Vatican official identifies faith-science "areas of conflict"

Issuing a call for reconciliation between faith and science, the president of the Vatican's science and social science academies, Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, has identified three key "areas of conflict" between the two domains.

Catholic News Agency reports that Bishop Sorondo was speaking at a seminar in his Oviedo, Spain archdiocese on the reconciliation between science, philosophy, and faith.

In comments at a press conference, Bishop Sanchez said the three "areas of conflict" regarding "the harmonisation of science and faith" that need to be reconciled involve life issues, the origin of human beings, and the biological conception of the person.

The first area concerns "the problem of when an individual human being begins, whether with the stem cells, with the embryo, etc." and united with this, that of "when an individual human dies, since the concept of death has changed: it has gone from rigor mortis to cessation of heartbeat, and later, to brain death, but brain death is something that not all religions accept, although the Catholic Church does."

The second area of conflict is in the field of brain research, "where great discoveries have been made during the last 70 years to the point that today [the brain] is understood to be the centre of energy of the entire organism," Bishop Sanchez continued.

Yet "some think that man is only intellect, only neurons, but we speak of the mind, or spirit, or soul, or person," he stressed.

The third area of conflict concerns "the origin of man: when does he appear," that is, "evolution and creation".

It is urgent, the bishop emphasised, "that the conditions of harmony be re-established", as they were broken by "modern science" but can be found in "the Summa Theologica of St Thomas, with everything in order, or in the Greek vision of the world, when Aristotle, in this most important treaty, locates the soul of plants, of animals, and of man".

Vatican official calls for reconciliation of faith and science (Catholic News Agency, 13/2/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo (Catholic Hierarchy)
Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences
Pontifical Academy of Sciences

14 Feb 2007

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