During 2017, we’ve learned that doing good science can be a form of worship.

The Catholic Sentinel’s yearlong series on faith and science opened by asking, “What if we’re not alone?” Scientist-believers explained that to deny life elsewhere in the universe is to limit God’s creative power.

That set the tone for a series that drew positive responses, even from our gadflies. Readers are hungry to see how faith and science coexist. It’s one of the great questions of the 21st century.

We examined the famous Galileo case, which church detractors still weaponize. A clearer view shows that politics, not doubt of science, caused most of the problems between the great thinker and the church.

We featured great priest-scientists through history, including Holy Cross Father John Zahm, who pioneered Catholic acceptance of evolution in addition to founding the University of Portland.

We reported that recent scientific discoveries, far from disproving God’s existence, pose more questions about the origins of the universe and how life develops on Earth. We found that Catholic biomedical researchers serve as much-needed moral guides in their field.

We examined Genesis and the Big Bang theory, concluding that the Bible and science both offer truth.

We reported on centuries of groundbreaking work by the Vatican Observatory and examined evolution. It turns out that centuries before Darwin, priest-geologists were questioning the notion that all life was created at once.

We examined the mathematics of creation, which show precise allowances for phenomena like gravity and the sweet life in the third orbit from the sun. It made us marvel at the creator’s elegance.   

In the end, the series showed that faith and science need not compete. Western science was born in the fertile medium of monotheism, which deemed creation God’s systematic handiwork and so worthy of study. Christians understood a God who came to live on Earth, giving nature a whole new kind of dignity.

“The natural truth of reason and of science cannot contradict the truth of faith,” we heard from Benedictine Brother Louis de Montfort Nguyen, a gentle physician-monk at Mount Angel Abbey who deserves the last word. “We need not fear the truths that science reveals.”

  • Ed Langlois