Address to the Plenary Session and to the Study Week on the Subject ‘The Problem of Stellar Populations’ – Pope Pius XII

  • Article
  • 2300 words
  • Level: all audiences

An address by Pope Pius XII at a 1957 Astronomical Conference in Vatican City: “The Problem of Stellar Populations”.  The conference was attended by scientists including W. Baade, W. A. Fowler, G. H. Herbig, A. R. Sandage, M. Schwarzschild, and L. Spitzer.  The pope discusses one of Baade’s papers, and comments on the contributions that Vatican Observatory can make to the field.  From the abstract of the address:

The Supreme Pontiff surveys the state of scientific research into the ‘starry firmament’, whose immensity and order speaks to humanity of the ‘power and wisdom of its Author’. He stresses that such inquiry implies a search for higher truths and observes that advance in this area, as in others, must be linked to higher aspirations: ‘since the moral universe transcends the physical world, every gain made by science is on a plane lower than that of man’s personal destiny’. The scientist, therefore, must also turn to the ‘acquisition of spiritual values, of justice and of charity’.

Click here for the papal address, courtesy of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Click here to download a PDF of the address.