lord and a precious resource for the life of the Church."
"They should be welcomed with trust and valued in their various contributions," he stated.
The charismas, the Pontiff continued, arise "as visible signs of the coming of the Holy Spirit." They are not, "a historical event of the past," but an "always living reality."
"The Spirit himself, soul of the Church, acts in her in every age, and his interventions, mysterious and efficacious, manifest themselves in our times in a providential way," Benedict XVI said. "The movements and new communities are like an inrush of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in contemporary society.
"One of the positive elements and aspects of the communities of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal is precisely the importance given by them to the charisms and gifts of the Holy Spirit and their merit lies in having reminded the Church of the actuality [of these gifts]."
Citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Pope emphasized "the value and the importance of the new charisms in the Church, whose authenticity is guaranteed by the willingness to submit themselves to discernment from ecclesiastical authorities."
"Precisely because of the fact that we are witnesses of a promising flourishing of movements and ecclesial communities, it is important that pastors carry out with the [movements] a prudent, wise and benevolent discernment," he added.
In this context, the Holy Father said he deeply hopes that "dialogue between pastors and ecclesial movements intensifies at all levels: in parishes, dioceses, and with the Apostolic See."
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 31, 2008
This month’s Papal prayer intentions:
Benedict XVI is praying this month "That the testimony of love offered by the Saints may fortify Christians in their devotion to God and their neighbour, imitating Christ who came to serve and not to be served."
The Holy Father also chooses an apostolic intention for each month. In November, he will pray that "the Christian communities of Asia, contemplating the face of Christ, may know how to find the most suitable ways to announce him, in full faithfulness to the Gospel, to the peoples of that vast continent so rich in culture and ancient forms of spirituality."
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 31, 2008
A prayer for the Holy Father:
Christ Jesus, King and Lord of the Church, in your presence I renew my unconditional loyalty to your Vicar on earth, the Pope. In him you have chosen to show us the safe and sure path that we must follow in the midst of confusion, uneasiness, and unrest. I firmly believe that through him you govern, teach, and sanctify us; with him as our shepherd, we form the true Church: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Grant me the grace to love, live, and spread faithfully our Holy Father’s teachings. Watch over his life, enlighten his mind, strengthen his spirit, defend him from calumny and evil. Calm the erosive winds of infidelity and disobedience. Hear our prayer and keep your Church united around him, firm in its belief and action, that it may truly be the instrument of your redemption. Amen.
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