Zenit reported earlier this week on Pope Benedict’s address at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
Science, however, while giving generously, gives only what it is meant to give. (Humankind) cannot place in science and technology so radical and unconditional a trust as to believe that scientific and technological progress can explain everything and completely fulfill all … existential and spiritual needs.
Science cannot replace philosophy and revelation by giving an exhaustive answer to (the) most radical questions: questions about the meaning of living and dying, about ultimate values, and about the nature of progress itself.
Sometimes I wonder if the problem isn’t so much the advancement of science, but the lagging abilities of philosophers and perhaps theologians in addressing these root questions. Scientists have embraced various modern media, and many of them are television and publishing personalities. I was watching Ball of Fire with my wife last night, deepply amused at the film’s portrayal of college professors. I wonder if most theologians aren’t the professors of the 21st century, hidebound to old ways of expressing inquiry into these “ultimate” values. Maybe they need some verve–and I don’t mean plying co-eds with alcohol and/or seducing them.
More people like the pope would do, because I wonder if the current state of affairs is less due to scientists overstepping their bounds than it is to theologians who shrink from theirs.