Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By

11/11/2009 (4 years ago)

Catholic News Agency (www.catholicnewsagency.com)

'These questions offer many philosophical and theological implications' the priest-scientist explained.

Fr. Jose Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory.

Fr. Jose Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory.

Article Highlights

By

Catholic News Agency (www.catholicnewsagency.com)

11/11/2009 (4 years ago)

Published in Europe


VATICAN CITY (CNA) - The Vatican Observatory and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences have just concluded a week-long gathering of scientists to examine the origin of life and the possibility of extraterrestrial life. “These questions offer many philosophical and theological implications,” said Fr. Jose Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory.

After bringing their Nov. 6-10 talks to a close, four of the scientists held a press conference at the Holy See's press office on Tuesday.

Participating in the press conference were Fr. Jose Funes S.J., director of the Vatican Observatory; Jonathan Lunine, professor at the department of physics in Rome's Tor Vergata University; Chris Impey, professor at the department of astronomy in the University of Arizona and the Steward Observatory, Tucson, U.S.A., and Athena Coustenis, professor at the "Observatoire de Paris-Meudon", LESIA/CNRS, France.

Fr. Funes began his remarks by answering the question, "Why is the Vatican involved in astrobiology?"

Noting that the Vatican also discussed astrobiology in 2005, Fr. Funes stated that despite the field's newness, “the questions of life's origins and of whether life exists elsewhere in the universe are very interesting and deserve serious consideration.

“These questions offer many philosophical and theological implications," the priest-scientist explained.

Professor Lunine went into further detail about the emerging field of astrobiology, defining it as “the study of life's relationship to the rest of the cosmos: its major themes include the origin of life and its precursor materials, the evolution of life on earth, and its future prospects on and off the earth.”

The Italian physics professor also explained the fruit of the study week.

“The study week provided a special opportunity for scientists from different basic disciplines to spend an intensive week understanding how the work in their particular specialty might have an impact on, or be impacted by, that in other areas. Nowhere is this more evident than in the work being done on how life formed on the earth and evolved with the changing environment," Professor Lunine said.

American professor Chris Impey reflected on the implications of an encounter with an intelligent life form, saying, "if biology is not unique to the earth, or if life elsewhere differs bio-chemically from our version, or if we ever make contact with an intelligent species in the vastness of space, the implications for our self-image will be profound.”

“It is appropriate that a meeting on this frontier topic be hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The motivations and methodologies might differ, but both science and religion posit life as a special outcome of a vast and mostly inhospitable universe. There is a rich middle ground for dialogue between the practitioners of astrobiology and those who seek to understand the meaning of our existence in a biological universe,” Impey added.

The press conference came to a close with remarks from Prof. Athena Coustenis on the subject of the exploration of outer planets and their systems, with a particular concentration on the two Saturn moons Titan and Enceladus.

---

Founded in continued response to Pope John Paul II’s call for a “New Evangelization,” the Catholic News Agency (CNA) has been, since 2004, one of the fastest growing Catholic news providers to the English speaking world.



Comments


More Europe

Pope Francis Easter Vigil Homily: Where is My Galilee? Encountering Jesus Watch

Image of Pope Francis: To return to Galilee means above all to return to that blazing light with which God's grace touched me at the start of the journey. From that flame I can light a fire for today and every day, and bring heat and light to my brothers and sisters. That flame ignites a humble joy, a joy which sorrow and distress cannot dismay, a good, gentle joy.

