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Love of science can be a “foretaste” of divine love, says Pope Francis

Giovanni Cancemi | Shutterstock

“Just as we should never think we know everything, we should never fear trying to learn more.” 

The work of scientists must be “moved by love” for the universe and for truth, Pope Francis said today, as he spoke to participants in the summer course organized by the Vatican Observatory.

Science, the pope said, seeks to “develop a common understanding of our universe.” In this quest, however, it must not rule out metaphysics and faith. The latter disciplines study the “First Cause of everything,” which is “hidden from the tools of measurement,” Francis explained. “Harmonizing these different levels of knowledge leads us to understanding, and understanding – we hope – will make us open to wisdom.”

Studying the universe is a gift and a responsibility; “it is through us, human beings, that this universe can become, so to speak, aware of itself and of its Maker,” Francis said. Driven by reason, curiosity and the enjoyment of things, scientists can discover in their love for the universe a “foretaste” of the love that God the Creator has for His creation.

Faced with the immensity of the universe, we can come to see ourselves as “insignificant,” acknowledged the Successor of Peter. “This fear is nothing new,” he explained, as it is already found in the Psalms. Although it is true that there are many things we do not yet know, we can not be satisfied with “complacent agnosticism.”

Indeed, the pope said, “Just as we should never think we know everything, we should never fear trying to learn more.” 

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