News
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 18, 2018 — Nearly 600 U.S. Catholic organizations declared that they are “still in” to support the Paris Agreement.

June 7, 2018 — The superior general of the Jesuits — including Pope Francis — is certain the Pope will issue an apology on Canadian soil for Catholic involvement in Canada’s residential school system.

June 4, 2018 — The Society of Jesus is proud to announce the ordination of 27 new priests in the United States, Canada and Haiti.

May 31, 2018 — The Jesuits of Canada and the U.S. join our brother Jesuits and the Nicaraguan bishops in denouncing recent violence in Nicaragua.

May 29, 2018 — For nearly five centuries, Jesuits priests and brothers have ministered to Canada’s Indigenous people.

May 29, 2018 — The Superior General of the Jesuits, the Very Reverend Father Arturo Sosa, is visiting Canada this May and made a special trip to Loyola on May 24th.

May 27, 2018 — Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, continued his 12-day visit to Canada this weekend, attending a diaconate ordination in Quebec City on Saturday and a Mass of Thanksgiving in Montreal today.

view all news

Search news

Publications

The Crusader

OpenSpace (Apr 2018)

Campion's Brag



Ignatian Centre
The Ignatian Centre is a Jesuit ministry run by laity dedicated to bringing the Spiritual E...