Astronomy and the Vatican: Exploring Strange New Belief Systems
The Church claims there is no conflict between faith and science.
The Gutenberg Printing Press Revolution provided the medium for works like those of men like Sir Isaac Newton and Galileo. These ideas would become foundational for the building of the world of global commercial industry of today, that many of us seem to take for granted. Astronomy, like astrology, was always a belief system used to reinforce social order and societal roles. The Church's role was challenged by not only the mass produced Bible, but by new ideas about the cosmos. The Vatican would go from resisting a Sun centered model of the Universe, to not only embracing it, but also then by promoting other ideas like the Big Bang theory, which obliterates the Divinely designed, Sun centered Universe of Newton and replaces it with a divinely created balloon. The word cosmos means order of course, and the social order has always been modeled on ideas of natural or divinely crafted order. The Divine Right of Kings is a great example of this very thing, the royalty claims a natural and even a divine right to rule and claims their lordship is as much a part of creation as an apple is. The Age of Enlightenment with the emerging literate middle class growing into a political force meant that the world was changing and that old institutions like the feudal system and the Church's authority were beginning to be challenged as new governmental forms would emerge, creating even more layers of governance over human behavior and laying the foundation for the world of mass produced commercial technological wonder of today.
"The Heavens Proclaim: Astronomy and the Vatican" source: Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
"Published on Mar 10, 2016
Lecture given by Br. Guy Consolmagno on Fri, March 4, 2016.
Presented by the Bishop Keane Institute, a Ministry of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.
About This Lecture:
The roots of the Vatican Observatory go back to the Gregorian Reform of the Calendar in 1582, and it has been part of an extensive history of Church support for astronomy (Galileo to the contrary!) Its modern mission for the last hundred years is to show there is no inherent conflict between science and religion by simply being people supported by the Church whose sole mission is to "do good science." We'll look into the history of this activity, including a summary of what's being done at the Vatican Observatory today.
About Br. Guy Consolmagno, SJ:
Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ, a Jesuit brother, is Director of the Vatican Observatory and the President of the Vatican Observatory Foundation. He studies planets, meteorites and asteroids. He is a native of Detroit, Michigan, received BA and MA degrees from MIT, and earned his PhD in Planetary Sciences from the University of Arizona in 1978. Along with more than 200 scientific publications, he is the author of six popular astronomy books. In 2014 he received the Carl Sagan Medal from the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences for excellence in public communication in planetary sciences.
About the Bishop Keane Institute:
The Bishop Keane Institute, a ministry of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, takes its name and animating spirit from the fifth bishop of Richmond and the founding rector of Catholic University, John J. Keane (1839 – 1918). The Institute serves as a gathering place for learning, conversation and community. Its primary effort, the Bishop Keane Institute Lecture Series, brings the leading voices in Catholic thought, ministry and education to Hampton, VA, as a way of engaging and energizing the Hampton Roads community to participate fully in the mission of Christ’s Church. Learn more at keaneinstitute.org
About Immaculate Conception Catholic Church:
Erected in 1968, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church is a community of faith that gathers weekly for worship, while also supporting ongoing efforts in community building, faith formation and service. Learn more at icchampton.org"
A Pope's Old Calendar
"The Gregorian calendar is internationally the most widely used civil calendar. It is named after Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in October 1582.
The calendar was a refinement to the Julian calendar involving a 0.002% correction in the length of the year. The motivation for the reform was to stop the drift of the calendar with respect to the equinoxes and solstices—particularly the northern vernal equinox, which helps set the date for Easter. Transition to the Gregorian calendar would restore the holiday to the time of the year in which it was celebrated when introduced by the early Church. The reform was adopted initially by the Catholic countries of Europe. Protestants and Eastern Orthodox countries continued to use the traditional Julian calendar and adopted the Gregorian reform after a time, at least for civil purposes and for the sake of convenience in international trade. The last European country to adopt the reform was Greece, in 1923. Many (but not all) countries that have traditionally used the Islamic and other religious calendars have come to adopt this calendar for civil purposes.
