Aug 20, 2015
People are often surprised to learn that the Vatican runs an Astronomical Observatory in Arizona in association with the Mount Graham International Observatory. Questions arise in many minds as to what the Vatican is doing meddling in astronomy. Is the Observatory’s task to bend science to the convictions of religion? Is the Observatory simply a hobby for Jesuits with too much time on their hands?
In fact, the Vatican Observatory symbolizes the truth that science and religion are properly partners, not antagonists, and should work together in seeking to unveil the mysteries of the universe.
Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, one of the principals at the Arizona Observatory states: “Religion needs science to keep it away from superstition and keep it close to reality, to protect it from creationism.” By the same token, science needs religion to answers questions like: Why is there something and not nothing? Where did the order of the universe and the laws of nature come from? How is it that creation had a beginning in time?
The Vatican Observatory reminds us of the mostly-forgotten truth that the Catholic Church was, from the early Middle Ages, a leader in the development of science. The Church founded the first universities, like Paris, Oxford, and Cambridge.