I’m on the mailing list for John Carroll University’s speaker series for the Institute for Catholic Studies. I was instantly charmed by the postcard I received a month ago featuring Brother Guy Consolmagno’s picture and the title of his upcoming talk on “Adventures of a Vatican Astronomer.” Really? I didn’t know the Vatican had an observatory. This sounded like fun. So I gathered my family last Thursday and traveled to the college to hear a fascinating presentation of faith and science and why that combination is the most natural thing in the world.
Consolmagno is an American Jesuit who works as a planetary scientist and research astronomer at the Vatican Observatory outside of Rome. He specializes in meteorites and asteroids and other small bodies in the solar system.
The most impressive part of his talk was how much sense it makes to embrace science and religion; that they can co-exist as part of the truth of the universe. He feels religion needs science to keep it away from superstition and keep it close to reality, to protect it from creationism, which at the end of the day is a kind of paganism. “I don’t need science to prove my religion, but I need religion to believe in science,” he said. He believes in an ordered universe which is proof to him it was made with God’s hand.
Brother Guy has a number of books including his most recent, “The Heavens Proclaim: Astronomy and the Vatican.” I think I’ll give it a read.