The recent declaration by Benedict XVI regarding the purpose of science and its intrinsic role as a service to humanity is indeed a welcome and anticipated statement on the sometimes contradicated positions each discipline holds in respect to each other. Scientific pursuits are indeed called to enhance the situation of humanity, but there is also an obligation for science not to dominate humanity. The discussions of religion and science are literally as old as the multiple discussions that continue over evolution and creationism, the Big Bang Theory and the narrative of creation in Genesis and the perpetual pursuit for eternal life and extraterrestrial life. The discussions thankfully will continue and the continuing contributions of the Catholic Church will be part of the developing appreciation of the developing relationship. There is essentially a continued revelation of God’s mystery that seems to be going on here. Benedict XVI is indeed not the catalyst of the message, but is indeed the messenger of its interpretation. Faith and science are disciplines that transcend the comprehension of our human minds and imaginations, but as faithful Catholics, we should never exclude the potential of integration of each discipline as part of our unfolding understanding of salvation history.

Antagonists have at times suggested that in the history of the Catholic Church there has indeed been some adversity towards an appreciation of scientific discoveries on the part of the Church. This indeed is true; however it is becoming more clearly obvious that Benedict is calling the People of God into a greater recognition of the transcendent nature of our empirical and spiritual comprehensions of all human life. As a collective Church, there seems to exist, a new openness towards a better understanding of the truly sacred integration faith and science both play in the global pursuit of human and scientific discovery. For the Catholic observer it is an opportunity for our faith to positively build on the quantitative discoveries and technologies of science and translate those points into a qualitative integration of global theological, ecological, political and social harmony.

When there is any type of discussion regarding the complimentary roles that science and theology might have in regards to each other, the Jesuit priest, paleontologist Teilhard De Chardin enters into my thoughts and mind. In his scientific works and in his theological writings, he suggested the possibility of such a relational development between science and theology and offered us Christ as the cosmological beginning and end of all creation, the Alpha and the Omega of all time and space and the ultimate conclusion to all scientific reason and discoveries. Maybe such a developmental understanding of Catholic and indeed global cosmology is what is evolving in the papacy of Benedict XVI and the living Catholic Church.

Whatever is happening, however tangible or intangible, sacred or profaned our faith in Jesus Christ through the life and ministry of the Church heralds all Catholic believers to join in an appreciation of the need for global scientific and theological harmony that draws all science and theology towards Christ…our Alpha & Omega point.

Hugh McNichol is a Catholic author and journalist that writes on Catholic topics and issues. He writes daily at http://verbumcarofactumest.blogspot.com & http://pewsitter.com “Nothing Left Unsaid!” is his daily column @ http://catholicnewsagency.com Comments are always welcome @ hugh.mcnichol@trinettc.com

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