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Br. Guy Consolmagno, S.J., is an astronomer at the Vatican Observatory. In this recent interview with the Catholic News Agency, Br. Consolmagno discusses his view on the interaction of science and the Catholic Church.
“Speaking of the link between science and religion, Br. Consolmagno observed that “it is an important part of being human to ask, who are we, how do we fit into this big universe, and it is an important part of being of human to recognize in this creation the hand of the one who made it.”
“The astonishing thing to me about astronomy is not only that the universe makes sense and I can come up with equations and explain it,” he continued, “but the way it makes sense is beautiful.”
Read the interview here.
Pope Francis has recently issued his first apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium. Among many other topics, he discusses science and its relation to faith in the following paragraphs:
Dialogue between science and faith also belongs to the work of evangelization at the service of peace. Whereas positivism and scientism “refuse to admit the validity of forms of knowledge other than those of the positive sciences”, the Church proposes another path, which calls for a synthesis between the responsible use of methods proper to the empirical sciences and other areas of knowledge such as philosophy, theology, as well as faith itself, which elevates us to the mystery transcending nature and human intelligence. Faith is not fearful of reason; on the contrary, it seeks and trusts reason, since “the light of reason and the light of faith both come from God” and cannot contradict each other. Evangelization is attentive to scientific advances and wishes to shed on them the light of faith and the natural law so that they will remain respectful of the centrality and supreme value of the human person at every stage of life. All of society can be enriched thanks to this dialogue, which opens up new horizons for thought and expands the possibilities of reason. This too is a path of harmony and peace.
The Church has no wish to hold back the marvellous progress of science. On the contrary, she rejoices and even delights in acknowledging the enormous potential that God has given to the human mind. Whenever the sciences – rigorously focused on their specific field of inquiry – arrive at a conclusion which reason cannot refute, faith does not contradict it. Neither can believers claim that a scientific opinion which is attractive but not sufficiently verified has the same weight as a dogma of faith. At times some scientists have exceeded the limits of their scientific competence by making certain statements or claims. But here the problem is not with reason itself, but with the promotion of a particular ideology which blocks the path to authentic, serene and productive dialogue.
Full text here.
Comet ISON is currently approaching the Sun, and it is now so close that it is no longer visible from the Earth. However, NASA’s SDO satellite has a perfect view of the comet, and they will be monitoring it as it passes through the Sun’s outer atmosphere. The comet will reach its closest point to the Sun on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 28th). NASA will be hosting a live online Google+ discussion about the comet, beginning at 1:00 p.m. EST.
The event will also be broadcast on NASA Television.
Live images will also be posted at the SDO website.
Image: NASA/MSFC/Aaron Kingery
Wednesday night, November 20th, PBS is airing three back-to-back documentaries on space-related topics. One show will deal with the upper atmosphere phenomena (e.g. auroras and lightning sprites), one will be about asteroids, and perhaps most interesting, there will be a special on Comet ISON, which is set to make its closest approach to the Sun on Thanksgiving Day, and which is currently visible in the eastern sky before dawn. Get more information here.