Rome, Italy, May 3, 2012 / 11:38 am
Pope Benedict XVI used a May 3 address to doctors and medical students to warn that the spread of relativism is resulting in scientific advances having “unpredictable consequences.”
The Pope told the faculty and students of Rome’s Agostino Gemelli Teaching Hospital in an outdoor speech that “ours is a time when the experimental sciences have transformed the worldview and understanding of man.”
While he granted that scientific discoveries are a “reason for pride,” the pontiff warned that they are often “not without troubling implications,” such that “behind the widespread optimism of scientific knowledge, the shadow of a crisis of thought is spreading.”
“Rich in means, but not in aims, mankind in our time is often influenced by reductionism and relativism which lead to a loss of the meaning of things,” he said, identifying the roots of the crisis.
The Pope observed that it is as if modern man is “dazzled by technical efficacy,” and therefore “forgets the essential horizon of the question of meaning, thus relegating the transcendent dimension to insignificance.”
When meaning is lost and the transcendent forgotten, he explained, “thought becomes weak” and “an ethical impoverishment gains ground, which clouds legal references of value.”
All in all, the Pope stated, “the once fruitful root of European culture and progress seems forgotten.”