Faith & Science & Albacete

Knowing that we’ve been musing about Evolution, Genesis, Science and Faith around here, Elder Son brought this video to my attention, remarking that he found the priest to be “insightful and charming.”

Faith & Science from World Science Festival on Vimeo.

Not a bad panel, eh? Proving once again that people with opposing views can still manage a good-faith debate with civility, and humor, and even admission of commonalities. As we celebrate the feastday of St. John Vianney, patron of priests, this gentle priest makes his point in a lovely way.

“To me, the God issue is a question of experience. For example, I want people I love not to die; I want friendships that are not betrayed; I want justice – desires that seem to make no sense, that appear in fact to be irrational…. there is, I admit, a certain uselessness to this, in terms of the fact that nothing in the world seems to correspond with or answer these desires. All that I ask of myself, and I think it is reasonable to ask everybody else, is to be faithful to that experience and to explore the implications of it. And if something is found that explains it, so that the question disappears, then fine, that’s the answer, and that’s that.”

Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete is a very interesting character. Born in 1941, he is a physicist who, in 1968, read Joseph Ratzinger’s Introduction to Christianity and found himself moved from atheism to faith. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1973.

I recall watching him on Charlie Rose’s show upon Ratzinger’s becoming Pope Benedict XVI and was also being charmed and rather moved. Albacete is the author of God at the Ritz, which I mean to order and read and pass Elder Son’s way, for he is ever-curious.

You can watch all five parts of the very interesting discussion on Faith and Science beginning with Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV and Part V

On a somewhat related note, Catholic & Enjoying It has “the Epitome of Science Cool…

Albacete on being a priest on 9/11riveting stuff.

God’s Dupes? Gadzooks! Widgets

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Chavez

    I believe in the revelation given by an old gray-headed prophet (no, not Moses–Einstein).

    Einstein showed that time is a variable, not a constant (relativity); and that how much time passed for any given event depended upon the vantage point from which you observed it.

    He also showed that matter is just another form of energy. (And after the Big Bang the universe was transfused with energy within a matter of seconds–or less.) Was that energy “light”?

    So maybe Moses got that right, and maybe that was coincidence. (Or maybe it was something else.)

  • W.

    Great discussion. I heard about it months ago (especially the line from the atheist: “I agree with what you’re saying. … Either I’m not an atheist or you’re not a theist.”) but never got to see/hear footage until today. Thanks.

    God at the Ritz is one of my favorite books. Flannery O’Connor readers will especially enjoy the beginning. Go get it and read it.

    Msgr. Albacete is a wonderful person. One of the funniest around. Here is a link to a one-hour-plus interview he gave as part of the Meaning of Life series.

    Lastly, if you ever come across his address to the Flocchini Forum at the University of San Francisco (a St. Ignatius Institute-sponsored event), then take a listen. It was one of the funniest and yet serious and deep discussions I have heard a speaker give. The topic was “The Theology of the Body.” I have the talk on tape but have never transferred it to today’s tech formats.

    For more from him, go to the CL site:

  • Jennifer E

    I can’t get enough of Albacete! Elder son has good taste.

    Thank you Anchoress,

  • Nicholas

    You can find more of Msgr. Albacete in New York at many of the wonderful talks sponsored by the Crossroads Cultural Center, an offshoot of the lay Catholic Movement Communion and Liberation. This September 30 Msgr. Albacete will be moderating what promises to be a fascinating panel discussion at Columbia University on the origin of the universe in science and philosophy and the role of wonder in scientific discovery. For more information

    [Edited to admit link -admin]

  • Al

    I took the time to listen to more of this talk. I was disappointed in the good priest. The Noble Laureate did a better job explaining how faith and reason can indeed be aligned. Father Albacete actually did a poor job. He was much more abstract and unclear in his messages. In fact, I detected a hint of sophistry in his talks.

    Keep in mind I am a devout Catholic. This is a MAJOR complaint of mine. The evangelicals and other protestants do a MUCH better job aligning “Faith and Reason” then our Public Catholic Theologians do, especially our Priests who have been trained for it. I am also disappointed in his positions he was taking. His instance on “Evidence” was wrong because he conceded to the Yale Atheist’s position on what the definition of “Evidence”. The only Catholic Theologian or Philosopher i have heard that can taken on the “Scientific Materialist/Atheists” is Dr. Peter Kreeft, and he is not a trained debater.

    By far the top guys in the world are Dr.William Lane Craig…and his book “Reasonable Faith”. He SLAMMED Christopher Hitchens who is just a celebrity, granted an intelligent one but also many Scientists and Philosophers. He slammed them using “Logic” and “Reason”…the tools of the apparent “Reasonable Atheist”. Also Ravi Zacherias is also very good. Both are “Evagenlicals”.

    The good Priest…failed to witness to the question. We should expect more out of our Catholic Theologians especially in important public settings like that.

    D- To the Catholic Church again…lets get off our butts please, we can do MUCH better than this.

  • Geoffrey

    I agree with Al. Please pass my contact information onto him. I have something he might be interested in.