The Vatican Observatory in Italy, A Teaching Tool Melding Science and Faith
The Vatican Observatory is located on a hill in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, the former summer residence of the popes. It’s a physical reminder of the Catholic Church’s commitment to science, and in particular the heavens – the universe, star formation, galaxies. Headquartered on the Apostolic Palaces fifth floor, it’s roots go back to the 16th century when Pope Gregory VII reformed the calendar, aligning it more closely with the motion of the planets, giving us the much more precise Gregorian calendar. Fr. Richard D’Souza is one of several astronomer priests doing research at the Observatory, whose main offices are now in a new facility and updated telescopes are at the edge of the papal gardens and also in Tuscon, Arizona (Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope -VATT). With degrees in physics and a doctorate in astronomy from the University of Munich, this man of the cloth is also a man of science. His area of research is studying the formation and evolution of galaxies. On this episode of Lighthouse Faith podcast, recorded at the former Apostolic Residence in Castel Gandolfo, Fr. D’Souza talks about why the Catholic Church embraces science, and why it sees no conflict between the Holy Scriptures and Scientific discoveries.