The Pope’s Astronomer, Brother Guy Consolmagno

The Vatican
Image Credit: Fabio Fistarol

Known affectionately as The Pope’s astronomer, Brother Guy Consolmagno is a meteor and planetary scientist, and Curator at the Vatican Observatory, where he works as part of a team of 12 papal astronomers. The 60 year old Jesuit astronomer has also been instrumental in helping to build a bridge between science and God, and refreshingly has no compunctions in explaining that science is necessary in order to keep religion away from superstition and close to reality. As he commented recently:

“Both astronomy and religion remind us that there’s more important questions than what’s for lunch, it pulls us out of our day-to-day worries and concerns and gives us a much larger perspective on who we are and how we fit into this enormous universe.”

In a recent interview, the self-confessed science fiction fan expressed the “tremendous excitement” he felt in 1961 watching Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin become the first human in space and the later Apollo 11 moon landings; events he describes as being “the one thing we’ll be remembered for in the 20th century.”

Furthermore, Brother Consolmagno welcomes scientists’ constantly expanding knowledge of the universe, and explains that; “If God is infinite, then this revelation in science is also going to be infinite. We’re never going to run out of things to be surprised by.”

It would seem Brother Consolmagno is not adverse to the prospect of extraterrestrial life, either, and famously said he would be “delighted if we found life elsewhere,” and even offered to baptize an alien being if one requested.

Finally, when questioned whether meteor strikes, like he one which  exploded over Siberia on Feb 15th, suggested randomness, rather than divine design in the universe, The Pope’s Astronomer, explained: “Randomness is part of God’s plan. The universe is not a wind-up toy. I think God designed chance and freedom into the universe and into us.”

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