The Second Vatican Council defined the Church's understanding of the relationship between science and doctrine this way: "...if methodical investigation within every branch of learning is carried out in a genuinely scientific manner and in accord with moral norms, it never truly conflicts with faith, for earthly matters and the concerns of faith derive from the same God" (Gaudium et Spes, #36) However, it is easier said than done to avoid improper conflicts between science and faith. Especially in scientific studies of human nature, whether in biology, psychology, anthropology, history, sociology, or economics, there are many areas of tension between scientific research and doctrinal propositions. Let's bring together the scientific research and statements of doctrine that relate to them and promote discussion of these important issues.
Indeed, scientific research and Catholic doctrine each have something valuable to offer the other. Theology should be informed by the disciplined study of humanity from the various scientific disciplines. Science can benefit from a careful scrutiny of its ethical content and potential blind spots from the perspective of Catholic doctrine, the result of thousands of years of human experience and reflection and, for Catholics, the repository of God's revelation.
The focus is intended to be scholarly research in the sciences and theology, not commentary on current events:
- Discussions should be grounded in scholarly research, with claims backed by citations of peer-reviewed journals whenever possible. Citations of standard reference works are ideal (e.g. the Catechism or the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics). Non-mainstream science or theology are allowed, of course, but they should be identified as such.
- Although the topics here may be directly relevant to current political issues, the topics should be discussed in themselves, with only limited reference to the current events they impact.
Here are some relevant external websites and blogs:
- Catechism of the Catholic Church
- Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
- Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences
- Pontifical Academy of Sciences (i.e. physical and life sciences)
- Pax Romana: Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs
- The Society of Catholic Social Scientists
- Journal of Catholic Social Thought
- Catholic Encyclopedia (1914)