Pope to Scientists: ‘You Are Accountable Ultimately to God’

Warning to Not Misuse Biotechnologies, Reminds That Sciences and Technology Are Made for Man and World, Not Vice Versa

PHOTO.VA - L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO

“The principle of accountability is an essential cornerstone of human action, and man must answer for his own acts and omissions before himself, others and ultimately God.”

Pope Francis sent this strong message to members of the National Committee for Biosafety, Biotechnology and Life Sciences at an audience in the Vatican, this morning, April 10, 2017, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the institution of the committee at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

The Pontiff began greeting those present and acknowledging that the themes and issues that their committee faces are of great importance for contemporary man, both as an individual and in the relational and social dimension, starting with the family and also in local and national as well as international communities, and in care for creation.

With this in mind, the Pope stressed, “let me remind you that the sciences and technologies are made for man and for the world, not the man and the world for science and technology.”

“They are at the service of a dignified and healthy life for all, now and in the future, and make our common home more liveable and supportive, more careful and guarded.”

The Pope had began his address recalling that in the book of Genesis, we read:“the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it” (2:15). Francis reminded them of how essential it is that they remember that in whatever they do,  they are to “cultivate” and “keep” the garden of the world, which entails caring for, protecting, overseeing and preserving.

Predict, Prevent Manipulation of Life

“Your task,” the Pontiff highlighted, “is not only that of promoting the harmonious and integrated development of scientific and technological research that relates to the biological processes of plant, animal and human life; you are also asked to predict and prevent the negative consequences that can result in a distorted use of knowledge and skills to manipulate life.”

The scientist, like the technologist, the Pope explained, is called to “know” and “know how” with increasing precision and creativity in his or her field of competence and, at the same time, “make responsible decisions on steps to be taken, and those before which it is necessary to stop, and take a different road.”

Accountability

“The principle of accountability is an essential cornerstone of human action, and man must answer for his own acts and omissions before himself, others and ultimately God.”

Technologies, even more than sciences, the Pope stressed, put in the hands of man an enormous and growing power.

“The major risk,” he highlighted, “is that citizens, and sometimes even those who represent them and govern them, do not fully realize the seriousness of the challenges that arise, the complexity of the problems to be solved, and the danger of misusing the power that sciences and the technologies of life put in our hands (see Romano Guardini, The end of the modern era , Brescia 1987, pp. 80-81).”

Pope Francis concluded, saying, “May the Lord bless each one of you, your families and your valuable work,”and saying pray for me as I pray for you.

***

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full Text: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-address-to-national-committee-for-bio-security-bio-technology-and-the-life-sciences/

Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a micro-donation

Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a micro-donation

Subscribe to the ZENIT Daily Email Newsletter

Receive the latest news of the Church and the world in your inbox every day. 

Thank you for subscribing! We will confirm your subscription via email. Please check your spam folder if you do not receive it soon.