The Gregorian reform contained two parts: a reform of the Julian calendar as used prior to Pope Gregory XIII's time and a reform of the lunar cycle used by the Church, with the Julian calendar, to calculate the date of Easter. The reform was a modification of a proposal made by Aloysius Lilius. His proposal included reducing the number of leap years in four centuries from 100 to 97, by making 3 out of 4 centurial years common instead of leap years. Lilius also produced an original and practical scheme for adjusting the epacts of the moon when calculating the annual date of Easter, solving a long-standing obstacle to calendar reform.
The Gregorian reform modified the Julian calendar's scheme of leap years as follows:
Every year that is exactly divisible by four is a leap year, except for years that are exactly divisible by 100, but these centurial years are leap years if they are exactly divisible by 400. For example, the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 are not leap years, but the year 2000 is.
In addition to the change in the mean length of the calendar year from 365.25 days (365 days 6 hours) to 365.2425 days (365 days 5 hours 49 minutes 12 seconds), a reduction of 10 minutes 48 seconds per year, the Gregorian calendar reform also dealt with the accumulated difference between these lengths. The canonical Easter tables were devised at the end of the third century, when the vernal equinox fell either on 20 March or 21 March depending on the year's position in the leap year cycle. As the rule was that the full moon preceding Easter was not to precede the equinox, the date was fixed at 21 March for computational purposes and the earliest date for Easter was fixed at 22 March. The Gregorian calendar reproduced these conditions by removing ten days.
To unambiguously specify a date, dual dating or Old Style and New Style dates are sometimes used. Dual dating gives two consecutive years for a given date because of differences in the starting date of the year or to give both the Julian and the Gregorian dates. The "Old Style" (O.S.) and "New Style" (N.S.) notations indicate either that the start of the Julian year has (or has not) been adjusted to start on 1 January (even though documents written at the time use a different start of year), or that a date conforms to the (old) Julian calendar rather than the (new) Gregorian.[a]
The Gregorian calendar continued to use the previous calendar era (year-numbering system), which counts years from the traditional date of the nativity (Anno Domini), originally calculated in the 6th century by Dionysius Exiguus. This year-numbering system, also known as Dionysian era or Common Era, is the predominant international standard today."
Father of The Big Bang - Georges Lemaître
"Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître Associate RAS (French: [ʒɔʁʒə ləmɛtʁ] (About this sound listen); 17 July 1894 – 20 June 1966) was a Belgian Catholic Priest, astronomer and professor of physics at the Catholic University of Leuven. He proposed the theory of the expansion of the universe, widely misattributed to Edwin Hubble. He was the first to derive what is now known as Hubble's law and made the first estimation of what is now called the Hubble constant, which he published in 1927, two years before Hubble's article. Lemaître also proposed what became known as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe, which he called his "hypothesis of the primeval atom" or the "Cosmic Egg". "
Father of The Big Bang - Georges Lemaître source: On Fleek
"The Catholic Church quickly realized the potential of the printing press as a challenge to its influence. Censorship was introduced into the print shop in 1487, when Pope Innocent VIII required that Church authorities approve all books before publication. The Church had censored books for centuries, though it became much more difficult to do so after the invention of printing. Controlling a dozen painfully copied manuscripts of a forbidden text may have been a manageable task, but controlling the thousands of copies churning off the presses every year was quite another matter. One of these forbidden texts was the Bible printed in any other language than Latin."
"The Protestant Reformation movement began in 1517 with Martin Luther and his insistence that all Christians be able to read the Bible in their own language. The printing press helped to spread his message and eventually end the hold of the Catholic Church over much of northern Europe. The press as a tool of political and cultural change ensured the world would never be the same again. News of scientific and geographic discoveries now quickly circulated. Medical texts were published with detailed anatomical illustrations. Mass communication became possible on a scale that was unparalleled. Gutenberg the man may still be a mystery, but his invention helped to enlighten the world in a way that was impossible with manuscripts."
