Pope speaks with crew on space station
Astronauts on the international space station gather for a conversation Saturday with Pope Benedict XVI.
May 21st, 2011
06:32 PM ET

Pope speaks with crew on space station

Pope Benedict XVI spoke Saturday with the astronauts aboard the international space station, specifically mentioning Cmdr. Mark Kelly's wife, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who is recuperating from recent surgery on her skull.

"I know that Mark and his wife were the victim of a serious attack, and I hope that her health continues to improve," the pope said.

Kelly thanked the pope for mentioning Giffords. The Arizona congresswoman was shot in the head in a January assassination attempt.

The two men also talked about how technology used in space may be able to help relations between people on Earth.

"I think it must be obvious to you how we all live together on one Earth, and how absurd it is that we fight and kill each one," the pontiff said.

"We fly over most of the world and we don't see borders, but at the same time we realize that people fight with each other and there is a lot of violence in this world," Kelly said.

Unlike on Earth, technology on the space station allows for almost unlimited power from the sun, he said.

"If these technologies could be adopted more on Earth, we could possibly reduce some of that violence," he said.

The space shuttle Endeavour launched Monday on a 16-day mission.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Faith & Health • Pope Benedict XVI

soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Mark from Middle River

    Being Gay in the African American community is just like in society. Until they shake the Jerry Springer types of Gays then they will continue to face an uphill battle.

    Basically, until they find more Will Trumans and less Jack McFarlands...then some of closed minds will continue to be closed.

    June 16, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  2. Mark from Middle River

    Hey JohnR. This article, just as a few other articles on the Belief Blog, is sorta all over the place.

    Now the writer, Bishop Pearson, had a choice on who to focus his “one shot” CNN blog glory on. In his choices, he had basically two. He could talk about the African American church and Rev Eddie Long who just settled out of court after declaring he was going to fight charges he had inappropriate relationships with a few young men in his congregation. All this after years of marching against the Gay community.

    Now Bishop Person could have chosen this story to detail how the African American churches have a continual issue with LGBT lifestyles. No, instead he chooses to write with Tracy Morgan... who is not a member of the clergy, as his focus.

    W.T.Flip Wilson. 🙂

    So we need to address a comedian, alone a comedian that some would say caters more towards white audiences than African American ones...when dealing with being Gay and Christian. How did another CNN Prothero type of writer once again get to the editor that publishes this Blog. An author that finds more focus in a comedian than a pastor?

    June 16, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  3. Muneef

    They said;

    The Pope Has All  Power in Heaven and Earth and Can Change Divine Laws
         "The Pope is of great authority and power, that he is able to modify, declare, or interpret even divine laws. The Pope can modify divine law, since his power is not of man, but of God, and he acts as vicegerent of God upon earth...".

    They said;

    "The Pope takes the place of Jesus Christ on earth...by divine right the Pope has supreme and full power in faith, in morals over each and every pastor and his flock. He is the true vicar, the head of the entire church, the father and teacher of all Christians.

    The Quran said; 
    [3:79] Never would a human being whom GOD blessed with the scripture and prophethood say to the people, "Idolize me beside GOD." Instead, (he would say), "Devote yourselves absolutely to your Lord alone," according to the scripture you preach and the teachings you learn.

    [3:80] Nor would he command you to idolize the angels and the prophets as lords. Would he exhort you to disbelieve after becoming submitters?

    [9:31] They have set up their religious leaders and scholars as lords, instead of GOD. Others deified the Messiah, son of Mary. They were all commanded to worship only one god. There is no god except He. Be He glorified, high above having any partners.

    [3:64] Say, "O followers of the scripture, let us come to a logical agreement between us and you: that we shall not worship except GOD; that we never set up any idols besides Him, nor set up any human beings as lords beside GOD." If they turn away, say, "Bear witness that we are submitters."

    May 25, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • Muneef

      Special Warning to the Leaders
      [19:68] By your Lord, we will certainly summon them, together with the devils, and will gather them around Hell, humiliated.

      [19:69] Then we will pick out from each group the most ardent opponent of the Most Gracious.

      [19:70] We know full well those who are most deserving of burning therein.

      Everyone Sees Hell*
      [19:71] Every single one of you must see it; this is an irrevocable decision of your Lord.

      [19:72] Then we rescue the righteous, and leave the transgressors in it, humiliated.

