Thanksgiving for Juan Caramuel Lobkowicz13. 10. 2006
Dear participants of the scientific Conference on the Father Juan Caramuel Lobkowicz, dear guests. Let me extend a heartfelt word of greeting to you all gathered here in the chapel of Saint John the Baptist and also saint John of Nepomuk, our Vicar General who reached the holiness through faithful and true accomplishment of his office. This Archbishop´s chapel was built towards the end of the sixteenth century. It was consecrated by the Archbishop Zbyněk Berka in 1599; seven years before Juan Caramuel was born. Welcome in this chapel where Juan Caramuel used to pray and celebrate the Eucharist during his time as the Vicar General of the Prague Archdiocese. It is very appropriate that we remember him at this liturgy especially in this very chapel in this house.
The both parts of your Conference show well this great figure of this polymath, theologian, scientist, politician. Let us thank God at this occasion for his life and his work for the Church in the Czech lands in the seventeenth century. Coming with our thanks we are entering in front of the Lord of history who is the highest authority for our lives. Let us ask for pardon of our sins.
it is my joy to see that the great figure of Juan Caramuel Lobkowicz is today at the occasion of 400 hundred years´anniversary. There are several reasons for my joy that I would like to share with you.
Even in these days the church has not fully left a certaind kind of ghetto in which she has been living since the eighteenth century, from the era of Enlightenment. It was the Second Vatican Council which opened wide the gate so that she may come out of this ghetto and to open herself to the world around us. The figure of Juan Caramuel Lobkowicz is a great sign of the time when the church and the society, the faith and the science stood close in a relationship of cooperation for the good of the peace in Europe, for the good of the whole society and in the service of the science. The person of Lobkowicz cannot be assesed without keeping this context in mind. I believe also this context is going to be taken in consideration while looking at his complex personnality.
Speaking of this dimension of Juan Caramuel and of his numerous talents, it is evident that he as Bishop knew all the texts chosen from the Scriptures for this occasion: God´s command of promoting science. I can assure you that this is not some kind of perverting the words of the Scriptures. “To subdue the earth“ does not mean only to keep animals, to sow the fields and to make one´s living from the earth.
To subdue the earth, as the Scripture says, means to get to know its laws given by God in order to develop God´s work of creation with the help of His laws which makes the human being a cooperator of God. This is a task of every true science: to acknowlege with humility the tremendously wise law-giver and to realize that we humans have not created even the smallest one of these laws of nature and that we ourselves are sumbitted to these laws. On the other we know also that God has entrusted these laws to us, in order to control the earth in some sense. The science is not against God, it is His commandement. By fostering science we are actually praising God the Creator because we fulfill his will.
This is not only the matter of the laws of nature but also the study of laws of the society – what I have in mind is to recognize and to read the signs of the times. It is important to be able to understand what is God saying to us through all that happens in the society. The political efforts of Juan Caramuel in the area of politics and society in Europe at the time of the thirty years war including the defense of Prague, his effort to bring this war to an end and to set up the piece treaty of Westfal etc. He made all these steps because he was able to read well the signs of times.
This is why the great figure of Juan Caramuel Lobkowicz is not only some figure from the past but he means for us a also very modern type of a priest and bishop who does not lock himself up in the ghetto of a church or his office but he consists a great challenge for all of us, for the church of today.
He himself is also a sign through which God speaks to us today. May God give us His Holy Spirit so that we may understand all possible ways which God uses to speak to us even today...
Conference to the 400th anniversary of birth of Juan Caramuel Lobkowicz, 13th October 2006, Archbishopric of Prague