No science-religion conflict – scientist at IEC

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Thousands gathered for the Opening Mass of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) at the Plaza Independencia, Jan. 24, 2016. (Photo: Roy Lagarde)

CEBU City, Jan. 26, 2016 – A Filipina scientist representing the Diocese of Iligan to the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in Cebu City echoed on Monday what the Church knew all along: reason and faith, science and religion are not at odds.

“There’s no conflict between science and religion,” stressed Dr. Angelina Vacan, a physics researcher and university professor in an interview on the shuttle service to Waterfront Hotel where concurrent IEC sessions were scheduled on Jan. 25.

For her, there is no point trying to contend the “truths” of science and those of religion, given that the two have different concerns.

Science ain’t everything

“Science is only about the physical world and the physical world is tiny compared to the entire reality. We cannot understand God because we are finite. If we can understand God, then He is no God,” she explained.

“When you talk about religious matters, you don’t use the language of science. The truth of Christianity is revealed. It’s not a product of investigation. It’s a revelation. Either you believe it or you don’t,” she added.

Vacan, who earned her Ph.D. from Louisiana State University after doing research on elementary particle physics, disputed the assertion that scientists like her tend to deny the existence of a Supreme Being than most people who are not.

She testified there are more non-scientists than scientists who are atheists.

Despite her training, the Iligan native fully subscribes to the teachings of the Church like the one on the Eucharist.

Catholic advantage

“It’s good we are Catholics because we don’t only have the Bible. We have the saints and the Tradition of the Church as well. We can depend on them. We have the sacraments. That’s why I appreciate my being a Catholic. We have so [much] to bank on,” she said.

According to Vacan, she was not always as faithful growing up although her father was a member of a Sacred Heart confraternity.

It was after attending an exhibit of Eucharistic miracles in Florida that the 58-year old was finally convinced of the claims of Catholicism, and the ongoing IEC helps strengthen her faith even more.

She went on to share that she has enjoyed the congress talks so far, noting these are things she wished she had learned sooner.

“I’ve had an amazing experience. I’m not disappointed,” she exclaimed, commenting on the lectures she attended. (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)

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