Vatican City, 20 Dec. (AKI) - The Catholic church, which once branded astronomer Galileo Galilei and philosopher Giordano Bruno 'heretics' for their views on astronomy, is set to dismantle and transfer the 1891-built Vatican observatory to a nearby building.~translation via Papa Ratzinger Forum. And here's how a MSM outlet (UK Independent) is branding the move:
Jesuit astronomers operating in the papal residence of Castel Gandolfo, in the Roman countryside, will be moved to a different building, due to lack of space, reported Italian daily Corriere Della Sera.
The space in the observatory is needed by the Vatican to host diplomats and heads of state who visit Pope Benedict XVI.
The entire area of the observatory will be used, while the building's two domes will be museums, open only on request.
A library with over 20,000 rare books, an extensive collection of meteorites and the residences of the scientists will all be transferred to an old convent, located one and a half kilometres away from Castel Gandolfo.
The observatory was built by Pope Leo XIII in 1891 to respond to claims that the church was opposed to scientific progress. It became famous, when in 1969 Pope Paul VI saw, with the help of powerful Vatican telescopes, the landing on the moon of American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin.
"It is in no way a downgrade of science by the Vatican," said Father Jose G. Funes, director of the Vatican observatory.
"To remain in the palace [Castel Gandolfo] was only a symbolic role, and where we will be moving to will be an even more comfortable place for us."
A second Vatican observatory already exists in the US state of Arizona, atop Mount Graham which is also considered a sacred place for native American Indians.
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.Yawn....tiresome MSM, they truly earn the epithet Lamestream Media. Can't you just feel the vitriol spewing from the phrase scientists in dog collars? Woooo, clever.
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.
Father Jose G Funes, the present director of the observatory, known as the Specola Vaticana, insisted that there was no sinister significance in the move. "It is not a downgrading of science in the Vatican," he said. "To remain within the palace would have had only a symbolic significance, whereas where we are going we will be even more comfortable. Nearly everybody is in agreement with the move even though I realise that every change produces disquiet."
His predecessor, Father George Coyne, said, "I agree completely with Father Funes. We have discussed the issues many times together and with the rest of our Jesuit staff."
But symbolism is exactly what close watchers of Pope Benedict XVI see in the move: confirmation of the view that he is far less receptive to what scientists – including scientists in dog collars – want to tell him than his recent predecessors. He has, for example, spoken in favour of intelligent design, in flat contradiction of the views of the observatory's former director.