Father Guillermo García-Tuñón, S.J., '87 | President
(Father Guillermo García-Tuñón, S.J. delivered this speech at the blessing of the Fides Et Ratio Patio on January 28, 2020.)
I think we would all agree that Albert Einstein is one of the most respected and prolific scientific minds of the twentieth century. Even in popular culture, he is held as the poster child for scientific exploration and discovery. The world may think that a man of such rigorous reason would have some kind of aversion to the realm of faith and religion, but nothing could be further from the truth. Einstein was also a man of faith. He once said, “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.”
Interestingly enough, this has been the understanding of the Church since its very inception. For the last 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has stoked the fires of science by fostering illustrious men and women, both religious and lay, who have contributed significantly to the progress of science, and have encouraged the study of the physical world as an extraordinary way of discovering God Himself. The same way one can learn so much about a painter by studying his paintings or a sculptor by studying his sculptures, we can learn so much about the Creator by studying His creation.
We cannot fall trap to a cynical world that relentlessly tries to create a wedge between the world of faith and the world of religion. There are no conflicts, there are not two separate worlds; there cannot be because God is the source of both and, as any good philosopher can tell you, there is no conflict in God.
As you will later hear, no other religious order in the Church has promoted this truth more extensively than the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits. A Jesuit man must necessarily be both a man of science and a man of faith. He must use his study of the world he can see to help promote the truths of the God he cannot see. Throughout its existence, the Jesuit order has raised scientists and explorers who have used science to build bridges, to open doors, to preach the Gospel, and to strengthen faith. This was the life of Mateo Ricci, who broke through the barriers of skepticism and fear, and pioneered the promotion of faith and science. Since then, there have been thousands of more like him.
This patio is dedicated to this most important of endeavors. To remind all Belen students and faculty that we are a community of religious and faith-filled scientists. It is here to help counter the false claims of there being any form of division. Faith has nothing to fear of science and science has nothing to fear of faith. In the words of St. John Paul II as written in his encyclical Fides et Ratio, “Faith and reason mutually support each other; each influences the other, as they offer to each other a purifying critique and a stimulus to pursue the search for deeper understanding.”
Belen Jesuit Preparatory School was founded in 1854 in Havana, Cuba by Queen Isabel II of Spain. The task of educating students was assigned to the priests and brothers of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), whose teaching tradition is synonymous with academic excellence and spiritual discipline. In 1961, the new political regime of Cuba confiscated the School property and expelled the Jesuit faculty. The School was re-established in Miami the same year, and over the next decade, continued to grow. Today, Belen Jesuit sits on a 30-acre site in western Dade County, only minutes away from downtown Miami.