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Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Catholic Church and the Modern World

Christianity's Influence

By John Flynn, LC


ROME, March 08, 2013 (Zenit.org) - The intense media interest in what is going on in the Vatican during the lead-up to the selection of a new pope provides a useful reminder of just how important the Church is in today's world.

Despite the critics who malign the Church as being opposed to science, reason and progress, and those who portray it as an oppressive medieval relic, it seems that after all it is still an institution that many people consider relevant.

This was also the view expressed in a recent book by well-known author Mike Aquilina, titled "Yours Is the Church: How Catholicism Shapes Our World," (Servant Books).

Popular culture would have us believe that the Church is some kind of universal enemy, he commented, but he made the claim that: "Everything about our modern world we think is good is there because of the Church."

Modern civilization is often thought of as having begun with the Renaissance, he observed. But where did all this learning come from? It was the monasteries that copied the writings of the Greeks and Romans and thus preserved this heritage for future generations. The Church saved civilization, Aquilina asserted.

When it comes to science he pointed out that it has its roots in the Catholic Church: whether it was astronomy and Copernicus, an ordained canon, or a Catholic bishop, Nicholas Steno, who laid the foundation for geology, or a Catholic such as Antoine Lavoisier, a founder of modern chemistry, or the mathematician Blaise Pascal.

With Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas the treasures of Greek philosophy were recovered and they made possible the establishment of rational science. There were many scientific discoveries in other cultures, but Aquilina pointed out, only in the Christian West did science continue to develop. (...)

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