June 27th, 2007

Modernity: Yearning For The Infinite

Theological Notebook: Benedict Speaks to Professors on Modernity; The Vatican Library; Isaac Newton

Here's a few interesting recent articles from CNS, particularly the address to European university professors on the nature and impact of Modernity, which is kind of an interesting segue from our own conference on that subject at Notre Dame this past fall. There's also an historical article on a display of Isaac Newton's theological work. Lots of people don't know – having got this more recent "science vs. religion" false dichotomy in their heads – that Newton actually wrote more theology than physics. He was, however, much better at the latter, having made some serious mistakes like his trying to re-work the Arian controversy and having concluded that Arius had been correct. Still, we have a great deal more sources about the trinitarian controversies now, so perhaps he ought not be blamed over-much for all that....

Pope urges professors to find solutions to 'crisis of modernity'
By Regina Linskey
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI urged university professors to create solutions for "the crisis of modernity" as well as investigate Christianity's contribution to the study of human nature.

"Europe is presently experiencing a certain social instability and diffidence in the face of traditional values," but its history and universities "have much to contribute to shaping a future of hope," he told participants in the first European meeting of university professors. The participants came to the Vatican to meet the pope June 23.

Representatives from around the world came to Rome for the June 21-24 meeting, "A New Humanism for Europe: the Role of Universities," sponsored by the Council of European Bishops' Conferences.

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Pope tells library, archive employees he had hoped to retire, study
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- With a touch of envy, Pope Benedict XVI told employees of the Vatican Library and the Vatican Secret Archives that he had hoped to retire 10 years ago and spend the rest of his life studying, researching and writing.

"At the end of my 70th year of age, I would have liked it very much if the beloved John Paul II would have allowed me to dedicate myself to the study and research of the interesting documents and items you carefully safeguard," the pope told the employees June 25.

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New exhibit shows Isaac Newton's fascination with religious writings
By Judith Sudilovsky
Catholic News Service

JERUSALEM (CNS) -- A new exhibit of never-displayed manuscripts written by Isaac Newton reveals the scientist's fascination with theology and apocalyptic and biblical writings.

Best known as the rational 17th-century mathematician and physicist who discovered the notion of gravity, Newton is considered one of the foremost scientific intellects of all time.

"During that period religion and science were often connected with each other," said Yemima Ben Menachem, curator of the exhibit and philosophy professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where the papers are on display. "Most of the great scientists of the 17th century were religious in different ways. Newton was also a very religious man."

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