      May 25, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  4. Frogist

    These last two flights of the shuttle program have really become a media magnet. They have been doing interviews with a diverse crowd. NPR, Fox News, AP etc And yesterday they had a conference with some elementary kids from Arizona. The Italian President called up to speak with ESA Italian astronauts Nespoli and Vittori. And now the Pope! It is heartening to have so many people be so inspired by these missions. It shows that science and discovery are not just for some specialized geek crowd. But that everyone can see beauty in the scientific exploration of our world. It also shows that science and faith need not be rivals.
    They are doing some historic things up there esp on this flight with the AMS.
    As Astro Mike Fincke said, "The International Space Station is just one symbol, one example of what human beings can do when we work together constructively."
    Fly safe, Endeavour. We will miss you.

    May 24, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Reality

      Ditto those comments with the added note that B16 needs to spend more time addressing the flawed history and theology of his religion and less on PR.

      May 24, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • John

      Reality, please explain what the flawed theology of the Catholic Church is?

      May 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  5. Reality

    From the topic:

    "The two men also talked about how technology used in space may be able to help relations between people on Earth."

    Using said technology to help us Earthlings:

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity by the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" will converge these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

    May 24, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  6. Josh

    Did the Pope really speak to them in English?

    May 23, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Armando

      The Pope is fluent in German, Italian, French, English, Spanish and Latin.

      May 24, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Frogist

      @Josh: I believe he had a prepared statement in English and then asked questions in Italian. Apparently he was amused by the lack of gravity when one of the astronauts started to float away by the end of the interview.

      May 25, 2011 at 8:19 am |
  7. CatS

    I can hear it now, "... Um, no, sorry Your Grace. It's STILL ROUND..." 😉

    May 22, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • Sarah Palin's Shocking Bikini Wax Disaster


      It's an oblate spheroid.

      May 23, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  8. zoundsman

    Hair on the astronaut on the left-cooool!

    May 22, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • Frogist

      That's Cady Coleman. She came home on the Soyuz capsule yesterday. This might be the only pic I've ever seen of her without a huge smile on her face.

      May 24, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  9. CatholicMom

    It is said that men are far more obsessed with hair than women are….I see men certainly are the ones commenting on ‘the hair’ here…what might be the ‘science’ concerning this phenomenon?

    May 22, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Britney Spears loses a Debate with a Chicken

      Bad hair is God's will. Science is a fraud created by atheists anti-Christs to test the faith of the true believers, therefore there cannot be science in that hair ball.

      May 22, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Bippy, The Lesser Squirrel God of Rapped Polka

      No, my blessed pop-tart defeating chicken friend, bad hair is not God's fault. God delegated bad hair to Whammo, the Alliteratively Amazing Wonder-Wallaby Demi-God of Burnt Waffles. You see, Whammo felt God was passing him over for promotions and complained, so of course God smote him most lovingly with a tire iron for a few centuries before allowing Whammo to do bad hair as well.

      May 22, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • zoundsman

      I don't know the science, but it speaks of health, pizazz, ... I like it, and it may start a trend.

      May 22, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • mdblanche

      I think Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein might have some ideas about the science behind her hair.

      May 22, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • CatS

      Oh! Oh! We need to send up one of those little dogs with the really long hair! The static electricity in the hair causes each hair to repel it's neighbors. With gravity, you just get nice bouncy curls. Without gravity – POOF! She could braid it, but you have to admit, it's a pretty cool bit of science!

      May 22, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • DaLe

      Hey, non/little-gravity hair styles, clothing, dancing and sports could be popular, in the future. Re hair styles, I guess long hair with some static electricity or magnets could also create dynamic/changing hair styles somehow (aside from hair movement by air, water and/or other motion, something which should also be possible on Earth since strains of hair don't weigh much (albeit eg. little magnets tied with strains of hair might). So or so, since likely an over-head device would be needed (meaning that dynamic hair style probably wouldn't be possible when walking unless it would be also some kind of hat), there could also be light effects with that.

      May 23, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Frogist

      @CatholicMom: The science of why hair does that in space is the effect of microgravity or a very small amount of gravity. That means things float on their own cuz there's no force holding them down. Microgravity also causes a number of interesting effects:
      As for why men are more obsessed with the hair thing... I think they're just jealous! LOL!

      May 25, 2011 at 8:38 am |
  10. John Richardson

    The pope should have read the text of the church's condemnation of Galileo for believing things that made things like space flight eventually possible.

    May 22, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Adelina

      Science developed only in Christiandom. Atheists destroyed the most brilliant humans.

      May 22, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Science developed as humanists both within and outside the church put a short leash and muzzle on the church.

      May 22, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Adelina

      @ John: Science of interpretation of the Bible made Westerners be able to develop scientific thinking. No other major factor.

