ROME — Pope Francis urged scientists Friday to push forward their research as a way of addressing “the challenges of contemporary society.”
“Opposition between faith and science cannot and must not exist,” the pontiff told participants in an international meeting titled “Science for Peace” taking place in the Italian University of Teramo.
“Dear and illustrious scientists, your meeting is a great gift and hope for humanity,” Francis said in his opening video-message. “A relaunch of scientific research to confront the challenges of contemporary society is now more necessary than ever.”
While praising the work of scientists, the pope warned of “a risk that a single scientific advance will be seen as the only possible lens for viewing a particular aspect of life, society and the world.”
The pope went on to suggest that recent experience of the dramatic consequences of lockdowns should teach scientists to look beyond a narrow conception of disease prevention embrace the global needs of persons.
The experience of the coronavirus pandemic has urged the world of science “to rethink the prospects of prevention, therapy, and health organization,” Francis said, in the light of people’s social needs and the quality of relationships between family members and between generations.
“Scientific knowledge should not walk alone in self-sufficiency,” he asserted. “Historical reality is increasingly converging into a unity and needs to be served in the plurality of knowledge,” promoting the dignity and development of every man and woman.
Faced with new challenges, “you scientists are entrusted with the task of witnessing how it is possible to build a new social bond, committing yourselves to making scientific research close to the whole community, from the local to the international one, and that together it is possible to overcome every conflict,” he said.
“Science is a great resource for building peace!” Francis declared, while urging his hearers to assist in the formation of new generations “by teaching them not to be afraid of the toil of research.”
God Himself also wishes to be found, the pope concluded. “He instills in everyone the certainty that when you seek honestly you will discover the truth.”