Fr Jamie McMorrin, of St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh, spoke this morning on BBC Radio Scotland to give his Thought for the Day, discussing an exciting new project that aims to improve dialogue between religion and science.
"When I was a student in Rome, I was once given a tour of the Vatican Observatory at Castel Gandolfo. A friend of mine, who is both a priest and an astrophysicist, showed me the telescopes, with the Latin enscription around their roof: 'Venite Adoremus Deum Creatorem': 'Come, let us worship God the Creator.'
"The work of the observatory stands in a long tradition of dialogue between science and religion, combining a spirit of enquiry into the workings of the natural world with a sincere faith in God. My friend, and many other scientists with him, believe in a God who, in the words of Stephen Hawking, is responsible for "breathing fire into their equations and making a universe for them to describe."
— Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh (@archedinburgh) January 21, 2020
"My own scientific education, I'm afraid, ended - and not especially gloriously - with Standard Grade chemistry. Although I've tried to make up for it since, when it comes to the finer details of scientific discovery, I confess to feeling slightly out of my depth.
"Thankfully, my counterparts in the Church of England will, in future, be somewhat better equipped than me to engage with some of the most important debates of our time here in the United Kingdom.
"Thanks to a grant from the Templeton Fund, the universities of Durham and York have recently launched a multi-million pound project called 'Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science'.
"Grants will be given to theological colleges and to individual trainee priests interested in science. The aim is to fund research into everything from dinosaurs to DNA, and help religious leaders to better understand the world of science - and vice versa!
"St John Paul II, the Pope who led the Catholic Church into the third millenium, said that "faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth."
"Hopefully, this project will go some way towards promoting a vision of human progress among both scientists and people of faith. It could be a positive way to cultivate a deeper appreciation for the beautiful complexity of our world and the human spirit which strives to understand its deepest truths."
Fr Jamie McMorrin is assistant priest at St Mary's Catholic Cathedral in Edinburgh.