Monday, September 11, 2006


Heavens Above

The Catholic News Service is reporting a statement by Father George Coyne to the effect that he was not fired by Pope Benedict from his job as the head of the Vatican Observatory, a post Father Coyne had held for more than 28 years.

Saying he had been on vacation until recently and purposefully avoiding the news, Father Coyne said that he had only just learned of media reports that he was dismissed by the pope but insisted they are "simply not true."

For some years I have, upon realizing that a scientific research institute such as ours requires a continuous input of new initiatives, suggested to Jesuit superiors that they search for a new director of this work. In May of this year upon my repeated request, they finally agreed to begin a search for a new director, resulting, rather rapidly to my delight, in the appointment of [Father] Jose Funes.

Father Coyne, who will remain president of the Vatican Observatory Foundation, praised his replacement and said he will be returning to the Observatory in a year, after he takes a sabbatical year as a parish priest.

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