Cosmos and Popes. To the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight into space

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– (AFP or licensors)

“An imperceptible point subordinate to the cosmos – a man with his thought dominates over him. Who is a man? Who are we capable of such a thing?”

Olga Sakun – Vatican City

Today, the world is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first manned flight into space – a flight that Cardinal Ratzinger called in 2000 “a short walk outside the gates of the house.” The future Pope uttered these words in his report “The Most Holy Trinity: Source, Model and Purpose of the Church.” He referred to space travel in the context of his discourse on “the heavy sense of the absence of God that many are experiencing in our time.”

“The oldest of us,” said the card. Ratzinger March 13, 2000 – they still remember how the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, returning from his journey into space – the first in the history of mankind – said that he had not seen any God. It is clear even to the most inexperienced atheist that such a statement could not be a convincing argument against the existence of God. The fact that one cannot touch God with one’s hands or look at Him through a telescope, that He does not live on the Moon, or on Saturn, or on any other planet or stars, was known even before Gagarin. In addition, if we take into account the parameters of the Universe, then this flight into space, remaining an out of the ordinary event, can be considered only a short walk outside the gate of the house, and the knowledge that was obtained thanks to it is many times less than what we already had on based on our calculations and observations. “

Pope John XXIII at one time reacted to the news about the first flights of people into space with the following words: “Oh, how we would like these missions to become a tribute to the veneration of God the Creator and the supreme lawgiver!” Pope Roncalli expressed the hope that space exploration can become “a manifestation of genuine and peaceful progress on the solid foundation of human brotherhood.”

Pope Paul VI

Pope Paul VI

After the first human lunar landing in 1969, Pope Paul VI exclaimed: “What is the Universe, where is it from, how, why? We should think about a man, about his outstanding genius, about his daring courage, about his fantastic progress. An imperceptible point subordinate to the cosmos – a person with his thought dominates over him. Who is this man? Who are we capable of this? “

Addressing the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Pope John Paul II in 1984 also asked the question: “To whom does the cosmos belong?”: “I will not hesitate to answer: the cosmos belongs to all mankind.”

In 2011, a video communication session took place between the Pope and people in outer space. Twelve cosmonauts took part in the conversation with Benedict XVI. Humanity – the Pope said then – is experiencing an era of extremely rapid progress in the field of scientific knowledge and their technical application. “In a sense, you astronauts represent an experiment of the future, going beyond the limits in which we find ourselves in everyday life.” Speaking about space, the Pope stressed that people should be at the center of everything. “I contacted you,” the Holy Father explained, “because it was interesting for me to get acquainted with your experience and judgments.”

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On October 26, 2017, Pope Francis also spoke to the astronauts, calling them “representatives of the entire human family.”

Gagarin’s speech before the start

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