This is seen again in a speech he gave on May 3, 2012 to Rome's Sacred Heart Catholic University, to mark the 50th anniversary of the "Agostino Gemelli" faculty of medicine and surgery. In this speech, he gave the reasons why science has gone astray in our world and led humanity to evil and ultimately, to death. Our world, on the whole, keeps science and faith separate, and this is the perfect recipe for ultimate destruction, which is where we seem to be headed. Here is the translation of Pope Benedict XVI's speech from Zenit.org:
Pope's Address at Sacred Heart Catholic University
"Love alone guarantees the humanity of research"
ROME, Italy, MAY 3, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today when he visited Rome's Sacred Heart Catholic University, to mark the 50th anniversary of the "Agostino Gemelli" faculty of medicine and surgery.
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Lord Cardinals, Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and Priesthood,
Illustrious Pro-Rector, Distinguished Authorities, Docents, Doctors,
Distinguished Health and University Staff,
Dear Students and Dear Patients!
With particular joy I meet with you today to celebrate the 50 years of the foundation of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the “Agostino Gemelli” Polyclinic. I thank the President of the Toniolo Institute, Cardinal Angelo Scola, and the Pro-Rector, Professor Franco Anelli, for the courteous words they addressed to me. I greet the Lord President of the Chamber, The Honorable Gianfranco Fini, the Lord Ministers, the Honorable Lorenzo Ornaghi and Honorable Renato Balduzzi, the numerous Authorities, as well as the Docents, the Doctors, the Staff and the Students of the Polyclinic and of the Catholic University. A special thought goes to you, dear patients.
In this circumstance I would like to offer some reflections. Ours is a time in which the experimental sciences have transformed the vision of the world and the very self-understanding of man. The many discoveries, the innovative technologies that succeed one another at a feverish rhythm, are reasons for motivated pride, but often they are not lacking in disquieting implications. In fact, projected on the background of the widespread optimism of scientific learning, is the shadow of a crisis of thought. Rich in means but not as much in ends, the man of our time often lives conditioned by reductionism and relativism, which lead to losing the meaning of things; almost dazzled by technical efficiency, he forgets the fundamental horizon of the question of meaning, thus relegating the transcendent dimension to irrelevance. [We are so caught up in what technology can do (which in many cases means little more than new games to play for the average person) that we don't even realize how this is affecting us mentally and even more importantly, spiritually, and thus we are led astray from Truth, we forget the meaning of life and God Himself becomes unimportant in our lives] On this background, thought becomes weak and an ethical impoverishment also gains ground, which clouds the normative references of value. What was the fertile European root of culture and progress [i.e., God and obedience to Him] seems to be forgotten. In it, the search for the absolute -- the quaerere Deum -- included the need to study further the natural sciences, the whole world of learning (cf. Address to the College of Bernardins of Paris, Sept. 12, 2008). In fact, scientific research and the question of meaning, also in their specific epistemological and methodological physiognomy, spring from only one source, the Logos that presides over the work of creation and guides the intelligence of history. [If Jesus Christ is not at the center of science, it will lead us astray from real truth. Without the Logos, who is Jesus Christ, science will and has become the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.] An essential techno-practical mentality generates a risky imbalance between what is technically possible and what is morally good, with unforeseeable consequences. [Science keeps going ahead with new innovations and inventions, without ever questioning if any of this is good or will it only lead to more evil in the world.]