      May 22, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • JohnR

      @Adelina – Stop lying. The church has fought science incessantly and we're lucky that science has prevailed.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • civiloutside

      Adelina, I'm very sorry to say that whomever is teaching you history has failed you very badly.

      May 23, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Friend

      History is revised every minute. Science proved the Bible is right on everything.

      May 24, 2011 at 2:35 am |
    • civiloutside

      "Science proved the Bible is right on everything."

      Everything except the nature of the sun, moon, and stars, the value of pi, the shape of the earth...

      May 24, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • Friend

      Civiloutside, where is such text? It's just the possible age of universe you will have a trouble with. In that case, take the word "day" in Genesis as something longer than 24 hours, if you wish.

      May 24, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The bible is not correct on everything.
      Case in point:
      "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field; which indeed is smaller than all seeds. But when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches."
      – Matthew 13:31–32

      Even at the time that the Bible was written, the mustard seed was NOT the smallest seed known.
      Mustard plants are not huge, mighty trees.
      Birds do not nest in mustard plants.

      I have flashes of Holly, the computer on Red Dwarf when he said:
      "I'm completely infullible"
      "You mean 'infallible'"

      May 24, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Ed

      @John Richardson, when are you going to stop complaining about something that happen several hundred years ago. we know the church told Galileo to change his statements, but everyone involved is long dead get over it already.

      @Doc, sorry Christ wasn't a botanist I think he was making the point that just because something seems insignificant does mean it really is. That would be a analogy.

      May 24, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • civiloutside

      Nature of sun, moon, and stars: Genesis 1:1 through 19. We see clearly that the sun, moon, and stars are younger than the earth – younger, even, than life on earth since they are all made on Day 4 while the plants were made on Day 3. Three cycles of day and night pass completely without there being a sun at all. We are told that the moon is a light. We are also told that there is light, but there are no sources of light.

      Science tells us that the sun is significantly older than the earth, as are vast numbers of stars. Day and night are defined by which parts of the earth face the sun, which is the source of daylight. The moon produces no light, but merely reflects the sun. Science does not "prove the Bible right" in this matter.

      Value of pi: 1 Kings 7:23-26 describes a circular bowl 10 cubits in diameter and 30 cubits around. These are presented as the measurements taken from the bowl. Even the crudest measuring devices would have arrived at 31 and change for the circu-mference. Science doesn't "prove the Bible right" in this instance either.

      Shape of the earth: Many verses say or imply that the earth is a flat circle (eg Isaiah 40:22 et al). Science tells us that it's a spheroid. Science doesn't "prove the Bible right" here, either.

      "In that case, take the word "day" in Genesis as something longer than 24 hours, if you wish."

      In saying this, you're essentially saying that we're allowed to interpret the Bible metaphorically. That's fine – a lot of people do. But then, you can't claim that science "proves the Bible right," because a metaphor cannot be proven to be right or wrong. It can be good or bad, depending on its ability to convey meaning and/or artistic value, but it cannot be proven right or wrong. If Biblical descriptions of the structure of the world we see are metaphorical, then they have nothing whatsoever to tell us about science. Although that brings up the question of, if even its descriptions of concrete reality are metaphorical, can we really trust that its supernatural claims are not *also* metaphorical?

      May 24, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Adelina

      @Doc-V-, it was the smallest seed that human farmers used at that time there and it could grow into ten feet. Jesus was correct. Read the text closely again.

      May 25, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Adelina

      @Civiloutside: The Genesis account is given from Earth's viewpoint. The first three days are on something basic and formation of the planetary nature and the 4th day could relate to the visibility of the universe from the Earth, and the first mention of the Light is not the sun. It was in broader, cosmic, spiritual significance. We know it from other passages of the Bible. The creation account is not only recorded in Genesis 1. The 1st-3rd days are days of forming and the 4th-6th days are days of filling, so there are some orders here. Science is still discovering what the Bible has said.

      May 25, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Adelina

      @Civiloutside: The "sea" in 1 Kings 7 is a water holer Solomon made for the temple of God, not the real sea. Atheists have no hope of obtaining knowledge as long as they cling to the trash list in the anti-God ignorants' books, you know. Civil-, there are systematic rules and methods to interpret the Bible properly just as any other literature does in order to scientifically get the author's intended meaning. The Hebrew word "day" can mean unspecified time period as well as Earth's anyplace's daytime, and the length of "day" in Genesis 1 is considered as one of non-essential doctrines.

      May 25, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Adelina

      @Civiloutside, the Bible uses round numbers time to time as all of us do. If exact number should be used in that particular case, no book that contains such calculation can ever be completed. Using round numbers are normal thing to do. (I initially mixed your point with some other's. Sorry.)

