Vatican observatory’s new website showcases Church’s support for science

The Vatican astronomical observatory’s new website has a mission: to show the world the Catholic Church’s support of science and scientific research.

The new website has hundreds of resources on faith and science.

The observatory has also started a podcast that explores “the wonder of God’s universe”. Vatican astronomers and expert guests contribute to the podcasts.

Jesuit Br. Guy Consolmagno, director of the Vatican Observatory, says the observatory’s old website “was hardly ever visited.”

“The mission of the Vatican Observatory, articulated by Pope Leo XIII back in 1891, is to show the world that the Church supports science. And while we’ve done a pretty good job of doing the science, I know we’ve been less successful at ‘showing the world,’” Consolmagno says.

Dating back to 1582, the Vatican Observatory is one of the oldest active astronomical observatories in the world.

Its headquarters are in Castel Gandolfo, a town near Rome.

The observatory also has a research group at the University of Arizona. There, in partnership with the university, the observatory constructed the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) on Mount Graham. It began operation in 1993.

Consolmagno says plans for the observatory’s new website have been underway for well over a year.

He says when he meets people he often finds they are unaware that the Vatican has an observatory.

“The message we have for the general public can be quite detailed,” he says, referencing the website’s Faith and Science resource center.

“But frankly, the mere awareness that we exist, a modern astronomical observatory supported by the Vatican (and by donations to our Foundation), says everything essential that needs saying.”


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