This morning Pope Benedict received the faculty and students of the Eleventh Vatican Observatory Summer School in an audience. He exhorted the amateur astronomers to form their faith and their reason so that they can rise to the contemplation of the truth.
The Vatican Observatory was founded in 1891 at the papal summer residence—Castel Gandolfo—and is one of the oldest astronomical institutions in the world.
The Holy Father provided a vision for the scientists-in-training saying, “Since its establishment, the Vatican Observatory has sought to demonstrate the Church’s desire to embrace, encourage and promote scientific study, on the basis of her conviction that "faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth" (Fides et Ratio).
This summer’s program, which is devoted to the study of the study of Extra-solar Planets, will be taught by the Jesuit Fathers and Brothers who staff the Observatory.
The Pope reminded the students that they should get more out of their studies than scientific knowledge. “In addition to your demanding research, however, you will have a precious opportunity to learn together with students from twenty-two different countries. The wide variety of your backgrounds and cultural traditions can be a source of great enrichment to you all.”
“In the days to come, may you find spiritual consolation in the study of the stars that "shine to delight their Creator (Bar 3:34)." Upon you and your families I cordially invoke God’s blessings of wisdom, joy and peace.”
In other Vatican news, the Holy Father will convene the Congress for the Diocese of Rome this afternoon. The congress will focus on the theme: Jesus is the Lord. Educating in Faith, Discipleship, and Witness.