      May 25, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • civiloutside

      No problem on the mixup – it can get confusing trying to keep up with what post is where around here. I'd find it interesting to see what post you were responding to, though. I didn't realize that anyone thought the bronze container in 1 Kings was a literal sea.

      As to the round number, that's all well and good. As an engineer, I round numbers all the time. But the number is presented in the text as an actual measurement, not as an approximation. And dropping almost a cubit and a half over a thirty cubit measurement is miserable accuracy even with the measuring tools available at the time. Plus, since knowing the diameter of a circle means you automatically know the circu-mference, it's a wholly unnecessary measurement that does nothing but mislead the reader and/or demonstrate the author's ignorance of geometry.

      An interesting interpretation of the creation myth there. I'm not sure that the breakup of three days of forming followed by three days if filling really holds up – the plants were created on day 3 after all, and there isn't a functional difference between making them and making the animals during the "filling" days. I don't find the "from the earth's perspective" argument terribly convincing. After all, the creation all took place before man was formed. So none of it was witnessed from the perspective of someone on the earth. The only witness was god himself, who of course knew exactly what was really occurring, and men could only have gotten the story from god. There is absolutely no reason for them the receive the story "from the perspective of the earth" rather than from a more accurate perspective. Furthermore, literal reading of the text does not say that the lights in the sky became visible on the fourth day, it says that god created them and placed them in the sky on that day. So what you're saying is that the text is factually incorrect, but we should believe it anyway by convincing ourselves that as-sumptions that the text does not make, and that are not logically supportable in the context, are nonetheless true. So either the text was supplied by a god who misled the author about the structure of the universe, or supplied by a man who was ignorant of that structure.

      May 25, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  11. CatholicMom

    It is not unusual for the Pope’s voice to be heard on earth and in heaven!

    May 22, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  12. Adelina

    It must have been very nice to hear the voice of Pope out in the space, viewing the blue home planet...

    May 22, 2011 at 9:26 am |
  13. Adelina

    Pope comforts mankind, the human souls, with his piety and his godly words filled with goodness and wisdom.

    May 22, 2011 at 8:02 am |
  14. John Richardson

    Sorry, but the woman in the picture – her hair is the stuff of nightmares!

    May 22, 2011 at 7:59 am |
  15. Alvin Sklunkmeyer, Assistant Accountant from beyond the 27th Dimension

    Quite true, Ace, and it really is sad for the Catholic Church that the scandal happened. When you consider the report they spent millions on proved that it wasn't their fault at all, you realize like they did that the 60s hippyness that was wafting around in the air infected them with a plague of pedophilia that their report says was not done by pedophiles. Certainly very believable, and not a white-wash at all.

    May 22, 2011 at 6:16 am |
    • John Richardson


      May 22, 2011 at 7:59 am |
  16. HotAirAce

    Anyone else think this just another stunt by the current pope-a-dope to distract folks from the rcc's continuing priestly pedophile problem?

    May 22, 2011 at 1:34 am |
    • John

      Pedophilia in any group is a problem, but statistically speaking, the rate of pedophilia within the Catholic clergy is on the order of 0.1% (1 for every 1000 priests). This seems like a large frequency; however, the rate of pedophilia in the general population is something on the order of 1 to 3% (1 to 3 per hundred), a ten-fold difference. The number of pedophiles within primary education is around 0.5-1%, again much higher than that of the clergy. So statistically speaking its much safer to let your kids stay with a priest, than with a teacher or even your own family.

      I don't defend the actions taken by the Church in covering up what happened, but pretending that the problem is somehow worse in the Church than the rest of the population is just wrong. Please get your facts straight.

      May 25, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  17. David Johnson

    Hello! Hello? This is the Pope! LOL, LOL 'tll my sides ache!


    May 21, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
  18. Alvin Sklunkmeyer, Assistant Accountant from beyond the 27th Dimension

    Check out the woman astronaut's hair – Houston, we have a problem. Or a new hair style: The Space Afro.

    May 21, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Wasn't an Afro popular in the 60's – the era that caused rcc charlatans to abuse children?

      May 22, 2011 at 1:36 am |
  19. Brittney Spear's Guide to Chemically Enhanced Sanity

    Nice media who-re moment for Popey.

    May 21, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • CatS

      It's 'Popi'

      May 22, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
    • God is Short on Cash Again

      It's actually "Dopey".

      May 23, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  20. frank

    The whole concept of a guy floating in planetary orbit on a space ship talking to the head witch doctor sitting way down there on his little throne is both hilarious and profoundly sad.

    May 21, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.