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Science and Faith Are Working Together to Protect the Earth, Says Pope

In address to Pontifical Academy, says scientists free from ideological pressures need to craft a model to face crisis of climate change

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_sfo9680Pope Francis says there is a “new partnership” in the scientific and Christian communities, which have taken up the shared goal of protecting “our common home,” within their “distinct approaches to reality.”
The Pope said this today when he addressed participants in the five-day plenary assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which is considering the theme “Science and sustainability: the repercussion of scientific knowledge and technology on human society and the environment.” The assembly concludes Tuesday. Among those at the assembly is Stephen Hawking (pictured) who gave a presentation on his No-Boundary proposal concerning the beginnings of the universe.
“Never before has there been such a clear need for science to be at the service of a new global ecological equilibrium,” the Pope said.
While welcoming the renewed partnership of scientific and Christian communities, he said he is “pleased that you perceive so deeply the solidarity which joins you to the humanity of both today and tomorrow, in a sign of great care for mother earth.”
“Your commitment is all the more admirable in its orientation towards the full promotion of integral human development, peace, justice, dignity and human freedom,” he added.
The Holy Father said the various topics being considered during the plenary session was proof of this; topics ranged from discoveries in cosmology, to sources of renewable energy, to food security, and the power and the limits of artificial intelligence.

Leadership needed

Francis lamented that we’ve grown up thinking we are masters of nature and “authorized to plunder it without any consideration of its hidden potential and laws of development.” In reality, though, we are “co-operators in protecting and developing the life and biodiversity of the planet and of human life present there.”
The Pope emphasized that there must be not only a full assuming of our responsibilities regarding creation, but also a “search for social justice and the overcoming of an immoral system that produces misery, inequality and exclusion.”
He called on scientists to “work free of political, economic or ideological interests, to develop a cultural model which can face the crisis of climatic change and its social consequences, so that the vast potential of productivity will not be reserved only for the few.”
“Just as the scientific community, through interdisciplinary dialogue, has been able to research and demonstrate our planet’s crisis, so too today that same community is called to offer a leadership that provides general and specific solutions for issues which your plenary meeting will confront: water, renewable forms of energy and food security. It has now become essential to create, with your cooperation, a normative system that includes inviolable limits and ensures the protection of ecosystems, before the new forms of power deriving from the techno-economic model causes irreversible harm not only to the environment, but also to our societies, to democracy, to justice and freedom.”

Law of profit

The Pope lamented the weak reaction from international politics and “the ease with which well-founded scientific opinion about the state of our planet is disregarded.”
“The submission of politics to a technology and an economy which seek profit above all else, is shown by the ‘distraction’ or delay in implementing global agreements on the environment, and the continued wars of domination camouflaged by righteous claims, that inflict ever greater harm on the environment and the moral and cultural richness of peoples,” he said.
Nevertheless, the Pope called his listeners to stay hopeful and to use the “time the Lord grants us.”
“There are also many encouraging signs of a humanity that wants to respond, to choose the common good, and regenerate itself with responsibility and solidarity,” he assured. “Combined with moral values, the plan for sustainable and integral development is well positioned to offer all scientists, in particular those who profess belief, a powerful impetus for research.”
The Pope concluded by invoking divine blessings and asking the scientists to pray for him.

On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-address-to-pontifical-academy-of-science/

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Kathleen Naab

United States

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