Dispatches from the Vatican Observatory

“As I do, a part of me grasps that photons, indivisible packets of light, erupted from the sun an hour and a half before, and now, having traveled almost a billion miles, are gathered into the maw of the Zeiss, to slide down the length of its tube and enter my eye. And still all I can say is “Oh my God.” What was born in the sun, what literally skimmed Saturn’s rings, caressed its atmosphere and careened off its moons, has touched me. Even now, weeks later, I am staggered to think that I have been so intimate with the planets, with the sun.

Karl Rahner, S.J., an eminent theologian of the 20th century, addressing a gathering of scientists, noted that, “To be able to stammer about God is after all more important than to speak exactly about the world.” The chance to be part of the work of the Specola is the remarkable opportunity to do both. Stammer out my awe. Speak precisely about what I have observed. To do science. To seek God in all things. Deum creatorem venite adoremus."

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