THE CHURCH NEEDS
By P. E. HODGSON
Author of 'This Atomir Age' T has become a commonplace to say that we are living in an age of science. Hardly a week passes without the announcement of some new discovery and invention.
In a thousand ways the applications of science lighten our daily work and add to our pleasure. The inconvenience caused by the abrupt cessation of even one of the modes of public transport or of communication serves to underline our increasing reliance on machines embodying scientific principles.
In the short time of a hundred years science has changed the material side of life in this country more than it changed in the previous millennium. And these changes are only just beginning. Up till recently, broadly speaking, science has been applied in a rather haphazard and unscientific way; now it is increasingly applied methodically and scientifically.
A new discovery in pure science is often swiftly utilised in a dozen manufacturing processes. Science now underlies most of the industry, to say nothing of the defence of our country. The examples of this. especially in my own field of atomic science. are so numerous and wellknown that it is not necessary to enumerate them.
Great pfle re r A s a result of this widespread application of science and its pervasive and farreaching influence on our community, scientists often occupy positions of great power and influence. They, and only they. have the necessary technical knowledge to make decisions affecting the lives of millions.
It is of the highest importance that these decisions should be made by men who have ever before their e) es the supernatural destiny of mankind. Otherwise, there is some danger that expediency will triumph over justice, and the convenience of the mass over the rights of the individual.
Perhaps even more important is the effect of scientific advance on contemporary thought. In numerous ways. often too subtle to recognise, our way of life, our beliefs and our thoughts arc influenced by science.
Modern science is one of the greatest achievements of the human mind, and if we can understand and assimilate it, we cannot but be immensely enriched by it. It helps us to know more fully the world we live in and. even more important, it can deepen our knowledge of our Faith.
Catholics cannot let the most dynamic adventure of man in the twentieth century pass them by without being impoverished. It is only too clear what would happen if they did; indeed it has already happened to some 'extent. '
Science has been coupled to materialistic propaganda and used to attack religion and all too many would-be apologists, instead of distinguishing between science and the materialistic philosophy, have replied attacking science itself, making things still worse.
THERE is thus a great -Ineed for a body of Catholic scientists who are not only well versed in science, but also in theology and philosophy, who can work to make the
riches of scientific knowledge an integral part of the life of the Church.
l'hey can also correct any misapprehensions that may arise concerning the relationship between religion and science. Mercifully. Catholics who attack science are now an almost extinct species. although one or two surviving specimens now and then aim feeble blows at evolution.
Any young man with a liking for science would therefore do well to seriously consider making science his career. It is indeed a much more rewarding and worth-while career than is sometimes supposed. Many Catholic schools. especially those run by the De La Salle Brothers, have a long tradition of science teaching, and an everincreasing number of boys from them are finding out for themselves the advantages of a scientific career.
The choice of career is indeed a momentous one. and unfortunately It often has to he made hurriedly at an age when it is difficult to see very far into the future.
All too often an irreversible decision is taken and regretted for a lifetime. It is therefore worth thinking it over as carefully as possible.
WHAT are the things that a boy looks for in choosing his career? Firstly, as he will spend the greater part of his life working in it, his career must be chosen with the purpose of his life in mind, the salvation of his soul through the service of God and His Church. It has already been shown how many opportunities the Catholic scientist has of doing this.
Secondly, his career should enable him to develop his natural talents to the full, to appreciate and share the great achievements of the human mind. This requirement is of course intimately linked with the first, for he will not he able to serve God well unless he develops the abilities God has given him.
Although on a superficial and casual view science seems to some to be a dull, rigid, mechanical affair, atifling the outlook and narrowing the vision of man, nothing could be further from the truth. The scientist who thinks about the philosophy underlying his speciality will soon be brought in contact with the fundamental problems man has studied since the dawn of history. and thence to the theology. the literature and the poetry of past ages.
There is, of course, the danger of specialisation if he remains immersed in his work without heeding its wider implications. But this is a small one if he has been taught in a Catholic school where science is shown as part of a comprehensive Christian world view.
Thirdly. he must he interested in his career. Few things can be more frustrating than to have to spend a lifetime doing work he has no interest in.
A good job ?
QCIENCE is intensely teresting to the majority of people who have not been repelled by the often rather arid parts that unfortunately take up quite a large part of the school science curriculum. Later on it becomes even more interesting. Still, a person with no liking for science would, of course, be well advised not to choose it as a career.
Finally, are there sufficient opportunities available for him to be reasonably sure that, when his studies are completed, he will be able to get a good job?
The answer to this can be given with complete confidence in the case of science. The demand for scientists, especially for physicists