For a Doctrinal Homily Outline for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, click here. Its focus is on kindness. After this Sunday, Lent begins.
These reflections on books that I have found especially helpful in my life as a Catholic man seem to have turned into reflections on authors I have found especially useful.
This week’s author is Fr. Mariano Artigas (1938-2006). Fr. Artigas earned Ph.D. degrees in physics, philosophy, and theology. He published some 150 scholarly articles and sixteen books on the intersection of science and faith. Three of his books I have read are Galileo in Rome (with William R. Shea) about the famous (or infamous) encounter of this pioneering scientist with the Roman Inquisition, Oracles of Science (with Karl Giberson) about six eminent modern scientists who have ignorantly attacked theology, and Knowing Things for Sure (with Alan McCone) on how science does use a realistic philosophy to arrive at truth about the physical world.
Fr. Artigas’ book that has meant the most to me is The Mind of the Universe: Understanding Science and Religion. I have read it multiple times and marked up my copy to the point of it falling apart. One thing I have had to contend with for a long time was the savage attacks on religious faith by supposed scientists, whom, it turns out, know very little about the Catholic faith, philosophy, or metaphysics. Artigas intelligently builds bridges between science and the faith.
Fr. Artigas points out that three of the presuppositions that made modern science possible are right out of Genesis; without them, science would not be possible. These are (1) there is a marvelous natural order, (2) we can know this order, and (3) it is good to know this order. As Fr. Artigas points out, scientific progress actually retro-justifies, enlarges, and refines these presuppositions. For example, not only is there a natural order, its complexity is magnitudes greater than we earlier dreamed.
A drawing by the Chilean cartoonist Fernando Krahn, that Artigas includes, marvelously illustrates what we human beings do. Pictured below, a man in a little boat in a tempestuous sea, in order to understand his situation, makes a model of a boat in a little sea.