Jesuit Astronomer Says Science, Religion Not Enemies

Rory O'Driscoll/Winona Daily News

Rory O'Driscoll/Winona Daily News

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Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, a research astronomer and planetary scientist at the Vatican Observatory, seeks an understanding of God and the universe through prayer — and through his telescope.

Br. Consolmagno said one of the primary purposes of the observatory is to be an ongoing demonstration that the church is supportive of science and scientific research. Upon his appointment to the observatory in 1993, he said the first instruction he received was, “Guy, do good science.”

The supposed conflict between religion and science really doesn’t exist, Consolmagno said. “Science grew out of religion.”

Historically, the church has fostered science and the academic life, he pointed out, and churchmen have been in the forefront of scientific advancement.

“There is nothing in the Bible opposing evolution,” he said, “but there is something in the Bible against astrology.”

Biblical literalism is a recent development, not traditional Christianity, he said.

To apply a modern reading to a 2,000-year-old text “does violence to the text,” Consolmagno said, “and that’s not me saying it, it’s Augustine saying it.”

Read more about Consolmagno’s views on science and religion at the La Crosse Tribune.

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