Motu Proprio

Motu Proprio of Pius XI

In multis solaciis

28 October 1936

In multis solaciis

Amongst the many consolations which Almighty God has seen fit to bestow on Us during the course of Our Pontificate We are pleased to acknowledge that We have seen that not a few of those who experiment with the secrets of nature change their spiritual inclinations and attitude so radically, as to appear entirely renewed in spirit.

Science, which consists in a true recognition of fact, is never opposed to the truths of the Christian faith; in fact – as everyone who examines and meditates on the history of science, is bound to admit – the Pontiffs, together with the Church, have never at any time failed to encourage the research work of learned men, also in the sphere of experimental science; this research work has, in turn, made a valid contribution to the defence of the treasure of heavenly truth entrusted to the Church.

Consequently, as was solemnly declared by the Vatican Council, ‘not only can faith and reason never disagree with each other, but they rather offer each other reciprocal help, because real reason demonstrates the foundation of faith and, illuminated by the light thereof, develops the science of things divine; while faith, in turn, liberates and defends reason from errors and enriches it with considerable knowledge’.

Unhappily, in recent times, some, who formerly lived in the paternal home of their inherited religion, have, like the ‘prodigal son’, miserably abandoned it, though not really for the purpose of learning the truth. It has also been asserted, especially during the last century, with false deductions and daring rashness, that the methods and reasonings of human science and of Divine Revelation are contrary one to the other. But now – and it is with no little consolation that We note it – such prejudiced opinions have been so thoroughly discredited that scarcely anyone can be found, among those who worthily carry on research in the physical sciences, who still asserts and defends such an error.

Nor do We wish here to pass over in silence

... Read all

Amongst the many consolations which Almighty God has seen fit to bestow on Us during the course of Our Pontificate We are pleased to acknowledge that We have seen that not a few of those who experiment with the secrets of nature change their spiritual inclinations and attitude so radically, as to appear entirely renewed in spirit.

Science, which consists in a true recognition of fact, is never opposed to the truths of the Christian faith; in fact – as everyone who examines and meditates on the history of science, is bound to admit – the Pontiffs, together with the Church, have never at any time failed to encourage the research work of learned men, also in the sphere of experimental science; this research work has, in turn, made a valid contribution to the defence of the treasure of heavenly truth entrusted to the Church.

Consequently, as was solemnly declared by the Vatican Council, ‘not only can faith and reason never disagree with each other, but they rather offer each other reciprocal help, because real reason demonstrates the foundation of faith and, illuminated by the light thereof, develops the science of things divine; while faith, in turn, liberates and defends reason from errors and enriches it with considerable knowledge’.

Unhappily, in recent times, some, who formerly lived in the paternal home of their inherited religion, have, like the ‘prodigal son’, miserably abandoned it, though not really for the purpose of learning the truth. It has also been asserted, especially during the last century, with false deductions and daring rashness, that the methods and reasonings of human science and of Divine Revelation are contrary one to the other. But now – and it is with no little consolation that We note it – such prejudiced opinions have been so thoroughly discredited that scarcely anyone can be found, among those who worthily carry on research in the physical sciences, who still asserts and defends such an error.

Nor do We wish here to pass over in silence the fact that, during the years of Our Pontificate, a number of scientists – among whom some were considered the highest in their special field and who had received the highest honours – when visiting Rome, even from various very distant lands, to attend meetings for the advancement of science, came to offer Us their deferential homage, or, rather, to offer it to that venerable Authority which, in the person, although undeserving, of the Successor of St. Peter, has been entrusted in perpetuity to this Apostolic See.

It has also happened that, among those eminent persons, some there were who, though they had not the precious gift of the Catholic Faith, did not, nevertheless, think it unbecoming to bow in reverence before this, Our Chair of Truth.

Some of these, moreover, speaking to Us in their own name as well as in the name of their colleagues, did not hesitate to state, and rightly, that all natural science prepares and consolidates the road leading to the Christian Faith; and their words filled Our fatherly heart with great happiness.

Therefore by the plenitude of Our Authority, motu proprio, and after careful deliberation, We constitute and declare established ‘The Pontifical Academy of Sciences’.

To testify that We attribute to this Institution a dignity equal to its very high task, We ourselves appoint – and for this first time not by Our Authority alone, but of Our direct and spontaneous will – the seventy renowned scientists who will constitute the Pontifical Academy, and who will be called Pontifical Academicians.

These We have chosen with the greatest care from among those learned men who have, in their own countries, attained the highest peaks of renown.

In making Our choice, We have not only been influenced by the excellence of the research and achievements by which each of them has contributed to the advance of science, but also have taken into consideration their personal renown among scholars, as attested by the approbation and general esteem they enjoy.

Consequently, this Apostolic See hopes and expects to receive from them that help and honour of which this Senate of learned men, as it were a ‘Scientific Senate’, is a certain augury.

Nor should it seem excessive that this Assembly of noble disciplines should be designated by Us as, so to say, the Senate of the Apostolic See in the field of science. In fact, all honour rendered by scientists to the Divine is not only the homage due from human reason to the Supreme Truth, but also a noble expression of reverence to God the Creator.

Verily then do We desire and expect that the Pontifical Academicians, by means of this Institute of studies, which is both Ours and theirs, will give an ever greater and higher contribution to the advance of science. We ask no more than this, since the service we expect of these servants of the truth is based on this high purpose and noble efforts.

Given in Rome, at St. Peter’s, on the twenty-eighth day of October in the year 1936, the fifteenth of Our Pontificate.

Pius PP. XI

Read Less