Why is the Vatican interested in astronomy?

Initially it was for a practical reason, to reform the Julian Calendar, like so many national observatories that were started, e.g., to improve navigation at sea; later at the establishment of the present form of the Vatican Observatory in 1891, for an apologetic purpose, in the sense of defending the Catholic Church's positive regard for science; now to join in doing good science in a way that is possible, given the Vatican's other concerns, as part of the consequence that the Incarnation of Christ applies to all human activity.

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Vatican Observatory
00040 Castel Gandolfo

Vatican Observatory Research Group
Steward Observatory
University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona 85721 USA