Saints and Scholars Newsletter September 23, 2022

Lumen Verum Academy - September 23 2022 Newsletter

Words from our Principal

Dear Families and Friends of Lumen Verum Academy,

Last week our Church celebrated so many beautiful saints! In an entirely unplanned but completely providential coincidence, the Faith Formation Team announced our yearly theme – “Beauty of the Word” – on the feast day of St. John Chrysostom, whose name means “golden mouthed” because of the beauty of the words which came out of his mouth as he preached the Gospel. His words of comfort to his friends during a time of trial are a balm to any soul in difficulty:

I have [the Lord’s] promise; I am surely not going to rely on my own strength! I have what he has written; that is my staff, my security, my peaceful harbor. Let the world be in upheaval. I hold to his promise and read his message; that is my protecting wall and garrison. What message? Know that I am with you always, until the end of the world!

Yet in keeping with my goal of focusing each week on a principle from our Honor Code, I’d like to turn to our second Honor Code point: supporting the Catholic mission of our school. As we discussed with scholars during their Orientation, what this does NOT mean is that we cannot ask good-faith questions and bring honest confusions or perplexities about Church teaching or the Catholic faith into conversation. In fact, scholars are actively encouraged to do this – that’s what our school is about! We believe God gave us our ability to reason, and we are called to use that gift in order to ask questions and to grow in deeper knowledge and understanding.

What this does mean, however, is that all members of the Lumen Verum Academy community are called to demonstrate respect for the teachings of the Church and not actively work to undermine them. A model of someone who both used his formidable intellect to advance human knowledge but also demonstrated humble submission to the Church’s authority was St. Robert Bellarmine, whose feast we celebrated on Saturday. Involved as he was in the controversy surrounding Galileo and the advancement of the Copernican theory, Bellarmine took an approach that was consistent with both his Catholic faith and the best scientific thinking of his day. While he supported scientific exploration into the Copernican theory, he argued that it should not be taken as a certain fact until it was proven (which it would not be for another two centuries). He furthermore maintained that, if something were scientifically proven that appeared to contradict Scripture, our conclusion should be not to reject either Scripture as false or science as wrong, but rather to humbly acknowledge that we do not understand Scripture fully. He urged caution in accepting new scientific proposals until they were rigorously tested and demonstrated, writing:

I say that if there were a true demonstration that the sun is at the center of the world. . . then one would have to proceed with great care in explaining the Scriptures that appear contrary, and say rather that we do not understand them than that what is demonstrated is false. But I will not believe that there is such a demonstration, until it is shown me.

Bellarmine’s scientific skepticism actually reflected much sounder scientific thinking (both for his own day and in ours!) than many who were promoting the Copernican theory at his time. His commitment to intellectual inquiry, his sense of academic responsibility, and his humble submission to received wisdom and tradition are, I think, healthy models for all Catholic intellectuals – as we aspire for our own scholars to be! May we pray for his intercession, that we have his prudence and humility, and learn from his example of reason rightly used.

Have a beautiful week, everyone!

Pax et bonum,

Karen Celano


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