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Pope Blesses Astronauts In Space

May 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Persecution, Vatican City, World

Pope Blesses Astronauts In 1st Papal Call To Space

Pope Blesses Astronauts In 1st Papal Call To Space

In a first ever papal call to space, Pope Benedict XVI blessed 12 astronauts circling the earth. “The space fliers are our representatives spearheading humanity’s exploration of new spaces and possibilities for our future,” the pope said on April 21 while sitting before a television set tuned to NASA’s live broadcast from orbit. The pontiff said he admired their courage, discipline and commitment.

The pope addressed the crews of the linked space shuttle Endeavour and International Space Station from the Vatican, making special mention of the U.S. commander’s wounded congresswoman wife and the recently deceased mother of one of the two Italian astronauts on board.

The historic communication – “extraordinary” in the pope’s words – took place just a couple of hours after the shuttle astronauts finished inspecting a small gash in Endeavour’s belly to ensure their safety when returning to Earth. It is the next-to-last flight in NASA’s 30-year shuttle programme.

“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. The pope also asked the astronauts about the future of the planet and the environmental risks it faces, and wanted to know what their most important message would be for young people when they return home.

The conversation between the pope and the astronauts lasted for 18 minutes. The long-distance papal audience was arranged by the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. NASA provided technical support from Mission Control in Houston.

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