Pope’s Message to Participants of the School of Astrophysics at the Vatican Observatory – SRM Science and Religion in the Media

Pope’s Message to Participants of the School of Astrophysics at the Vatican Observatory – SRM Science and Religion in the Media

Understand the universe without relying on science alone.

Pope Francis, in his message to the participants of the Summer School of Astrophysics at the Vatican Observatory, sent greetings and best wishes to those present, thanking those who guide them in this experiment. In his words, the Pope says he is fascinated by the recent astronomical discoveries that astronomers have made to us about the universe. It refers to the amazing images sent back by the James Webb Space Telescope, which amazes everyone, and expects the operation of the Vera Rubin Observatory, which promises to show us how the universe is growing and changing before our eyes.

Pope emphasizes the vastness of the universe we are discovering, with its gigantic dimensions and the huge number of galaxies, stars, and planets that have been identified. Quoting a psalmist who wrote about 2,500 years ago, he says, “When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars you have set, what man do you remember, son of man, why? Do you care?” (Psalm 8, 4-5). The Pope acknowledges that the immensity of the universe has always been a source of astonishment to humanity, however overwhelming or even frightening it may seem.

Pope Francis in particular addresses the young people of the 21st century who participate in the Summer School, asserting that they aim to embrace the vastness of the universe and to develop ways to find understanding within the constant flow of new data.

and that they would learn to “understand the universe”. However, be aware that even with the most appropriate tools, “the quality of the results depends on the skill of the craftsman.” The Pontiff recalls that “the great temptation, whether in science or in philosophy, is to try to get only the answers we expect, while we are also able to allow ourselves to be amazed at any unplanned innovations.”

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Encourage students not to be satisfied with the results of their studies so that they may be surprised by them as well. “And even if your gaze passes through the window of astronomy – said the Supreme Pontiff – do not forget about other windows that can show you important truths, such as sympathy and love, truths that you also encounter in the friendship that is growing between you these days “.

For the most astonishing thing about the universe” is that it contains creatures like us who are able to watch it in amazement and question it. Indeed, when the psalmist asks: `What is man that you remember, the Son of man, that you care for him? (Psalm 8:5- 6).

Pope Francis invites young people never to lose “that sense of wonder, whether in your research or in your life; may you always be moved by a love of truth and amazed at all that every part of the universe has to offer you.”

He concludes his letter by wishing “fruitful days of study and friendship,” blessing the participants in the Vatican Observatory’s Astrophysics Summer School, and asking for prayers for him.

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