File photo of Pope Francis  (ANSA)

By Lisa Zengarini

Jul 3 2023

Pope Francis sends a message to the Second International “Science for Peace” Meeting in the Italian Diocese of Teramo-Atri, and recalls that the search for truth in charity is the foundation for the construction of a peaceful society.

“The path to peace lies in truth and charity,” Pope Francis said in a written message sent Friday to participants in the Second International Meeting entitled: “Science for Peace – New Disciples of Knowledge: the Scientific Method in the Changing Era” held in the Central Italian city of Teramo.

“Enlightened search for truth in charity will lay ever more solid foundations for the construction of a peaceful society because it is harmoniously ordered towards its end, with respect for the person and in grateful correspondence to the gifts of God”, the Pope told participants in the meeting.

The event is organized on 30 June-1July by the Diocese of Teramo-Atri, in collaboration with the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, on the occasion of the 9th centenary of the death of the Patron Saint Berard.

It discusses the contribution of scientists to peace, with a keynote speech by the vice-chancellor of the Academy, Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò.

Being men and women of science is a form of charity

Indeed, “being men and women of science is a vocation and, at the same time, a mission, a specific form of charity: an intellectual one,” Pope Francis said in his message addressed to the Bishop of Teramo-Atri Lorenzo Leuzzi.

The Pope recalled the words of Blessed Antonio Rosmini, the 19th-century Italian Catholic priest and intellectual, who affirmed that “truth and charity are linked by a fundamental bond”.

“The search for and study of truth are an essential part of an authentic service of charity and, at the itself, charity lived and exercised leads man to an ever fuller knowledge of the truth.”

Thinking big in changing times

However, the Pope noted, in the face of the “change of epoch” the world is currently experiencing, intellectual charity cannot be confined within the enclosures of research centers or reserved only to “insiders”, but must animate and support the construction of a renewed proximity, as indicated in the encyclical Fratelli tutti.

“It is therefore urgent,” he stressed, “that those involved in scientific investigation discover the historical responsibility of their commitment in the various fields of knowledge, overcoming the temptation to isolate themselves in particular spheres, to promote a new culture of knowledge.”

Citing the words of St. Paul VI when he started his mission as Archbisop of Milan in 1954, Pope Francis said that “intellectual charity must inspire  ‘to think big”.’

Search for truth in charity a solid foundation for building peace

Concluding his message, the Pope renewed the call which Pope Paul VI addressed to scientists and intellectuals in 1965 at the close of the Second Vatican Council.

Pope Francis urged them to “continue to seek, without tiring, without ever despairing of the truth” as called for by St. Augustine, insisting that “an enlightened search for truth in charity” will lay an “ever more solid foundations for the construction of a peaceful society.”

Monsignor Viganò’s address

In his key note address on Friday morning,  Monsignor Viganò focused on the challenges and serious  risks for humanity associated with the the latest technical-scientific developments: the Anthropocene (a term now used  to indicate a new geological era marked by the  impact of human activity on the Earth’s ecosystems, including, anthropogenic climate and loss of biodiversity) and the rapid development of artificial intelligence. (AI). – Vatican News