The Catholic Education Resource Center posts this excerpt from Christopher Kaczor’s new book The Seven Big Myths About the Catholic Church.
At this point, we are in a position to come to a prima facie judgment about the question of whether the Church opposes science. On the one hand, we have the many Catholic scientists of distinction, from the beginning of the use of the scientific method until now, who argue that there is no conflict between their faith and their pursuit of science. We have the institutional Church sponsoring scientific endeavors of all kinds, at Catholic universities around the world, in the construction of cathedrals, and at the Vatican itself. We also have the explicit Catholic teaching that faith and reason are not opposed but rather complementary, and that scientific reasoning and faith are mutually enriching. On the other hand, we have the trial and condemnation of Galileo. The Galileo case appears, against the larger background of Catholic teaching and practice, as an unfortunate aberration from the norm. However, both Galileo himself — who remained a faithful Catholic all his life — and those involved in his trial, such as Saint Robert Bellarmine, agreed that there can never be a true conflict between science and faith. Apparent but not real conflicts can arise through a mistaken interpretation of faith (as was made by those who condemned Galileo), a misunderstanding of science (e.g., that science requires denying miracles), or both. It is therefore a myth — albeit a persistent myth — that the Church opposes science.