Benedict XVI stressed the need for open minds in science on Friday, adding that researchers must be ready to consider religious and ethical perspectives. His words came as the U.K. prepares to pass provisions protecting sex changes next month.
The Holy Father told students in a live broadcast that reached every Catholic school in the U.K. that they must "always remember" to maintain sight of the "bigger picture" in their studies. "Never allow yourselves to become narrow," he told them.
"The world needs good scientists, but a scientific outlook becomes dangerously narrow if it ignores the religious and ethical dimension of life, just as religion becomes narrow if it rejects the legitimate contribution of science to our understanding."
Ethics, especially sexual ethics, have been on Catholics' minds lately as the U.K.'s Equality Act will enact new provisions on Oct. 1. Among other proposals that seek to protect the disabled and breastfeeding mothers are others concerning sexual themes.
One aims to alter the definition of "gender reassignment," or the process of changing a person's sex, and another seeks to extend protections in "private clubs to sex, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity, and gender reassignment."
Another provision still under consideration seeks to establish legislation for the right to celebrate civil partnerships on religious premises.
In London on Friday, Holy Father also told the students that the world is in need of "good" historians, philosophers and economists. But, he cautioned, "if the account they give of human life within their particular field is too narrowly focused, they can lead us seriously astray."
Pope Benedict XVI closed by emphasizing that "good" schools work to provide "a rounded education for the whole person."