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Fr. George V. Coyne, S. J., Director of the Vatican Observatory from 1978 to 2006, writes that to appreciate the contribution which Georges Lemaître made to the relationship between religion and science it is necessary to understand how the Catholic Church passed from a position of conflict to one of compatible openness and dialogue; the natural sciences have played a significant role in helping to establish the kind of dialogue that is absolutely necessary for the enrichment of the multifaceted aspects of human culture.
A version of this essay appeared in Georges Lemaître: Life, Science and Legacy (Springer, 2012).