Laudato Si 131: The Impulse of Science

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. JP2 understood the impulse of science, and is cited here twice:

131. Here I would recall the balanced position of Saint John Paul II, who stressed the benefits of scientific and technological progress as evidence of “the nobility of the human vocation to participate responsibly in God’s creative action”, while also noting that “we cannot interfere in one area of the ecosystem without paying due attention to the consequences of such interference in other areas”.[Message for the 1990 World Day of Peace, 6: AAS 82 (1990), 150.] He made it clear that the Church values the benefits which result “from the study and applications of molecular biology, supplemented by other disciplines such as genetics, and its technological application in agriculture and industry”.[Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (3 October 1981), 3: Insegnamenti 4/2 (1981), 333]

Approval of human initiative in the sciences does not mean a carte blanche for progress without moral limits:

But he also pointed out that this should not lead to “indiscriminate genetic manipulation”[Message for the 1990 World Day of Peace, 7: AAS 82 (1990), 151] which ignores the negative effects of such interventions.

Humankind is irrepressible:

Human creativity cannot be suppressed. If an artist cannot be stopped from using his or her creativity, neither should those who possess particular gifts for the advancement of science and technology be prevented from using their God-given talents for the service of others. We need constantly to rethink the goals, effects, overall context and ethical limits of this human activity, which is a form of power involving considerable risks.

But scientists and artists do not work in isolation. They are part of a world as well as a local community.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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