TUCSON, Ariz. (CNS) -- The Vatican supports the work of astronomers to learn "what is true" and "to show this truth is not opposed to the truth of our faith," said Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo. The cardinal, who has direct responsibility for the Vatican Observatory as president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, made the comments during a visit to Tucson.
The Vatican Observatory, which traces its beginning to 1578 and is located at the papal summer villa in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, opened a dependent research center in Tucson in the 1980s, and in 1993 inaugurated the 1.8-meter advanced technology telescope on Mount Graham.
The staff of the observatory, headed by Argentine Jesuit Father Jose Funes, divides its time between facilities at the papal villa and the University of Arizona in Tucson. A tour of the Mount Graham site was "the high point of my visit," Cardinal Lajolo said. "It's one of the best in the world."