Technology can cut us off from the rest of life
Hence it is important that culture rediscover the meaning and dynamism of transcendence, in a word, that it open with determination the horizon of the quaerere Deum. ["Quaerere" is a Latin term that means "to ask, to question, to inquire." "Deum", of course, means "God." The Holy Father is saying that science should be about searching for God and for true meaning in life.] The well-known Augustinian phrase comes to mind “You have created us for yourself [Lord], and our heart is restless until it rests in You” (The Confessions, I,1). It can be said that the very impulse to scientific research springs from nostalgia for God, who dwells in the human heart: at bottom, the man of science tends, even unconsciously, to reach that truth that can give meaning to life. However, no matter how passionate and tenacious human research is, it is not capable, on its own, to come to a safe conclusion, because “man is not able to clarify completely the strange faint light that rests on the question of the eternal realities … God must take the initiative to come to meet us and to address man” (J. Ratzinger, Benedict’s Europe in the Crisis of Cultures, Cantagalli, Rome, 2005, 124; Zenit translation) [We cannot find God, he must come to us, and he has done just this in the person of the Logos, Jesus Christ.] To restore to reason its native, integral dimension, it is necessary then to rediscover the source that scientific research shares with the search of faith, fides quaerens intellectum, in keeping with Anselm’s intuition [From St. Anselm: "Nor do I seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe that I may understand. For this, too, I believe, that, unless I first believe, I shall not understand."] Science and faith have a fecund reciprocity, almost a complementary need of the intelligence of the real. However, the quaerere Deum of man would be lost in a confusion of paths if he was not met by a way of illumination and sure orientation, which is that of God himself who comes close to man with immense love: "In Jesus Christ God not only speaks to man but also seeks him out [...] It is a search which begins in the heart of God and culminates in the Incarnation of the Word." (John Paul II, Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 7). [True science must involve the search for God, but that search must begin with "God himself who comes close to man with immense love."]
Science minus faith=disaster
[The Holy Father is telling us that Christianity, the belief system given to us by Jesus Christ, will help us discern the meaning of suffering and will lead us to the true meaning of life. The Cross of Christ - the quintessential picture of suffering - is also the sign of the great love of God for man. Hence, to care for those who suffer is to encounter Christ.]
[sadly, science and faith seldom go together in our world, and hence the great evil that too often comes from science]. In this way the search for God becomes fecund for the intelligence, ferment of culture, promoter of true humanism, a search that does not stop on the surface. Dear friends, allow yourselves always to be guided by the wisdom that comes from above, by a learning illumined by faith, remembering that wisdom calls for passion and the effort of research.
The Pope's theme in this talk is that Christian faith and belief in God must be at the center of everything we do, and that includes secular practices such as the sciences. Because our world has not done that, because we have pushed God completely out of our lives, we are on the edge of total destruction. People's lives are empty and meaningless, and they try to fill that lonely void with anything that will take their minds off of the pain they feel. Science gives us many things that seem exciting and dazzling, as our Holy Father says, but in the end lead only to more emptiness and destruction., As Pope Benedict XVI tells us in this speech, the sciences apart from God lose their nobility and humanity. Only Christ and His Love can give us the meaning and direction that we search for.
The Catholic University, which has a particular relationship with the See of Peter, is called today to be an exemplary institution which does not restrict learning to the functionality of economic success, but widens the extension of the project in which the gift of intelligence investigates and develops the gifts of the created world, exceeding a productive and utilitarian vision of existence, because "the human being is made for gift, which expresses and makes present his transcendent dimension" (Caritas in veritate, 34). In fact this combination of scientific research and unconditional service to life delineates the Catholic physiognomy of the "Agostino Gemelli" Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, because the perspective of faith is interior -- not superimposed or juxtaposed -- to the acute and tenacious search of learning. [True faith is all about learning. True faith means we are not stagnant, but always growing in our understanding, appreciation and love for God and our fellow man, and thus is completely compatible with true science, and in fact, goes hand in hand with it.]
A Catholic Faculty of Medicine is the place where transcendent humanism is not a rhetorical slogan, but a rule lived by daily dedication. Dreaming of an authentic Catholic Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Father Gemelli – and with him so many others, such as Professor Brasca -- put at the center of care the human person in his fragility and greatness, in the ever new resources of a passionate research and no less awareness of the limit and mystery of life. This is why you wished to institute a new Athenaeum Center for life, which supports other already existing realities, such as, for example, the Paul VI International Scientific Institute. Therefore, I encourage care of life in all its phases.
I would now like to turn to all the patients present here at the “Gemelli,” to assure them of my prayer and affection and to tell them that they will always be followed with love so that in their faces, the suffering face of Christ is reflected.
[The Holy Father has reduced the reason for the evil in science and in the world to a few words. Without love - God's love - science has lost its way, as has most of the world] Thank you for your attention.
[Translation by ZENIT]