HOPKINSVILLE, KY (WAVE) - As people from all around the world descend upon Hopkinsville, Chief Vatican Science Observer, Brother Guy Consolmagno, hoped to show them that science and faith are not mutually exclusive.
He spoke to a packed house at Saint Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Hopkinsville on Sunday evening.Consolmagno was invited to Hopkinsville from the Vatican for Kentucky's Darkest Day by the church's preacher to view the total solar eclipse. He said he saw the event as a chance to praise not only the creator but his creation.
"There's never going to be a shortage of marvels to discover, surprises for us to experience and never a shortage of ways we can come to know the Creator by seeing the things that He has created," Consolmagno said.
The Catholic Church has long been intertwined with science. Physicists, chemists and even geologists have considered themselves as men of God and devout Catholics, according to Consolmagno.
"If you actually look at your history, there's about a 1,000 years of the church supporting science.The church invented the universities where science started … Roger Bacon, the father of chemistry, was another monk. Gregor Mendel, more recently, the fella who invented genetics was a monk," Consolmagno explained.
Consolmagno said it's important to the Church that parishioners know that they support science. He said that to him, the eclipse shows two important traits that he sees in God's creation: it is rational and predictable while being beautiful and filling the human soul with joy.
"As a scientist, I glory in both the rationality and the beauty and the joy. It's the beauty and the joy and the fun that I get doing the science that keeps me doing science day after day," Consolmagno said.
While society may place science and religion on opposing fronts, Consolmagno believes that, together, both explain our universe.
"Science isn't a big book of facts, science is a book of questions. It's a book of how do we understand what's going on and our explanation will never be perfect. At the same time, religion isn't a book of answers. It's a book of here's how we experience God. My religion tells me who's responsible for the universe, my science tells me how he did it," Consolmagno said.
Consolmagno's faith has not been shaken by science. To him, the viewing experience is a spiritual one with no viewing location being more "holy" than another.
"Science is an act of worship," Consolmagno said with a smile.
To those who don't think the church should pay for science, Consolmagno said: "We don't live by bread alone."
While many Christians have voiced concerns that the eclipse is a sign of the end of days, Consolmagno believes that those who are worried "haven't read their Bible."
And to the others who are worried about any cosmic disasters and aliens, Consolmagno only had a few words: "Quit smoking and wear your seatbelts because those are more likely to kill you."