Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist
Brother Guy Consolmagno, S.J., is a Planetary Scientist, specializing in meteorites, and a Jesuit brother. He writes about the different types of meteorites and their significance in the first section. The second section is about the church, where he argues that the trial of Galileo was a tragic aberration, and discusses the theological justification for science in the works of St. Athanasius and of John Scotus Eriugena. Later chapters include some autobiography, a discussion of aliens and their possible theological implications (short answer: no problem), and a concluding section about exploring for meteorites in Antarctica.
He has a first rate education in both science and religion, and is obviously very comfortable with both and sees no problem reconciling them. Neither do his Jesuit superiors.
I have read quite a bit on science and religion, but mostly from a somewhat detached academic point of view. Brother Astronomer is a very refreshing view from the inside. Brother Guy is perfectly aware of all the historical, religious, and scientific background, but communicating that is not his purpose. He is a working scientist. His scientific work is his Christian vocation. That is what he trying to communicate, and he does it very well.
Brother Guy was recently interviewed by some of the British news media, resulting in stories such as:
- Pope Benedict XVI’s astronomer: the Catholic Church welcomes aliens
- Pope’s astronomer says he would baptise an alien if it asked him
His comments on all of this are at Anybody want my last three minutes of fame? .