Science, faith are a perfect fit in Jesuit’s life

Jesuits have a long tradition in science and there’s a good reason for that, says Jesuit lichenologist and ecologist Fr. John McCarthy.

The better we know God’s creation, he believes, the better we know God.

“I still feel there’s a real need for Jesuits and just people of faith in science,” McCarthy told a gathering at Toronto’s Regis College March 21.

“To be active witnesses to the beauty of science.”

Fr. John McCarthy, in his lecture at Regis College March 21, displays a tree core sample he found in New Brunswick that handily demonstrates the Jesuit principle of finding God in all things. McCarthy is a lichenologist and ecologist who also is chaplain at the University of British Columbia.

From the first use of the decimal point to the discovery of Peking Man; from the first medical use of quinine to cataloguing 933 species of ants Jesuits have spent the last 478 years advancing human knowledge.

Popular notions that either the Church or religion in general are opposed to science are a mostly 19th-century misconception born out of the rather crude philosophy of logical positivism, according to McCarthy. But the error persists in our time in the form of empty debates over the aggressively anti-religious views of so-called “new atheists” such as Richard Dawkins.

Dawkins made the front cover of Time magazine in November of 2006 by debating the Christian head of the Human Genome Project, Francis Collins, under a headline that read “God vs. Science.”

“That’s just absurd,” was McCarthy’s assessment of the Time article.

Jesuits Celebration of Science Contributions

McCarthy himself has had a distinguished career in science while also acting as a campus chaplain and parish priest at the University of British Columbia and helping to lead the Jesuits in English Canada as socius, or chief assistant, to the Jesuit provincial superior. In a back room of the Jesuit curia in Toronto, McCarthy keeps a couple of high-powered microscopes and related scientific equipment.

Scientific colleagues named one species of lichens, Acarospora maccarthyi, after him.

McCarthy has discovered and catalogued several species of lichens, including one discovered at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre in Guelph, Ont., which he named Cladonia ignatii.

McCarthy and the Cladonia ignatii - newly discovered lichen.

The author of two popular books about faith and science — Do Monkey’s Go To Heaven? and Do Monkey’s Go To Heaven 2.0? —McCarthy concedes Jesuits are not as prominent in science as they were a couple of generations ago. That’s largely a matter of overall numbers, with the Church’s largest male order declining from about 36,000 members in 1965 to fewer than 16,000 today, he said. 

Source: [ Catholic Register ]

Video: [ Fountain of Love and Life ]





Recent News

June 6, 2019 — Jesuit brothers go wherever they are needed and do whatever needs to be done, as “Bros” to their fellow Jesuits, and as “Bros” to all of us looking to find God in all things.

August 23, 2019 — During his visit to the Jesuit provinces of Asia, Father General of the Society of Jesus, Arturo Sosa, gave a speech to the lay people involved in the works and activities of the Society of Jesus in Taiwan. This speech was posted online by the General Curia of the Jesuits.

August 23, 2019 — According to Bill Blakeney, a lawyer working as legal counsel for the Jesuits of Canada, the process behind the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was both “frustrating” and “moving” at the same time.

August 11, 2019 — Do you have a passion for social justice? Canadian Jesuits International (CJI) is preparing a study tour in July 2020 for Canadian educators and anyone interested in social justice and global solidarity.

August 8, 2019 — This last article in the Prayer with Preferences series returns to the ultimate foundation of the whole process of Universal Apostolic Preferences, and thus to the basis of the whole discernment process that will guide their appropriation in the Jesuit apostolates and communities across Canada.

August 8, 2019 — The triennial Colloquium 2019: Building Communities of Justice and Hope Jesuit schools conference was an amazing experience for the team of ten Loyola High School staff members who attended this year.

August 8, 2019 — On July 31st, the Jesuits of Canada celebrated with two special masses the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus. At the same time, this date marked the first year of the newly formed Canadian province. Jesuits, colleagues and friends came from all over.

view all news

Search news

Publications

Campion's Brag

Relations Mai 2019

Canadian Jesuits



Anishinabe Spiritual Centre
The Anishinabe Spiritual Centre is a place of peace, a beautiful retreat space, a welcoming ...