Monday, May 18, 2009

Angels and Demons, the Catechesis?

Fr. John Wauk suggests that there is, at least, an element of it. Look at this, from the book:

Peter is the rock. Peter's faith in God was so steadfast that Jesus called Peter 'the rock' -- the unwavering disciple on whose shoulders Jesus would build his Church. On this very location, Langdon realized -- Vatican Hill -- Peter had been crucified and buried. The early Christians built a small shrine over his tomb. As Christianity spread, the shrine got bigger, layer upon layer, culminating in this colossal basilica. The entire Catholic faith had been built, quite literally, upon St. Peter. The rock. (Angels and Demons, Chapter 118)

That's pretty good! :) I also liked Fr. Wauk's response to the stereotypical faith-science hostility question:

It's relatively easy for people to see that a lot of the great art of the Western World -- music, painting, sculpture, literature, architecture -- is the product of a Christian culture, often inspired by the faith or even funded by the Church. That seems obvious. But what people don't realize is that something similar is true of the sciences.

Think about it. Universities are an invention of the Church. Copernicus was a Roman Catholic cleric, and he dedicated his book on the heliocentric universe to the Pope. The calendar we use today is the Gregorian Calendar, because it was promulgated by Pope Gregory XIII, who was working with the best astronomers and mathematicians of his time. Galileo himself always remained a Catholic, and his two daughters were nuns. One of the greatest Italian astronomers of the 19th century was a Jesuit priest, Angelo Secchi. The father of modern genetics, Gregor Mendel, was a Catholic monk. The creator of the "Big Bang" theory was a Belgian priest, Georges Lemaitre.

In short, the idea that there is some natural tension between science and the Church, between reason and faith, is utter nonsense. Nowadays, when people hear the words "science" and "the Church," they immediately think of Galileo's trial in the 1600s. But, in the larger scheme of things, that complex case -- which is frequently distorted by anti-Catholic propagandists -- was a glaring exception. There's a reason why critics of the Church are always bringing it up: It's the only example they've got. So, when we hear the words "science" and "the Church," we should think Copernicus, Secchi, Mendel and Lemaitre. They're representative. Galileo's trial is not. (Emphasis Mine)

That's all for now. We return you to your regular viewing schedule...