Christians have the obligation to consider the insights of science, and science has the obligation to consider religion’s expert insight on human ethics, says Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
"We know where scientific reason can end up by itself: the atomic bomb and the possibility of cloning human beings are fruit of a reason that wants to free itself from every ethical or religious link," he said at a press conference yesterday, announcing an international conference on religion and science next week.
"But we also know the dangers of a religion that severs its links with reason and becomes prey to fundamentalism," he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
"The faithful have the obligation to listen to that which secular modern science has to offer, just as we ask that knowledge of the faith be taken in consideration as an expert voice in humanity," he continued.
In answer to questions from journalists about intelligent design, Cardinal Poupard reportedly stressed: "The universe wasn't made by itself, but has a creator." He added: "It's important for the faithful to know how science views things to understand better."
The Vatican will host an international conference on "the infinity in science, philosophy and theology," next week. It is organized by the Vatican project Science, Theology and Ontological Quest (STOQ). This is the STOQ’s first international conference.
The STOQ project was inspired by Pope John Paul II's 1992 declaration that the Church's denunciation of Galileo was an error resulting from "tragic mutual incomprehension" and was created to help end the "mutual prejudice" between religion and science.
"The permanent lesson that the Galileo case represents pushes us to keep alive the dialogue between the various disciplines, and in particular between theology and the natural sciences, if we want to prevent similar episodes from repeating themselves in the future," Poupard said.