Dialogue between faith and reason fundamental, says archbishop about Galileo case

.- Archbishop Giuseppe Betori of Florence said this week the dialogue between faith and reason is essential, especially in relation to the Galileo case, in order to overcome this “painful misunderstanding.”

The archbishop’s comments came on the eve of the International Congress “Galileo 2009,” which will bring together experts to discuss the issue from an historical, philosophical and theological point of view May 27-29.

“Often this ‘painful misunderstanding’ is interpreted erroneously as ‘a reflection of a substantial opposition between science and faith.’ My hope is that this event shows that this opinion is unfounded,” the archbishop said.

Archbishop Betori expressed hope that “the celebration of the international year of astronomy and the memory of the life, work and genius of Galileo” would lead to a greater understanding of the importance of “the fundamental dialogue between faith and reason” and a “permanent and constructive collaboration between the Church and the institutions of scientific research, economic development and social promotion.”

“Faith,” he said, “does not grow with the rejection of rationality, but is rather inserted into a wider horizon of rationality.”

The archbishop went on to explain that “reason itself, without faith, runs the risk of being reduced to a calculation and to the exclusive assessment of conflict of interests, often blind to essential questions, fundamental values, dramatic and human situations.”

For this reason, the archbishop asserted, “Dialogue between faith and reason must continue.” Nature, with all of its complexity, and the rapidly changing developments in scientific research and technology “demand interior freedom and good will on the part of all, believers and non-believers alike,” he said.

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