Is there any theological motivation in the search for life beyond earth? Or is this just the academic bent of our Jesuit pope being felt early in his papacy? Is it a terrible pursuit of heresy or worse, the work of the Devil? Or is the Vatican searching for some greater inspiration for humanity?
The last time the Vatican was moved to pursue a momentous astronomical discovery was in 1580 to reform the Julian calendar. It was known that the equinoxes and solstices had drifted some distance off from true, and Pope Gregory XIII sought a reform to respect the traditional Easter celebration date as set by the Council of Nicaea in 325. The Gregorian Tower was ordered erected in the Holy See and stocked with the finest instruments of the day. Jesuit astronomers were able to refine the length of the year from 365.25 days to 365.2425 days (a reduction of about 10 minutes and 48 seconds per annum or <0.002%). To compensate for the calculated discrepancy, a Papal Bull decreed that all calendars would skip 10 days. The day of Thursday Oct 4th 1582 on the Julian calendar was immediately followed by the day of Friday Oct 15th 1582 on the new Gregorian calendar, and Easter has been when it’s supposed to be ever since.However, does the pursuit of the discovery of extraterrestrial life have a practical end such as that for calendar reform?… Read the rest