Marin Mersenne died in Paris. A French religious, philosopher, and physicist, he acted as a liason between a number of the scientists and thinkers of his time, such as Fermat, Gassendi, and Pascal. He defended Descartes and Galileo against criticism from theologians and fought against pseudo-sciences such as astrology and alchemy.
The Catholic Church in Italy decided to celebrate on September 1st the “Day for Safeguarding and Defending Creation.” Instituted by the Italian Conference of Bishops, its goal is to highlight the importance that the “ecological question” bears in this day and age, with all of its ethical and social implications. It serves as an invitation to consider nature a gift from the Creator, a gift that must be protected and through which it is possible to ascent to Him who has given it. As we read in Centesimus annus: “Not only has God given the earth to man, who must use it with respect for the original good purpose for which it was given to him, but man too is God's gift to man. He must therefore respect the natural and moral structure with which he has been endowed. In this context, mention should be made of the serious problems of modern urbanization, of the need for urban planning which is concerned with how people are to live, and of the attention which should be given to a ‘social ecology’ of work” (n. 38).
The Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science (ISSN: 2037-2329), published by the Centro di Documentazione Interdisciplinare di Scienza e Fede operating at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, provides new, scholarly articles in the rapidly growing international field of Religion and Science. Most of these articles were written primarily by European authors and are available here for the first time in English. They offer a unique window into the approaches and perspectives of the European community toward what has become a field of immense cultural significance throughout the world. Each article provides a very readable and comprehensive summary of what is currently being discussed in religion and science on specific topics as well as how these topics have been discussed historically.
In order to make certain documents better known in the scientific community, the Anthology and Documents section provides key materials for study and reflection concerning the dialogue among science, philosophy, and theology. It includes scientists’ essays, masterpieces on the history of science, works of philosophers and theologians, and documents from ancient, medieval, and Renaissance authors, as well as Sacred Scripture and official documents of the Catholic Church and other Christian churches.