Pope Francis has proposed a new framework for cooperation between the two areas for the well-being of the planet and the development of society.

During the Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, held last 12 November, the Pope addressed a historic message to the scientific community, in which he proposed a paradigm of social cooperation as a model of relationship between sciences and religion.

Francis explained that the scientific world, which in the past had shown “a certain distrust vis-à-vis spiritual and religious values”, today has become aware of being part of society, and for that he reminded it that it is called “to serve the human family and its integral development”.
Francis, a Pope very sensitive to the social problems that cause people suffering, proposed some points to the scientific community to better serve society, saying that the most urgent situations are the “immense and ongoing crisis of climate change and the nuclear threat”, together with “protecting the health of the planet and its inhabitants”, as their health is at risk “by all those human activities that employ fossil fuels and deforest the planet”.

In view of this broad horizon, the Pope reminded academics that their aim is “to come up with innovative developments in all the principal disciplines of basic science and to acknowledge the boundaries between the various scientific sectors, particularly in physics, astronomy, biology, genetics and chemistry”. Taking the words of Paul VI, Pope Francis asked scientists to live the “charity of knowledge”, that is, that they share with less developed peoples the scientific achievements “in the areas of nutrition, health, education, connectivity, well-being and peace”.

Francis asked in the name of those people that their “research benefit all”, so that countries will be “fed, given to drink, healed and educated”; and he also exhorted that “political life and economy of peoples receive […] indications on how to advance with greater certainty towards the common good, for the benefit especially of the poor and those in need, and towards respect for our planet”.

Pope Francis has turned social crises into the “meeting place” par excellence, and has encouraged religions to work together in aid of the poor and immigrants. Now the Pontiff has proposed that the relationship of the sciences with religion be based not only on academic dialogue, but also on helping to seek solutions to social problems. Working together for the most needy is a novel and excellent model of dialogue. (Luis-Fernando Valdés López. Portaluz 17 November 2018).

 

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