Some Christians have long felt that science undermines faith; the treatment of Galileo Gaililei, for example, is not one of the Catholic Church’s proudest moments. Some Catholics felt he was challenging the Bible. Truth, however, ultimately comes from a single source: God.
St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, a fellow student with St. Thomas of Aquinas at the University of Paris in the 1240s and ’50s, couldn’t have agreed more. In fact, one of the great intellectual debates they faced was whether something could be true philosophically and false theologically. For example, Aristotle had argued that the world is eternal; the Book of Genesis says that it was created by God. Which is it?
Some students and teachers in Paris considered Aristotle more reliable than the Scriptures on this point. Bonaventure and Aquinas opposed these “radical Aristotelians” by affirming the ultimate unity in God of everything that is true.
For the first time, by the way, the Catholic Church has a pope who is certified as a chemical technician. Pope Francis brings a unique perspective to any discussions about faith and science.
May we be as open to God’s truth as was St. Bonaventure, a Franciscan, whose feast occurs on July 15.
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