Science, Religion and Culture Pope Francis: Audience with participants in the Plenary of the Pontifical Council for Culture
, 18.11.2017 Pope Francis: As I wished to affirm in the Encyclical Laudato si', “we urgently need a humanism capable of bringing together the different fields of knowledge … in the service of a more integral and integrating vision” (no. 141), so as to be able to overcome the tragic division between the “two cultures”, the humanistic-literary-theological and the scientific, which leads to a mutual impoverishment, and to encourage a greater dialogue between the Church, community of believers, and the scientific community. The Church, for her part, offers some great principles to sustain this dialogue. The first is the centrality of the human person, which must be considered an end and not a means. This must be placed in harmonious relation to creation, not as a despot guarding God's legacy but rather as a loving custodian of the work of the Creator. The second principle it is necessary to remember is that of the universal destination of goods, which also regards those of knowledge and technology. Scientific and technological progress serve the good of all humanity, and their benefits cannot be of advantage only to a few. In this way, one avoids that the future will add new inequalities based on knowledge and increase the gap between rich and poor. The great decisions on the direction of scientific research and investments in the latter must be taken by society as a whole and not dictated solely by the rules of the market or the interest of the few. Finally, the principle remains that not all that is technically possible or feasible is therefore ethically acceptable. Science, like any other human activity, knows that there are limits to be observed for the good of humanity itself, and requires a sense of ethical responsibility. The true measure of progress, as Blessed Paul VI recalled, is that which aims at the good of every man and man.