Pope: Culture Must Not Sacrifice Man for Technology

Pays Visit to Lateran University

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 23, 2006 (Zenit.org).- On a visit to the Lateran University, Benedict XVI spoke about the crisis of contemporary culture which sacrifices humanism for the sake of technology.

The Holy Father blessed the university’s new library, dedicated to Pope St. Pius X, during his visit Saturday to mark the opening of the academic year.

Benedict XVI told those present that “The contemporary world seems to give pride of place to an artificial intelligence ever more dominated by experimental techniques and thus forgetful that science must always defend man and promote his efforts toward true good. …

“Overestimating ‘doing’ and obscuring ‘being’ does not help to recompose that fundamental balance which everyone needs in order to give life a firm foundation and a valid goal.”

The Pope continued: “Mankind is called to give meaning to its actions, especially when they enter the territory of a scientific discovery that comprises the very essence of personal life.

“To allow oneself to be carried away by the joy of discovery, without safeguarding the criteria that arise from a more profound view, would be to relive the drama of the ancient myth: The young Icarus, carried away with the desire of flying to absolute freedom, … got ever closer to the sun, forgetting that the wings upon which he rose to the skies were made of wax. His fall and death were the price he paid for this illusion.”

“There are other illusions in life that cannot be trusted without the risk of disastrous consequences for one’s own existence and that of others,” the Holy Father observed.

Therefore, a university has “the task not only to investigate truth, … but also to promote knowledge of every aspect of that truth, defending it from reductive and distorting interpretations,” Benedict XVI contended. “This is of vital importance in order to confer a deeply rooted identity on personal life, and to encourage responsibility in social relationships.”

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