The Pope’s stargazer is to visit Scotland for a week to attend events aimed at exploring the evidence for God’s existence.
Brother Guy Consolmagno, an American research astronomer and director of the Vatican Observatory, has accepted an invitation from interdenominational Grasping the Nettle (GTN).
GTN is backed by Scottish church leaders and promotes dialogue on how faith and science can work together.
Brother Consolmagno, a Jesuit religious brother, a theologian and an acclaimed orator, said: “I am thrilled to be coming to Scotland to participate in the ‘Grasping the Nettle’ programme.
It’s so important to dialogue with students and the general public, of all faiths and sciences, how faith enhances our science and science our faith. Both seek truth, and find it in joy.”
Brother Consolmagno added: “The claim that somehow a scientist must be atheist is a holdover from the Victorian idea of materialism. But consider the 19th century physicist James Clerk Maxwell, whose famous equations led to the overthrow of that misconception and opened the door to modern physics.
"He was a man of deep faith; and, of course, a Scotsman. I am honoured to visit the land of his birth.”
His tour will include talks and attending school conferences.
Very Rev John Chalmers, former Church of Scotland Moderator and Ambassador at Large for GTN, said: “Those of us who are a part of GTN believe the search for God is not incompatible with holding a deep respect for science and its success in helping us to understand our place in the physical universe.
"We are searching for meaning and purpose and, as well as exploring our inner space, we find inspiration in outer space.”