September 2019 Print

The Last Word

Dear readers,

Catholic scientists who have made the world a better place to live? I cannot but pay homage to the monks of all centuries. Monasteries have always been greenhouses of knowledge, both intellectual and practical.

Let us not forget in the first place that theology is a science, and the best, the highest! Listen to the Angelic Doctor in the very second article of the first question of the Summa Theologica: “The purpose of this science (Sacred Doctrine, or Theology), in so far as it is practical, is eternal bliss; to which as to an ultimate end the purposes of every practical science are directed. Hence, it is clear that from every standpoint, it is nobler than other sciences.”

So, St. Thomas should be on our list of the greatest scientists!

Concerning practical sciences, monks have surely made the world a better place to live. Isn’t St. Benedict called the Patron of Europe? Monasteries have always been the centers of every science. Let us just mention a few of these:

  • of agriculture—and all the experiments and discoveries that goes with this, including cheese, wine, beer, and liquors;
  • of architecture and acoustics (think of the Gregorian Chant and confessionals for lepers);
  • of engineering, especially revolutionary ways of harnessing energy, in particular wind, air, and water;
  • of all the types of arts (painting, sculpture, music), e.g., the cells painted by Fra Angelico in San Marco’s convent of Florence;
  • of book making and metal work (e.g., the incredible Book of Kells; the 8th c. Ardagh chalice)
  • of accounting—it was monks who first formalized double entry bookkeeping;
  • Let us thank God for monasteries and all they did and still do to make the world a better place. And now go and have a sip of La Chartreuse and pray for vocations!

    Fr. Daniel Couture