Paul Joseph Jean Cardinal Poupard Paul Joseph Jean Cardinal Poupard
President of Culture, Roman Curia
Cardinal Priest of S Prassede
Aug 30, 1930
May 25, 1985
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English Pope Sylvester: a model for dialogue of faith, science
May 15, 2005
The president of the Pontifical Council for Culture has underlined the call for a renewed dialogue between the worlds of science and faith, citing Pope Sylvester II as the model for that intellectual exchange.

Rome, May. 12 ( - At a Mass celebrated on May 12 in the Roman church of St. Mary of the Angels, Cardinal Paul Poupard called attention to the efforts the Pontifical Council has made to promote exchanges among the leading figures in faith, science, and the arts. The Mass marked the anniversary of the death of Pope Sylvester in the year 1003. Msgr. Marcel Sanchez Sorondo, the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy for Sciences, concelebrated the liturgy.

Pope Sylvester, who served from 999 to 1003 was "a model of dialogue between the understanding of faith and the science that works through the observation of nature," the Pontifical Council for Culture observed in a press statement. In his homily, Cardinal Poupard remarked that the large and precise sundial in the church of St. Mary of the Angels represents "an admirable meeting of science, art, and faith." Similar ceremonies were held on the same day in the cathedrals of Milan and Palermo, and the church of St. Petronius in Bologna-- all of which are equipped with sundials developed in connection with astronomical observatories.

Pope Sylvester II-- also known by his original name, Gerbert d'Aurillac-- was acknowledged among the leading European scientists of his day. As a Benedictine monk, he carried on a wide correspondence with leading scientific and literary figures in Europe and-- through contacts in Spain-- the Arabic world. He is responsible for popularizing the European use of the astrolobe and of Arabic numerals, the use of wooden models to study the movements of celestial bodies, the construction of organs, and important developments in musical theory. In a public statement on May 11, 2003, on the 1000th anniversary of his death, Pope John Paul II referred to Sylvester II as "the most cultivated man of his time."
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