Should Church be Progressive

The Catholic Church is highly traditional, which is logical. Nevertheless, as it comes to science should the Church not be the foremost promotor? I mean, if God’s maximum manifistation is reallity, then should the Church not be the one that is always in search og the thruth and reality? Should the Church not be the one that promotes research and investigations? Why then is the Church so careful when it comes to new scientific discoveries? I mean, why where Copernicus and Galileo declared herretics? Why is stem-cell investigation wrong?

I am not sure if you are aware, but “progressive” has certain political connotations attached to it in America. This kind of progressivism is probably something most CAF’ers would hate to see (more of) in the Church.

Well, the Church already has a robust science program, but your right, they’re not necessarily leading the way or anything. I don’t see anything wrong with your idea besides the funds that might be necessary to get to that level.

Contrast and compare: progressivism and subsidiarity.

And she often is, although as science has gained more of a profitable aspect, it’s corporations that tend to do much of the research, as well as government. Still, you’ll find Catholic universities among the top promoters of science - and this has historically been where science has existed in the Church. It makes sense - the Ecclesial arm and the normative duties of the presbytery and episcopacy should focus on ministering to our spiritual needs, while the academic arm focuses on ministering to our mental and noological needs.

Scientists will tell you that science merits care, especially among a generally under-educated public. How often is it that some ‘breakthrough’ is announced in health care, for example, and the public scrambles for this new treatment? The scientific method (innovated by a Catholic) calls for repeated testing to build an empirical basis.

Copernicus was never declared a heretic. The Master of the Sacred Palace, Bartolomeo Spina, had planned to condemn the book for errors in 1546 but died before doing so. Note this is not the same as heresy - a “corrected” edition was approved for publication in 1620 that changed nine sentences of Copernicus’ original work (and the entire point of a heliocentric proof).

For Galileo, I think it had more to do with ego. Nominally, heliocentrism was considered heresy because it went against the prevailing notion, derived from Scripture, of a geocentric universe. Galileo was given opportunities to repent of what was then thought a heresy, and he did not. I think if he had backed down, there’d not have been such a ruling against him in 1633.

Bear in mind that heliocentrism was no longer prohibited from publication as of 1753, though the unaltered Copernican and Galilean books were still on that list until 1835.

Bear in mind that science and theology were seen as essentially one and the same until probably the early 19th centuray. Scientists such as Newton and Liebniz were also theologians (and, arguably, occultists) who did not attempt to separate scientific proof from Scripture. In college, I studied a tome from 1520 on sericulture which modeled diseases of the silkworm on the basis of a modified theory of the humours that takes inspiration from some of the Psalms!

For the reason that we no longer think of Scripture as a science textbook, I wouldn’t consider such unfortunate affairs as that of Galileo to be an indictment against the Church.

It isn’t. My mother, an MSN, worked in a transplant clinic that used adult stem cells to treat patients with otherwise incurable cancers of the blood. She told me that all the successes she’s seen in hematology or oncology have been with adult stem cells, and no therapeutically-feasible breakthroughs have come out of fetal stem cells yet.

Yes, I have heard condemnations of all stem cell research from one of the bishops in Missouri (our state), but I think that’s his own personal ignorance because as far as I know there is no moral reason to prohibit taking stem cells from a patient’s own arm to treat him or her, any more than there is reason to prohibit grafting skin from one part of a patient’s body to another to replace burned tissue.

The concern over stem-cell research is all over fetal stem cells, because it is a result of an act that destroys a human life, whether that life is already destroyed (say, in an abortion) or more heinously, is created for the purpose of destroying it to harvest stem cells. I don’t think science should be immune to moral concerns. Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should do it.

The Church is a big fan of science. ( Did you know about the Vatican Observatory? ) It’s just that we never hear about it in the media unless the Church disagrees with something, like fetal stem cell research. You never hear about the wonderful advances in non-fetal stem cell research that Catholics promote.

I agree. The Church proclaims the truth, so I don’t see why they shouldn’t be trying to learn more about the truth. Science is the best method we have about learning accurately about the world, so why not use it if they are interested in the truth?

The cynical side of me says that the Church isn’t interested in finding truth because they believe that they already have the truth. Science has been a thorn in the Church’s side since it tends to disprove some of what the Church saw as truth. Creation did not happen as it did in Genesis (it takes quite a bit of gymnastics to make it fit), the Earth does move, evolution happened and continues to happen, mental illnesses are not caused by demons, etc. As science uncovers these things, the Church’s claim of truth seems to become less credible.

Though they have become much more accepting of scientific findings more recently, so they get credit for that. I just don’t see them funding any type of research that has the possibility of discrediting anything they’ve said.

Losh gave a pretty good answer. When the topic of Church and science comes up, the first thing I always point out is that there is a reason science arose in the West: Christianity! Specifically, Catholic Christianity. Copernicus was a Catholic clergyman and was never condemned. The Father of Genetics? Catholic priest. The originator of the Big Bang theory? Catholic priest. The Catholic Church is definitely not anti-science. Perhaps there are some fringe Protestant groups of which the label “anti-science” could be applied, but certainly not the Catholic Church.

The Church even has a Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Look at some of their publications. The Catholic Church is not anti-science.

In regards to stem-cell research, the Catholic Church is absolutely 100% in favor of stem cell research on adult stem cells, but is 100% opposed to research on fetal stem cells. This is because the latter involves the destruction of human life. That is an evil that can never be condoned.

I’m not sure why, but the media likes to conflate the two types of stem cell research as though they are one and the same. They are not. It also needs to be said that research on adult stem cells has yielded some promising results while research on fetal stem cells has yielded zero.

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