Thursday, August 24, 2006

Schonborn strikes back!

The Dark Lord of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn--if you are to believe conspiracy theorists anyway--has engineered the removal of his nemesis, Jesuit Father George Coyne, as head of the Vatican Observatory, according to Religion News Service. Coyne, 73 and director since 1978, publicly took on Schonborn over the latter's New York Times op-ed piece supporting intelligent design (ID). Coyne responded in a brilliant Tablet (U.K.) piece and a talk at a Florida university supporting the scientific theory of evolution.

Of course, no one is acknowledging that Coyne's views had anything to do with the change--although some conservative sites are claiming the Vatican removed the "controversial" Coyne--but of interest is the fact that the August 19 announcement from Rome didn't even mention Coyne. His replacement, 43-year-old Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, also a Jesuit, holds a doctorate in astronomy and is an expert in stellar evolution (not the biological kind).

If there's some machination behind Coyne's dismissal, it'll come out. And if B16 was behind it, that doesn't bode well for Jesuits, as former America editor Tom Reese could well attest.


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