Feeds

Pope tells astronomers to pack up their telescopes

Nobody expects a Vatican eviction

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The Pope has given the Vatican's Jesuit astronomers their marching orders, banishing them and their infernal instruments from his summer palace and billeting them in a disused convent instead.

The astronomers' eviction from the Castel Gandolfo has been put down to Benedict XVI's need for more space to receive visiting diplomats, according to The Independent.

According to the paper, the Jesuits who run the observatory are putting a brave face on their enforced removal, with the observatory's director Father Jose Funes, insisting: "It is not a downgrading of science in the Vatican."

However, observers will no doubt see this as a negative move in the Church's relationship with science, which dates back to that other troublesome astronomer, Galileo, and beyond. Benedict has been accused of looking to turn the clock back on his predecessor's embrace of science, to the extent of apparently endorsing intelligent design.

Alternatively, you could opt for the theory that the observatory’s main problem is that it’s largely run by Jesuits, another group that has a stormy relationship with the Holy See.

After their stint as the Pope's shock troops in the counter-reformation, the order was suppressed in the 18th century, before being restored in the 19th century. Nevertheless, some apparently feel that the Jesuits are too clever by half and, even worse, have developed a rather liberal tendency.

Earlier this year, Benedict welcomed attendees to the observatory’s summer school with the message: "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'."

And, if after sufficient contemplation you still feel you can't get to the truth, the Vatican will be happy to supply it for you. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.