The following sketches of the lives of clergymen who were great scientists have appeared at various times during the past five years in Catholic magazines. They were written because the materials for them had gradually accumulated during the preparation of various courses of lectures, and it seemed advisable to put them in order in such a way that they might be helpful to others working along similar lines. They all range themselves naturally around the central idea that the submission of the human reason to Christian belief, and of the mind and heart to the authority of the Church, is quite compatible with original thinking of the highest order, and with that absolute freedom of investigation into physical science, which has only too often been said to be quite impossible to churchmen.
that have been made.
These constitute the reasons for this little book on Catholic clergymen scientists. It is published, not with any ulterior motives, but simply to impress certain details of truth in the history of science that have been neglected in recent years and, by presenting sympathetic lives of great clergymen scientists, to show that not only is there no essential opposition between science and religion, but on the contrary that the quiet peace of the cloister and of a religious life have often contributed not a little to that precious placidity of mind which seems to be so necessary for the discovery of great, new scientific truths.
COPERNICUS AND HIS TIMES.
All the vast and most progressive systems that human wisdom has brought forth as substitutes for religion, have never succeeded in interesting any but the learned, the ambitious, or at most the prosperous and happy. But the great majority of mankind can never come under these categories