This was the temper, also, that actuated the other Fathers named, Lactantius, Basil, and Augustine. No doubt these men valued spiritual knowledge above material. But it by no means follows from this that they undervalued Science. They were scholars of extensive culture, Basil a graduate of Athens, Augustine of Carthage, and Lactantius styled because of his proficiency the Christian Cicero. They were well acquainted with the learning of the Greeks. That they rebelled against the scientific fantasies of the latter, is not a proof that they were hostile to the advance of Science itself.

In the Imitation of Christ, Thomas à Kempis expresses a sentiment quite similar to theirs. “Surely a humble husbandman that serveth God, is better than a proud philosopher who, neglecting himself, is occupied in studying the course of the heavens.” Like the Fathers, à Kempis had reason to be disgusted with the astronomy of his time, for it was beginning to be impregnated again with the virus of Astrology. By refusing to follow such pseudo-scientific teachings, both à Kempis and the Fathers did a real if seemingly negative service to the science of astronomy.

Father George Vincent Leahy, Astronomical Essays (1910)



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