ORIGINS OF MODERN MAINSTREAM SCIENCE
Just like the more mythically contrived texts and concepts they replaced, modern scientific thought still serves the same purpose of defining social roles. Technological advances inspired by the work of the heliocentric and mathematical authors would go on to create the wonderful world of technological achievement of today. An illiterate peasant, rural, farming class, "evolves" into a literate, urban, middle class and a New World of industrialized and ever more specialized thinking is introduced. The feudal world of servitude gives way to the global commercial system of minted monies, international banking and all important interest rates and rates of exchange fees. The manufacturing and marketing of goods and ideas becomes the order of the day. The age of Enlightenment would lead to the creation of the numerous professions and social roles of today's complex world of global business. More mystical ideas give way to more demonstrable ones as literacy spreads and the result is the age of reason and industrialization. Superstitious style thinking is no longer the (primary) impetus used for directing human behavior, reason and demonstrable scientific principle become engineered realities in the form of numerous mass produced products of all types. A world of Coca Cola bottling plants, social media and global air travel would be born as a result of this historical transformation of collective human consciousness that resulted from the spread of literacy and printed material. The work of men like Newton would serve the important propaganda purpose of inspiring the imaginations of those enamored with the system of empirical science.
The time period of men like Newton was an era of transition from a more religious, superstitious and (overtly) feudal based social structure to one of republican style democracies.
Society goes from a religious and fedual structure that reinforce each other with Lords and Laws and crowned Kings on thrones. Jesus is considered the King of Kings and becomes a symbol of empire and Kingdom, despite having avoided the famed temptations in the desert. God is considered Lord Emperor of the Cosmos and this is reflected in the title of human Emperors and Kings.
The scientific revolution and subsequent age of reason would work to water down the power and influence of the older more superstitious based social order.
God was no longer deemed necessary to understanding reality. And Kings and Queens and Popes lost prestige as enterprising middle class families grew into aristocracy.
"By the 18th century, scientific authority began to displace religious authority, and the disciplines of alchemy and astrology lost scientific credibility"
"While the Enlightenment cannot be pigeonholed into a specific doctrine or set of dogmas, science came to play a leading role in Enlightenment discourse and thought. Many Enlightenment writers and thinkers had backgrounds in the sciences and associated scientific advancement with the overthrow of religion and traditional authority in favour of the development of free speech and thought. Broadly speaking, Enlightenment science greatly valued empiricism and rational thought, and was embedded with the Enlightenment ideal of advancement and progress."
Science replaces Church religion as the foundational source of reason for the structuring of society.
European culture goes from a religious based, feudal social order of Lords and serfs to one of internationally backed banking commerce and global enterprise. Church morality slowly gets replaced with relative tolerance for all sorts of diverse ideas and personality types. Governments are organized to further control social order.
The United States of America becomes an area of focus for industrial advances, backed by old world European investment, governmental regulation, and Wall Street financing. A growing upper middle class would become the new aristocracy of the American Industrial Age.
"Another important development was the popularization of science among an increasingly literate population"
"Philosophies introduced the public to many scientific theories, most notably through the Encyclopédie and the popularization of Newtonianism by Voltaire and Émilie du Châtelet."
"French historians traditionally place the Enlightenment between 1715, the year that Louis XIV died, and 1789, the beginning of the French Revolution. Some recent historians begin the period in the 1620s, with the start of the scientific revolution. Les philosophes (French for 'the philosophers') of the period widely circulated their ideas through meetings at scientific academies, Masonic lodges, literary salons, coffee houses, and printed books and pamphlets. The ideas of the Enlightenment undermined the authority of the monarchy and the Church, and paved the way for the political revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries. A variety of 19th-century movements, including liberalism and neo-classicism, trace their intellectual heritage back to the Enlightenment."
1543: Heliocentric Theory Appears In Published Form
"The word "helios" in Greek means "sun." Heliocentric means that the sun is at the center. A heliocentric system is one in which the planets revolve around a fixed sun. Thus Mercury, Venus, the Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn all revolve around the sun. The moon is the only celestial sphere in this system which revolves around the earth, and, together with it, around the sun."
"This theory was first proposed by Nicolaus Copernicus. Copernicus was a Polish astronomer. He first published the heliocentric system in his book: De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, "On the revolutions of the heavenly bodies," which appeared in 1543. Copernicus died the same year his book was published. After 1,400 years, Copernicus was the first to propose a theory which differed from Ptolemy's geocentric system, according to which the earth is at rest in the center with the rest of the planets revolving around it. The claim that all planets revolve around the sun had been raised in ancient times, but Copernicus was the first to succeed in describing the movements of the planets using an astronomical theory which placed the sun at the center."