ADDRESS OF POPE JOHN PAUL II
I wish to offer a cordial welcome to all of you who are taking part in the IV International Symposium on Heating in Toroidal Plasmas, which has been jointly organized by the Italian Commission for Nuclear and Alternative Energy Sources and the International School of Plasma Physics. I extend a special greeting to your Chairman and to his associates who have promoted this meeting.
The scientific investigations which you conduct, individually in your respective research centres, or together as in these meetings which you devote especially to the deepening of theoretical knowledge and to the practical evaluation of the heating experiments that are part of Controlled Thermonuclear Fusion, are aimed at discovering an important source of energy for the development of the universe.
In this undertaking the Church follows you with attentive interest. She is aware that your complex and delicate work involves keeping in mind certain fundamental ethical principles that touch upon the future of humanity, its well-being, its security.
Your activity has effects outside the different nations which support the research. You are called to provide an example of successful international collaboration among the peoples of the earth. By its very nature your work must be aimed towards the peaceful future and the harmonious and fraternal development of man, of each individual human being. For it is to the human person that your efforts your studies, your research must be directed.
Through your heating experiments you penetrate the deep mysteries of the physical world and its properties and potentialities. In scientific endeavours the Catholic Church sees the accomplishment of the will of the Creator of the universe, who entrusted the earth to man. As the Lord of Life, God tells man to have dominion over the forces of the earth and to subdue the world (cf. Gen 1, 26-28), and to continue through the centuries his own work of creation. Your research can indeed have a great importance for the future of humanity. For, as you emphasize, the quality of the environment and of life, the production of food and, in certain cases, the very survival of man, depends upon the long-range availability of sufficient energy.
The Church, as faithful guardian of the message of Christ, is fully aware of the universal significance of his word, which for all believers is the supreme norm of conduct and model of life. For this reason she tirelessly proclaims full respect of the human person and the indisputable primacy of man over things, which must be subject to him as instruments.
The recognition of the dignity of the human person has been one of the main themes which the Church has been reflecting upon during this Holy Year of the Redemption. This conviction, which Christians bear witness to by their religious faith, and anxieties concerning the precarious nature and fragility of true scientific development aimed at the good of the people of today and of future generations, I commend to you for your reflection.
I express to each and every one of you and to all people of scientific research my hopes for true progress and peace, and I invoke upon all of you the abundant blessings of God.