Pope Evicts Astronomers

Pope Evicts Astronomers Science is to make way for diplomacy at the Pope’s summer residence, with the dismantling of the astronomical observatory that has been part of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, for more than 75 years. The Pope needs more room to receive diplomats so the telescopes have to go.

The eviction of the astronomers and their instruments, reported by the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, and their removal to a disused convent a mile away, marks the end of a period of intimacy between popes and priest-astronomers that has lasted well over a century.

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Comments

  1. #1 Zeno
    January 4, 2008

    I’m a little disappointed, but not particularly surprised. When Father Coyne stepped down last year as director of the Vatican observatory, it seemed likely that the Church’s astronomers were not as cozy with the new pope as with the old. Father Coyne had been very dismissive of the attempts by some Catholic prelates to promote intelligent design. Benedict XVI is more willing to humor the creationists among the Catholics than John Paul II was. Perhaps this is another step by the largest Christian sect to downgrade scientific endeavor. (That that, Galileo!)

  2. #2 Dave Briggs
    January 4, 2008

    The eviction of the astronomers and their instruments, reported by the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, and their removal to a disused convent a mile away, marks the end of a period of intimacy between popes and priest-astronomers that has lasted well over a century.

    Sorry to see them go! Maybe they will be able to redesign the old convent for even greater astronomical observations?
    Dave Briggs :~)

  3. #3 Lassi Hippeläinen
    January 5, 2008

    I’ve always felt a bit uneasy when religious leaders stare at the sky. Seems like they are not researching it, but distorting it for their own purposes.

    Anyway, the loss to astronomy is negligible. The remaining telescopes at Castel Gandolfo haven’t been used since the 80s, due to light pollution. The real observatory is nowadays in Arizona.

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