Archbishop Lists Science Among Modern Sins

Genetic experimentation has been named one of the “new forms of social sin” by Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti, a high-ranking Vatican official. Girotto, who also included environmental pollution on his list, didn’t just focus on science; he also included drug abuse and the hoarding of wealth as “new sins” in his interview with the Vatican City newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. The interview has been widely reported as establishing a list of seven modern deadly sins, but members of the Catholic Church have called this media sensationalism, saying instead that the list outlines a series of new responsibilities. —Dan Messier


Galileo Gets Statue in the Vatican

Seeking to fully redeem the legacy and image of Galileo, the Vatican will erect a statue in the astronomer’s honor within the Vatican gardens. The statue will stand near the apartment where Galileo lived while awaiting trial on the charge of heresy, brought against him by the Catholic Church. During the 1633 trial, Galileo was forced by the Inquisition to recant his scientific view of heliocentrism, the idea that the Earth revolves around the sun. Now, in the lead-up to the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s telescope next year, the Vatican is seeking to make amends, not only with the statue, but also with a conference on the scientist and a review of his case at an institute in Florence. —Stephen Mapes


Vatican Studies Embryos

In an attempt to add its own voice to current bioethical debate, the Vatican is holding a conference on the origin and development of the human embryo from November 15 to 17 at Vatican City. The conference is being organized as part of Science, Theology and the Ontological Quest, a program designed to address the historical misunderstandings between science and religion. Organizers insist that the conference is intended to stimulate respect between the two sides and not necessarily a changing of beliefs. —Stephen Mapes

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