It always delights me when Pope Benedict talks about Dominicans. This week, he spoke of St. Albert the Great, the Doctor Universalis. Among other things, he was the professor of St. Thomas Aquinas, and is the Patron Saint of the natural sciences and of scientists… as well as of philosophers and theology students.
This article summarizes the speech: “Albert the Great: No Contrast Between Faith and Science”. Here is an excerpt:
“Above all, St. Albert shows that there is no opposition between faith and science. … He reminds us that there is friendship between science and faith, and that scientists can, through their vocation to study nature, follow an authentic and absorbing path of sanctity”, said the Holy Father.
“St. Albert the Great opened the door to the complete acceptance of the thought of Aristotle into the philosophy and theology of the Middle Ages, an acceptance that was later definitively elaborated by St. Thomas Aquinas. This acceptance of what we may call pagan or pre-Christian philosophy was an authentic cultural revolution for the time. Yet many Christian thinkers feared Aristotle’s philosophy”, especially as it had been interpreted in such a was as to appear “entire irreconcilable with Christian faith. Thus a dilemma arose: are faith and reason in contrast with one another or not?
“Here lies one of the great merits of St. Albert: he rigorously studied the works of Aristotle, convinced that anything that is truly reasonable is compatible with faith as revealed in Sacred Scripture”, the Pope added.
I wonder how many people realize that we have a Patron Saint of natural sciences and scientists? Remember this the next time you hear or read somebody claim that the Church is ignorant of and/or hostile toward science.