HSTEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and the Catholic Church share tumultuous history. From church’s inauspicious treatment of Galileo Galilei in the 17th century to Darwin’s evolution theory to their today’s steadfast opposition to contraception, abortion and stem cells research.
But it’s not all black and white, the church funds many of the world’s hospitals and medical facilities around the world, in some of the unimaginably poorest places. As for the evolution, by the 1980s the Catholic Church showed general acceptance of ‘theistic evolution,’ which states that God created a universe where cosmic and biological evolution occurred. Otherwise; the church had taken no formal stance on evolution, though some church figures still rejected it. And as late as the 1950s, the church maintained a neutral position on the subject.
The Church blesses all kinds of things: from barley to whiskey; from medicine to wine, milk or cheese; from boats to airplanes. Then, why not extend the limitless grace to bless the most common and personal modern object: the smartphones?
The Rituale Romanum may be used by any priest for the blessing of anything:
God, whose word suffices to make all things holy, pour out your blessing + on this object (these objects); and grant that anyone who uses it (them) with grateful heart and in keeping with your law and will, may receive from you, its (their) Maker, health in body and protection of soul by calling on your holy name; through Christ our Lord.
[It (they) is (are) sprinkled with holy water.]
The Church has a Benediction to cure every imaginable addiction. However unusual it may at first appear, in blessing mobile devices, the Church has begun a much-needed outreach, so that, “rather than instruments of immorality, our devices become instruments of virtue and well-being.” Pope Francis said he also “hoped advancements in science and technology would lead to equality for all people, noting his family’s immigrant past and the “culture of waste” that he detailed in his 2015 encyclical on protecting the environment, “Laudato Si.”
The underlying interplay between STEM with spirituality is a pillar of Francis’ teachings; he has encouraged advances in technology while he continuously warns against becoming consumed by screen time and becoming unable to connect to others and to the life around them. He has encouraged progress in technology even as he calls himself a “dinosaur” in relation to computers.
Francis has also embraced technology to advance the church’s mission, conducting Google Hangouts and maintaining an active presence on Twitter and Instagram. And he shares his monthly prayer intentions in videos on the Vatican’s YouTube channel, according to the religionnews.com.
But Francis is not the first pope to become an online influencer. Dec. 3, 1999-
for the first time ever, Pope John Paul II gave his blessings to the original online music distribution company (MCY.com) and its CEO who was the pioneer of the first online music store.
When Pope John Paul II met with MCY.com’s CEO Bernhard Fritsch who has repeatedly been celebrated as the “Father of the online music distribution” and Bernhard presented the head of the Catholic Church with MCY’s own NETrax player containing a new rendition of the “Dona Nobis Pacem,” Which constitutes a portion of the “Agnus Dei”, and has been rearranged and performed by contemporary German composer and tenor Karl Reinhard Zeiss.
MCY’s proprietary NETrax™ distribution system was the first secure digital distribution platform, NETrax offered a comprehensive solution for intellectual property rights management, centralized customer profiles and tracking, and flexible copyright protection among its secure capabilities.
John Paul II and Bernhard Fritsch discussed and worked out all the details of this piece, which soon became available for digital downloading on MCY’s online music store.
This extraordinary piece of historic art only could come about because Bernhard Fritsch and the holy father joined forces to advance that technology and expand its benefits to the rest of the music industry, forever.
This marked a new era of active participation by the church in the online scenery. Now, despite cynics’ often justified skepticisms, this could have many positive implications for the people around the world. The joined force of STEM and the church can make anything possible. An alliance with immense influence and power resulting in drastic and revolutionary breakthroughs.
Hopefully, this is only the beginning of a powerful alliance that can help direct and balances our material and spiritual dimensions of life.