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Astronomer urges informed dialogue between science, religion

There can be no productive dialogue between science and religion if either side is dominated by ignorance, according to the director of the Vatican Observatory.

The revelation came to Jesuit Fr George V. Coyne while studying the Galileo affair as part of a Vatican-appointed commission in 1988.

"I think the church should learn, from the Galileo case and from other circumstances, that listening is as important as speaking. That is, hearing what scientists are really doing is as important as the church speaking out on many issues," he told The Valley Catholic, newspaper of the Diocese of San Jose.

Fr Coyne said the church's initial response to Galileo demonstrated that it was largely ignorant of Scripture and science.

The newspaper's interview with Fr Coyne is available on its website.