I am honored to accept an invitation to write the blog below for The Catholic Astronomer. In September 2017, Professor Gerry Williger, an astronomer at the University of Louisville, contacted me about the talks that are part of the Public Astronomy Lecture Series hosted by Uof L’s L’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. With this contact, I invited scientists who serve at local universities to meet and discuss our common interest in science and theology. The result has been great discussions about a variety of topics, and. I look forward to further dialogue. To read my blog post and the introduction by Professor Christopher Graney on the Vatican Observatory Blog, go here.
What a joy it is to be on the regular emails of the Vatican Observatory Blog. I have had an interest in faith and science since I was a boy. In recent days, much of what is written on this topic assumes that faith and science are opposed to one another. Instead, Saint John Paul II points out so well in his 1998 encyclical on the topic, Fides et Ratio, that faith complements science—leading the inquirer to greater and greater wonder and curiosity at the magnificence of God’s creation.
I was delighted about a year ago to meet with three scientists teaching at local universities in Louisville. They reached out to me in the hope that we might discuss the relationship between their Catholic faith and their professions. We have met three times and even added some others to the dialogue. Thus far it has been greatly enriching for me. While our purpose has been to talk and not to plan programs or events, already fruitful results are emerging on the horizon beyond our small group. At our next meeting, we are inviting two high school teachers from a local Catholic high school—one a theology teacher and the other a teacher of science—who have been collaborating to bring together the richness of both of their concentrations. These developments remind me of the Latin definition of theology as fides quaerens intellectum or “faith seeking understanding.” The history of theology clearly reveals that a lively faith does not shun the secular sciences but both learns from them and enriches them.