Online This Week: The Vatican's Astronomer and Videos from the Holy Land

A few notable online items this week:

First, an interview with George Coyne, S.J., of the Vatican Observatory. Fr. Coyne explains how the Vatican became involved in astronomy and responds to Stephen Hawking's recent statements on the origins of the universe (see minute 15:40).


Kevin Clarke, recently returned from the Holy Land, has filed two reports on the status of Christians in the Middle East. The first, a video interview with Steven Barhoum, the vicar of the Church of the Holy Family outside of Nazareth, can be found here. Below is a narrated slideshow of his trip.


Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
8 years 3 months ago
I was at Mass at a neighboring parish on Sunday and a representative of a  group of wood carving Christians in Bethlehem was there selling some very nice olive wood religious items.  There were many creches, Last Supper carvings, statue, crucifixes and rosaries.  They were all hand carved in Bethlehem.  Each year they make the rounds of parishes in the New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania area selling these very attractive wood works.
The head of the group said that Christians were disappearing in the Holy Land.  Bethlehem supposedly had 80% Christians 25 to 30 years ago is now down to 13% Christians and the number in Palestine and Israel was just 1%.  
The wood carvers used to do a great business with tourist to Bethlehem but this has pretty much disappeared in the last 20 years as conflict has shut down tourism to a great extent.  

8 years 3 months ago
This post is going off the page which means it is going to oblivion but before it does, I recommend that everyone click the link to the interview  with Fr. Coyne.  It is a delightful interview and goes over the history of the Vatican Observatory which is mainly in Arizona.  The Vatican Observatory is not a Jesuit project but is mainly staffed by Jesuits.

He also spends a couple minutes on the Stephen Hawkins book which he says is old news.  


The latest from america

Women served as deacons in Europe for about a millennium in a variety of ministerial and sacramental roles.
Brandon SanchezJanuary 15, 2019
In preparation for the gathering in Abu Dhabi, I find myself asking why my conversations with the future Pope Francis so powerfully affected both of us.
Abraham SkorkaJanuary 15, 2019
Photo: iStock
Included on the list is John T. Ryan, S.J., who from 1989 to 1994 was an associate editor for development at America.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 15, 2019
Did you ever wonder why Jesus was baptized? What sins did Jesus have to repent of? Nothing.
James Martin, S.J.January 14, 2019