The following is the text of the Message sent by the Holy Father Francis to the participants in the Second International “Science for Peace” Meeting in Teramo, organized by the diocese of Teramo-Atri and the University of Teramo, in collaboration with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences:
Message of the Holy Father
To Bishop Lorenzo Leuzzi
On the occasion of the Second International Meeting, “Science for Peace – New disciples of knowledge: scientific method in a changing era”, organized by the diocese of Teramo-Atri, in collaboration with the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, to mark the ninth centenary of the death of the Patron Saint Berardo, I wish to send the organizers, speakers and participants my greeting and my wishes for fruitful proceedings. I also address my thoughts to the academic and scientific authorities, the guests from national and European institutions, and all the men and women engaged in scientific research.
For your assembly, you have chosen a theme of significant interest, which offers a perspective rich in hope for the future of humanity. Being men and women of sciences is indeed a vocation and, together, a form of mission, a specific form of charity: intellectual charity.
Speaking of intellectual charity, one of the great figures of the nineteenth century, Blessed Antonio Rosmini, affirmed that truth and charity are united by a fundamental bond: the research and study of truth are an indispensable part of an authentic service of charity and, at the same time, charity lived and exercised leads man to an increasingly fuller knowledge of the truth, to the point of opening up to the gift of God and letting oneself be possessed by it. This is why, says the priest of Rovereto, it is necessary “to protect, … contemplate and investigate the truth, promoting knowledge among men in an excellent and tireless manner” (cf. Constitutions of the Institute of Charity, 789).
In the changing era we are experiencing, intellectual charity cannot be enclosed within the confines of research centres, or reserved only to “insiders”, but rather must inspire and support the construction of renewed closeness, as I indicated in the Encyclical Fratelli tutti (cf. nos. 3-4). It is urgent, therefore, that those involved in scientific research discover the historical responsibility of their commitment in the various spheres of knowledge, overcoming the temptation to isolate themselves in particular spheres, in order to promote a new culture of knowledge.
Saint Paul VI spoke of this challenge when, on his entry in Milan as archbishop in 1954, he said: “Modern man has a hunger for and possession of the means, but he has no anxiety about the ends. He is a blind giant”. Today, intellectual charity must inspire the person to “think big”. It is in the harmonious unity of knowledge and love, faith and reason, that he finds peace in his search and can achieve cultural and social models capable of responding truly to his needs (cf. Fratelli tutti, 185).
The new generations are waiting to meet disciples of knowledge of this calibre, to prepare themselves to be protagonists in history and thus contribute to the growth of a solid culture. The challenge is no small one, and this is why I will conclude by recalling the message that Saint Paul VI addressed to men of thought and science at the close of the Second Vatican Council: 'Continue to seek, without tiring, without ever despairing of the truth! Remember the words of one of your great friends, St Augustine: “Continue your search without tiring and without ever despairing of the truth. Recall the words of one of your great friends, Saint Augustine: ‘Let us seek with the desire to find, and find with the desire to seek still more’. Happy are those who, while possessing the truth, search more earnestly for it in order to renew it, deepen it and transmit it to others. Happy also are those who, not having found it, are working toward it with a sincere heart. May they seek the light of tomorrow with the light of today until they reach the fullness of light” (Saint Paul VI, Message
We seek with the desire to find, and we find with the desire to seek again'. Happy those who, possessing the truth, continue to seek it in order to renew it, to deepen it, to give it to others. Happy are those who, not having found it, walk towards it with a sincere heart: may they seek the light of tomorrow with the light of today, to the fullness of light!” (Saint Paul VI, Message to Men of Thought and Science, 8 December 1965).
In truth and in charity lies the way of peace, and an enlightened search for the truth in charity (cf. Eph 4:15) will always lay down more solid foundations for the construction of a society that is peaceful because it is harmoniously ordered to its end, with respect for the person and in grateful correspondence to God’s gifts.
Inspired by these sentiments, I am pleased to send to those gathered my blessing, which I gladly extend to the faithful of this diocese of Teramo-Atri in the Jubilee Year dedicated to the holy monk and bishop Berardo, whose witness of evangelical dedication and pastoral zeal is the most beautiful legacy left to you. I ask you all to remember me in prayer.
Rome, Saint John Lateran, 31 May 2023
Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary