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Cardinal O’connell Attacks Einstein Theories As Peril to Religion

April 9, 1929
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An attack on the Einstein theories as dangerous to religion was made by Cardinal O’Connell at a Communion breakfast of members of the New England Province of College Catholic Clubs of America in the University Club Sunday morning, following a three day convention of club members, who represent the non-sectarian colleges of New England.

The Cardinal declared that he had never yet met a man who understood in the least what Professor Einstein was driving at in his theory of relativity. He was so impressed by this fact that he is very seriously in doubt whether Einstein himself knew really what he was driving at.

“Why do men and women who pretend to be intellectual forget the very rudiments of life? What does all this worked-up enthusiasm about Einstein mean? It evidently is a worked-up, fictitious enthusiasm, because I have never met a man who understood in the least what Einstein is driving at; and I have been so much impressed by this fact that I very seriously doubt that Einstein himself knows really what he is driving at,” the Cardinal declared.

“Truth is always very clear when seen with a clear eye. The fact that any theory cannot be enunciated and only succeeds in befogging the mind is a patent proof that it is not really truth.

“Now, I have my own ideas about the so-called theories of Einstein, with his relativity and his utterly befogged notions about space and time. It seems nothing short of an attempt at muddying the waters so that without perceiving the drift innocent students are led away into a realm of speculative thought, the sole basis of which, so far as I can see, is to produce a universal doubt about God and His creation.

“I mean that while I do not wish to accuse Einstein at present of deliberately wishing to destroy the Christian faith and the Christian basis of life, I half suspect that if we wait a little longer we will find he unquestionably will ultimately reveal himself in this attitude. In a word, the outcome of this doubt and befogged speculation about time and space is a cloak beneath which lies the ghastly apparition of atheism.”

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