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September 4, 1987     The Message
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September 4, 1987

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4 Faith Today Supplement, The Message, Catholic Diocese of Evansville, September 4, 1987 ii I i III I I I ifT he world of the qr new age, the world of space flights, the world of the previously unat- ]J tained conquests of [] science and technology -- / .is it not also the world ":.= 'groaning in travail that 'waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of \\; God?" (Pope John Paul II in his ,/ 1979 encyclical, "The Redeemer of Man' ') Today, near the end of the 20th century, people look with great expectation to the world of science. High on the list of their hopes is the discovery of a cure for AIDS. Cures for cancer and IIII II I I ON PILGRIMAGE I I heart disease rank high on this list as well. In this astoundingly new era, a longer life span is virtually taken for granted. People have come to rely on science and medicine to assure a long life. Many also have come to put great hope in technology -- that it will not only make life enjoyable, but that with its constant flow of new products it will create a world that is endlessly interesting. Pope John Paul II has given numerous speeches during his pontificate in which he praises the work of scientists and calls atten- tion to the potential technology holds. At the same time, he insists that the achievements of science and technology taken by themselves do not constitute the new creation that the people of God are called to bring about. It is always a matter of priorities and values for the pope. What is needed, he writes, is the priority of ethics over technology; the primacy of the person over things and the superiority of spirit over matter. Human beings cannot relinquish their proper place in the world, the pope adds. That means people must not become the slaves of things, of economic systems, of production or of their own products. Furthermore, people should not allow themselves to be "taken I I II over merely by euphoria or be carried away by one-sided en- thusiasm" for the technological or scientific achievements around them. There are always these questions to be asked: Through these conquests, is the human per- son developing and progressing or regressing and being degraded? Does good prevail over evil? Wisdom and love are the factors that must undergird the new crea- tion, the pope suggests in his first encyc_lical, "The Redeemer of Man." The sheer power reflected in a scientific breakthrough is not enough, though it can be very good. Such power needs to be linked with love to become truly creative. A 13th-century scientist By Janaan Manternach NC News Service lbert grew.up in a castle in Germany in the early 1200s. His father was a rich and powerful lord. Sometimes his father was away from home for many weeks fighting in the emperor's army. Young Albert loved to walk in the woods and fields around the family castle. Everything he saw fascinated him. He could sit and watch a butterfly, noticing every detail of its color and movements. Later he wrote down what he observed. As Albert grew, his interest in nature grew. So did his interest in God. One time a famous preacher from the Dominican religious order came to Padua, the town in Italy where Albert was studying. The preacher so impressed Albert that he decided to join the Dominicans. Albert's family was upset. They wanted Albert to become rich and powerful like his father. They tried to stop Albert, but could not. In his early 20s he joined the Dominicans. Albert was a genius. He learned and then taught almost every sub- ject people knew at that time. He taught courses on the Bible and theology. One of his students, Thomas Aquinas, became a very great theologian. But Albert was just as interested in the new sciences. As a child he enjoyed observing bugs, plants and animals. Now he learned to observe the world of nature scien- tifically. He made up experiments to discover what things were like. Albert became a n expert in many areas including astronomy, biology, botany, chemistry, physics, mathematics, economics and politics. His knowledge was so amazing that a well-known pro- fessor called him "a man so superior in every science" that he could be called "the wonder and miracle of our time." Albert's knowledge of science helped him believe more strongly in God. Albert taught that there was no conflict between faith and true scientific knowledge. In fact, he used the ancient scientific works of the Greek philosopher Aristotle to help explain Catholic teachings. The time came when he was called on to defend this use of Aristotle's writings. Albert often had to interrupt his study and teaching to do other important work. The Dominicans chose him as their superior. Pope Alexander IV made him a bishop and Pope Urban IV sent him to preach a crusade. But Albert always went back to teaching, writing and study. He wrote about 40 books and became so famous that people called him "Albert the Great." Albert died quietly in 1280. Pope Plus XI canonized him and named him a doctor, or teacher, of the church. Pope Plus XII in 1941 named St. Albert the patron of scientists. (Ms. Manternach is the author of catechettcal works, scripture stories and original stories for children.) Word Scramble What do you think? [] St. Albert the Great loved to study the world of nature. How does the study of nature lead a person to God? i From the bookshelf rL In N/colas, Where Have You Been? by Leo Llonl, a little mou'se named Nicolas is snatched up by a big bird. When the mouse escalpes he Is welcomed and cared for other birds. But one morning by some Nicolas wakes up and the birds who cared for him have left the nest. He realizes he too must leave. When he reaches the ground, he finds his old friends. After hearing part of his story, they decide to declare war on all the birds. But after Nicolas tells the whole story, their anger fades, When Uncle Raymond proclaims that "one bad bird doesn't make a flock," they are ready to believe. They celebrate with ber- i) des brought by the birds who befriended Nicolas. (Alfred A. Knopf, 201 E. 50th St., New York, N.Y. 10022. 1987. Hardback, $11.95.) Unscramble the words below. All the words are in this week's children's story. Example: ETLABR 1. AMREYNG