If you want to make the pope’s astronomer smile, ask him how to detect the presence of God with the most well-known tool of his trade.
“One doesn’t use a telescope to discover God,” said Brother Guy J. Consolmagno, S.J., the director of the Vatican Observatory, during a virtual presentation to a group of more than 100 Loyola Marymount University students, faculty and alumni on March 11.
“But what one does do,” he continued, “is to use a telescope to get to know God’s personality better.”
Consolmagno, a man with a prayerful demeanor and a playful personality, was invited by Loyola Marymount University’s Frank Seaver College of Science and Engineering to speak as part of the Jesuit university’s ongoing Seaver Spotlight series.
For an hour, participants heard him explain how a passion for astrophysics and the evolution and origin of small bodies in the solar system can live in harmony with the Catholic faith.
From his office at the Vatican Observatory facility atop Mt. Graham in southwest Arizona, Consolmagno may have quickly enlightened the group in showing there can be an official place of advanced technology under Pope Francis’ watch that doesn’t have to exist exclusively in Italy (although there is an observatory there as well).
Framing his talk as “Your God Is Too Small,” Consolmagno could use the recent events of NASA’s Perseverance rover collecting new data on Mars as an entry point to re-conceptualize a far off planet as a real place that looks very much like the planet we live on, where “we can go and have adventures … a place where we can live… a place with sunrises and sunsets.”
Relying on an array of colorful photographs of various scenes in space, Consolmagno borrowed lines from Saint Francis of Assisi’s “Laudes Creaturarum,” also known as the Canticle of the Sun, as the captions for those moments captured.
The presentation generated a sense of awe that may have set aside any intellectual debate about how one could otherwise reconcile the Big Bang Theory with the Genesis creation narrative.
“God made it and God found everything good — that’s the part missing from the scientific cosmology if you’re left only with equations,” Consolmagno said. “But that’s why we do the cosmology. Because God made it, it’s a way of getting closer to God and this universe is good and beautiful, not just the sunset, but all the equations that describe the sunset.
“What does it mean to be a fellow creature in such a huge creation?” he also asked, showing a photo from the Arizona telescope at a cluster of galaxies. “Every swatch of light is billions of stars with tens of billions of planets and hundreds of billions of such galaxies that we can see. To take that all in requires religion. I maintain that science requires religion, and not every religion allows science….”
The above comes from a March 16 story in Angelus News.
NASA thinks we can afford to send people to space? What planet are they on? We cannot afford any of the programs we are funding now.
The “Big Bang” fantasy contradicts Divine
Revelation on the matter of Origins and thus it
Is injurious to the Catholic Faith.
Steer-clear of any individual, (Consolmagno)
group (“Catholic” Answers) or school (take your
pick) that promotes it.
So, we are supposed to stick our heads into sand and pretend that science is in conflict with faith. Nope. Catholics are not fundamentalists. We are smart enough to realize that there are several Biblical accounts of creation, which are not compatible even with one another. I marvel at creation. But I won’t be slave to people who 4 millenia ago never even spotted the planet Mercury and thought eclipses meant the end of the world was at hand. Nope.
Please don’t spout the Kolbe Center’s pseudo-Catholic biblical interpretation of Genesis and interpretation of Catholic doctrine.
Young Earth Creationism is anti-intellectual and has no merit.
There is nothing contrary to Catholic faith in believing that the physical universe originated from a singularity approximately 13.8 billion years ago, and nothing contrary to Catholic faith in believing that the physical material for the human body evolved from prior species. There are solid scientific reasons, supported by ample data, to contend that the Big Bang and neo-Darwinian evolution provide highly accurate accounts of the physical processes by which the universe and life evolved from a singularity.
You are free to believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis, a six-24-hour-day creation, and special creation by God of every species, but the Catholic Church does not require that Catholics adhere to that interpretation. Church authority has stated that the Genesis account may be interpreted figuratively. If you’re going to try to tell Catholics what to believe, you had better know your stuff.
What’s interesting is how many TLM advocates reject Big Bang cosmology and neo-Darwinian evolution. There is definitely a correlation with a cause there. Tell us, do you attend the TLM exclusively? What do you think of the Novus Ordo Missae?
Also, do you believe the earth is the center of the universe? Are you a geocentrist? Many like you are.
Toni, do tell…just how does a theory of an expanding universe contradict divine revelation on the “matter of origins”? God revealed cosmological and astrological principles for the purposes of the economy of salvation? Where and when?
A reminder that the guy credited with establishing the most fundamental laws of geology (stratigraphy) was a Catholic bishop (Blessed Nicholas Steno), and the guy who first proposed the big bang theory was also a priest (Msgr. Georges Lemaitre). The Church has generally supported and in fact was integral to the progress of scientific inquiry, properly understood. It was a subset of the Protestants who, abandoning Catholic Tradition, imposed a very rigid and literal interpretation of scripture.
Also Catholic monk Gregor Mendel was a founder of modern genetics.
If you are not going to accept the Truth of what Moses recorded in Genesis, you might as well just flush the Gospels – at least that is how Our Lord understood it:
“If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not accept his writings, how will you believe My words? (John 5:
The very notion that the Roman Church. who is Divinely-sanctioned in the dual-roles as Mater et Magistra, would permit Her children to be deceived into believing something false contained in Her inerrant Book for almost two thousand years, and it was only until the likes of some atheist-deviant such as Albert Einstein or occultist-sodomite as Isaac Newton came along to “correct” Her “error” is the epitome of blasphemous b.s.
This is why Bishop Barron is correct to criticize the Rad Trads.
If the theory of evolution (and the Big Bang) is true and the earth really is billions of years old, then Genesis is not only literally false, it’s false in virtually any other way that it could be true or false. Nor does it have any other meaning that is even remotely helpful. At best, it’s a “myth” with no connection to anything. At worst, it’s directly misleading – a lie.
No, read the Catechism about the creation stories. It’s true, just not intended to teach scientific truth. Get out of the 16th century. Read Humani Generis. Read Divinu Afflante Spiritu.
Genesis is truth.
If you’re correct, then God created the universe about 6,000 years ago with features that point to it being billions of years old. Isn’t that deception? We know how fast light travels. We can measure distances to distant galaxies whose light has been travelling billions of years to reach us today. Are you suggesting that God created the universe with the light in transit to make it seem that the universe is billions of years old when it isn’t?
God can neither deceive nor be deceived.
Right, which is why Genesis was inspired to be interpreted figuratively, not literally. Church teaching.