Pontiff Says People Aren't Governed by the Stars

Reiterates Galileo's Thought on Cosmos

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 7, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The universe is not governed by a blind force, but by love, and people are not slaves to the cosmos, Benedict XVI says.



The Pope affirmed this Tuesday during a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica that celebrated the magi of the east, who arrived to Bethlehem following a star. During his homily he spoke of Galileo's idea that love governs the cosmos.

The Holy Father noted that 2009 marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first observations by telescope. This anniversary motivated UNESCO to proclaim '09 an International Year of Astronomy.

The Pontiff spoke of a "new flourishing" in this field of science, "thanks to the passion and the faith of many scientists, who following the steps of Galileo, renounce neither reason nor faith. What's more, they deeply value both, in their reciprocal fruitfulness."

Benedict XVI explained that "Christian thought compares the cosmos to a 'book,' -- Galileo himself said this -- considering it as a work of an Author."

According to this book, he said, "divine love, incarnated in Christ is the fundamental and universal law of creation. This should not be understood in a poetic, but in a real sense."

Dante also understood it this way, the Pope said, noting how the author concludes "Paradise" with a definition of God as "the love that moves the sun and the other stars."

"This means that the stars, the planets [and] the entire universe are not governed by a blind force, [and] do not obey only the dynamics of matter," he said. "Therefore, cosmic elements shouldn't be divinized, but on the contrary, in everything and above everything, there is a personal will, the Spirit of God, who in Christ revealed himself as love."

Hence, the Bishop of Rome affirmed, people are not slaves of cosmic elements, "but are free, that is, they are capable of relating themselves with the creative liberty of God."

"He is at the origin of everything and governs everything," the Pope said, "not as a cold or anonymous motor, but as a Father, Spouse, Friend, Brother, as Logos, 'Word-Reason,' who has united himself to our mortal flesh once and for all and has fully shared our condition, manifesting the superabundant power of his grace."