VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Argentine Jesuit Father Jose Funes, 43, to be the new director of the Vatican Observatory. The astronomer, an expert on disk galaxies, has served as a staff astronomer at the Vatican Observatory since 2000. Father Funes succeeds U.S. Jesuit Father George V. Coyne, 73, who had served as director since 1978.

教皇ベネディクト16世はバチカン観測所の新所長にアルゼンチンのJose Funes神父43歳を指名した。円盤銀河の専門家である天文学者は2000年よりバチカン観測所の天文学者をつとめていた。Jose Funes神父は、1978年から所長をつとめていたGeorge V. Coyne神父72歳の後任である。
Father Funes, the new director, was born in Cordoba, Argentina, in 1963 and earned a master's degree in astronomy from the National University of Cordoba in 1985. He entered the Society of Jesus the same year, earning a degree in philosophy in Argentina before being sent to Rome for theological studies. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1995.

新所長であるFunes神父は1963年にアリゼンチンのコルドバ生まれ、1985年にNational University of Cordobaで天文学の修士を取得。同年、Society of Jesusに入り、アルゼンチンで哲学の学位を取得し、Rome for theological studiesへ派遣。1995年に聖職を得た。

Father Coyne was on vacation and could not be reached for comment. However, Father James Bowes, superior of the Jesuit community in Tucson, said Father Coyne would remain on the observatory staff. In a memo on the Tucson diocesan Web site Aug. 21, Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas said that Father Coyne was beginning a year's sabbatical.

Coyne神父は休暇中でコメントが得られなかったが、TucsonのJesuit communityのJames Bowes神父によれば、Coyne神父は観測所スタッフにはとどまる。2006年8月21日付のTucson diocesan web siteのメモによれば、Gerald F. Kicanas司教が、Coyne神父は1年間のサバティカルに入ると言った。

Catholic News ServiceのJohn Thavisによる 2006年8月24日付けの記事 「Vatican Observatory's new director discusses faith, science, planets」が、バチカン観測所長を退任するCoyne神父の後任であるJose Funes神父が「it's important to distinguish between the scientific study of natural causes and the religious beliefs of faith(自然の原因の科学的研究と信仰との区別が重要である)」という発言を報じた。

Father Funes dismissed speculation that Father Coyne had been forced out of the job because of his strong comments in support of evolution and criticism of the "intelligent design" movement.


"It's simply not true that this was the reason he left," Father Funes said. He said the appointment was a natural development after Father Coyne's long tenure and one of many personnel changes being made at the Vatican under the new pope.

He said Father Coyne would remain as head of the Vatican Observatory Foundation, which raises funds for the Vatican's Mount Graham International Observatory in Arizona. The Arizona research facility relies on donors and is always looking for more of them, Father Funes said.

Funes神父は「Coyne神父は、アリゾナにあるバチカンのMount Graham International Observatoryの資金を確保するためのバチカン観測所財団の長として留任する。アリゾナの研究施設は資金提供者に依存しており、常に新たな資金提供者をさがしている」と言った。

As for his own views on evolution, Father Funes emphasized that he was an astronomer specializing in galaxies, not a biologist, and so did not plan to make statements about Darwinism and intelligent design.


Father Funes' specific field is nearby galaxies, which he described as galaxies "only" 50 million or so light years from Earth. It's part of an exciting area of astronomy, he said.


The discoveries about the universe certainly raise the possibility of life on other planets, he said. "Even in our own galaxy, the Milky Way, we have 100 billion stars. It's possible some stars have planets similar to Earth, and that life could develop, could evolve -- it's OK with me to use the word 'evolution,'" he said.


The idea of discovering intelligent life elsewhere in the universe does not trouble Father Funes from a faith perspective.


"I don't see that this would pose a problem to theology or to our faith, because these creatures, or beings, or 'ETs' if you want, could also be creatures of God," he said. "It would fit perfectly, I would say, in the scheme of creation," he said.


このあたりは、インテリジェントデザイン運動の宇宙版が主張するタイプの"ファインチューニング論"と相反する主張であり、Coyne: The Dance of the Fertile Universe(肥沃な宇宙と踊る)と変わらぬ主張である。

  • バチカン観測所George V. Coyne所長(73歳)が退任するが、観測所にはとどまる
  • George V. Coyne神父は1年間のサバティカルに入る
  • George V. Coyne神父は休暇中でコメントがとれなかった
  • インテリジェントデザインな"teach controversy"にシンパシーを示し
  • (超自然の説明に持ち出さず、超越的神の存在を取り扱い対象外とする方法論的自然主義ではなく)神様は存在しないとする形而上学的自然主義を批判し
  • 反進化論を唱えず
  • 創造科学を教会は支持しない
  • 批判すべきは経済学と結合した観念論的ダーウィニズム
とあわせて見ても、Discovery InstituteのBruce Chapman所長の言うインテリジェントデザイン絡みの解任という説を裏付けるとは考えにくい。

なおイタリアの新聞ansa.itの 2006年8月24日付けの記事 によれば
Coyne, who is undergoing chemotherapy for colon cancer, has been forced to quit because of the pressures of work at a prestigious astronomy lab that has offshoots all over the world, including Arizona in the US .


Shortly before filing his retirement request this month, the stargazer penned an article for the authoritative science monthly Newton in which he said "God isn't a designer and life is the fruit of billions of attempts" .


The Vatican has denied a report in the London-based Daily Mail that the ailing prelate was "removed" because he had "irritated" the pope .