Friday, May 22, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Here are the links to the classes. (They're not so lofty as they sound -- I'' be gearing the classes to your average high school student.)
- The Space Trilogy and C. S. Lewis.http://tinyurl.com/spacetrilogy
- Catholic Living for Young People http://tinyurl.com/catholicliving
- Writing for College Preparatory http://tinyurl.com/collegewriting
- Short Stories by J. R. R. Tolkienhttp://tinyurl.com/tolkienfairystories
- The Mass Explained for Young People http://tinyurl.com/massexplained
It's relatively easy for people to see that a lot of the great art of the Western World -- music, painting, sculpture, literat ure, architecture -- is the product of a Christian culture, often inspired by the faith or even funded by the Church. That seems obvious. But what people don't realize is that something similar is true of the sciences.
Think about it. Universities are an invention of the Church. Copernicus was a Roman Catholic cleric, and he dedicated his book on the heliocentric universe to the Pope. The calendar we use today is the Gregorian Calendar, because it was promulgated by Pope Gregory XIII, who was working with the best astronomers and mathematicians of his time. Galileo himself always remained a Catholic, and his two daughters were nuns. One of the greatest Italian astronomers of the 19th century was a Jesuit priest, Angelo Secchi. The father of modern genetics, Gregor Mendel, was a Catholic monk. The creator of the "Big Bang" theory was a Belgian priest, Georges Lemaitre.
In short, the idea that there is some natural tension between science and the Church, between reason and faith, is utter nonsense. Nowadays, when people hear the words "science" and "the Church," they immediately think of Galileo's trial in the 1600s. But, in the larger scheme of things, that complex case -- which is frequently distorted by anti-Catholic propagandists -- was a glaring exception. There's a reason why critics of the Church are always bringing it up: It's the only example they've got. So, when we hear the words "science" and "the Church," we should think Copernicus, Secchi, Mendel and Lemaitre. They're representative. Galileo's trial is not.