Where we left off yesterday in pastoral proposals, we were considering beholding the universe with a posture of adoration and contemplation. Here’s more from the Pontifical Council for Culture:
The teaching of an authentic philosophy of nature and a beautiful theology of creation needs a new impulse in a culture where the dialogue faith-science is particularly crucial. It is a culture for which clerics need a minimum level of epistemological awareness and scientists can draw more from the immense undertakings of the Christian wisdom tradition. [Cf. Pontifical Council for Culture, Towards a Pastoral Approach to Culture, 1999, n. 35] The prejudices of scientism and fideism are still present in everyday mentality, so it is important to provoke occasions for a meeting between people of science and faith at all levels: in Catholic teaching institutions, formation houses, Universities, Catholic Cultural Centers, etc..
Again, I think it is more of a case that religion has ceded wonder to science. At least as often the Church presents a mentality of objective truth, rigidity, and surety. Even in matters about which it lacks the competence of the full truth of the natural universe.
Were you readers aware of the Jubilee of Scientists? Or Pope John Paul II’s brief document for it?
The Jubilee of Scientists, [Cf. Pontifical Council for Culture, The Human Search for Truth: Philosophy, Science, Theology. International Conference on Science and Faith. The Vatican 23-25 May 2000, Saint Joseph’s University Press, Philadelphia, USA, 2002; Ibid.] celebrated during 2000, has provoked new cultural initiatives destined to renew the dialogue between science and faith. Among these stands Project STOQ (Science, Theology, and the Ontological Quest), promoted by the Pontifical Council for Culture in collaboration with several Pontifical Universities. Indeed, each branch of knowing, e.g. philosophy, theology, social and human sciences, psychology, can contribute to the revealing the beauty of God and of his creation.
I see quite often in academia the openness to dialogue between faith and science. Perhaps parishes might try efforts along these lines. Another avenue to explore is sponsoring direct action to protect or preserve the environment:
Actions in favor of the defense of nature or the natural habitat organized by Christian communities or religious families inspired by the example of St Francis, who “contemplated the Most Beautiful in the beautiful things,” [St Bonaventure, Legenda Maior, IX] have a certain echo and contribute to the development of a vision which is less idolatrous of nature. An example can be seen in the Pastoral letter of the Bishops of Queensland, Australia entitled “Let the Many Coastlands be Glad! A Pastoral Letter on the Great Barrier Reef.” In contemporary culture, it is important to multiply initiatives by which the Church transmits the sense of the authentic value of nature, its beauty, its symbolic power and its capacity to uncover the creating work of God.
And lastly on this, a thought for parishes to engage consultants to review practices to ensure a harmony with nature rather than offering yet another human imposition on the landscape.
The full document is here.
Image: the rose window at Notre Dame in Paris, By Zachi Evenor based on File:North rose window of Notre-Dame de Paris, Aug 2010.jpg by Julie Anne Workman – CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60404628