By Pope Francis

Galilee is the place where they were first called, where everything began! To return there, to return to the place where they were originally called. Jesus had walked along the shores of the lake as the fishermen were casting their nets. He had called them, and ... continue reading


LOCH NESS MONSTER - FOUND? Amazing new photos appear Watch

Image of Cutting-edge technology may have just added credence to a long-standing legend in Scotland's Loch Ness.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Cutting-edge technology may have just added credence to a long-standing legend in Scotland's Loch Ness. A satellite orbiting Earth and using Apple's satellite map app may have provided proof that there's a Nessie to be found in the Scottish Highlands. The ... continue reading


UFO caught on film in England, but it's not a spacecraft... Watch

Image of This mysterious ring lasted for about three minutes in the air before dissipating, according to the eyewitness.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A bizarre black ring is baffling experts in England, after it was filmed by a sixteen year old girl in Warwickshire. The ring apparently hung in the sky for three minutes before dissipating. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Nick Pope, a former adviser to the ... continue reading


Russia continues to devour Ukraine Watch

Image of Russia's Prime Minister, and former president of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev said that Ukraine is on the brink of civil war.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Vladimir Putin has continued his land grab in Ukraine, making it ever more apparent that the Russian president wants to reunite the old Soviet republics and from a new Soviet Union, even at the risk of causing a major war. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Russia ... continue reading


Immune to poison, GIANT rats terrify Great Britain Watch

Image of Nationwide, councils have reported a rise in the number of rats being reported. Birmingham has the highest number of call-outs with 5,100 in the past year.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Rats -- the size of cats" is a lyric in David Bowie's classic rock hymn "Diamond Dogs." It's a terrifying, dystopian vision that unfortunately coming true in Great Britain today, with rodents as large as two feet in length. Even worse, these monster rats have ... continue reading


Pope appoints Lady Margaret Scotford Archer to head Pontifical Academy Watch

Image of Lady Margaret Scotford Archer was born in Grenoside, U.K., and holds a Ph.D. from the University of London. She is currently a professor at l'Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland. She previously taught for many years at the University of Warwick in Great Britain.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Lady Margaret Scotford Archer has been appointed by Pope Francis to be President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences." The group consists of scholars dedicated to studying issues in the social sciences in order to offer reflection and advice to the ... continue reading


Dissenting Priest Defies Church of England's Teaching on Marriage, 'Marries' his Homosexual Paramour Watch

Image of An Anglican priest has defied the Church of England's insistence that marriage is between one man and one woman by openly dissenting from the Scripture and Christian tradition and wedding his longtime homosexual companion. The 58-year-old Canon Jeremy Pemberton, a divorced hospital chaplain, wed 51-year-old Laurence Cunnington this past weekend.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A practicing homosexual priest has defied the Church of England's ban on homosexual and lesbian clergy marrying by wedding his longtime male homosexual companion. The 58-year-old Canon Jeremy Pemberton, a divorced hospital chaplain, wed his long-term homosexual ... continue reading


Who Am I? Homily of Pope Francis on the Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion Watch

Image of

By Pope Francis

This week begins with the festive procession with olive branches: all the people welcome Jesus. The children, the young people sing, praising Jesus.But this week proceeds into the mystery of Jesus' death and his resurrection. We've heard the Passion of the Lord. ... continue reading


Pope Francis Gives Away New Testaments to the Faithful. Calls Catholics to Love the Bible Watch

Image of Pope Francis loves the Word of God and calls us to do the same

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Last month, at an Angelus prayer, Pope Francis asked the crowd how many of them read the Bible every day. The response was discouraging. He told them, "It is good to have a little Bible that you carry with you in your pocket or in your bag. Always carry a Bible ... continue reading


The Gift of Wisdom: Pope Francis Begins Series of Talks on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit Watch

Image of

By Pope Francis

Today we begin a series of reflections on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the soul, the lifeblood of the Church and of every Christian: He is God's Love, who makes our hearts his home and enters into communion with us. The Holy Spirit is always ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 10:34, 37-43
34 Then Peter addressed them, 'I now really ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh for he is good, for ... Read More

Gospel, John 20:1-9
1 It was very early on the first day of the week and ... Read More

Reading 2, Colossians 3:1-4
1 Since you have been raised up to be with Christ, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 20th, 2014 Image

St. Marian
April 20: When St. Mamertinus was Abbot of the monastery which St. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter