Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Vatican Names New Telescope "Lucifer"!

That title sure catches your attention doesn't it? It did mine. I found this information on facebook. The latest breeding ground for anti-Catholic hate speech. Lately I have been spending a fair amount of time in this dark world of fb attempting to dispel the myths and false accusations against the Church. One of the pages I frequented until they banned me was called "Catholics Are Not Christians" and "Catholicism is a Cult." That's where this title is from.

These two fb groups are created by a fundamentalist businessman from Alpharetta, Georgia and his two sons. He was unwise enough to use his full name on the page and a few clicks on Google revealed his "off-line" business and location. To say they are anti-Catholic would be a gross understatement. I have yet to see this degree of vitriol and vile spewed out against the bride of Christ. They uses images of the KKK and Nazi Germany in an attempt to foment hatred towards the Church. They also circulate 100 year old "stories" that have been published in this country in the 1800-1900's in many newspapers, that were fabrications aimed at demeaning the Church. The story of Maria Monk is one and Chalotte Heckler another. Both proven many times over as complete fabrications.

   One of the latest rumors that this businessman  is circulating is that the Vatican has constructed a brand new hi-tech telescope in Arizona that they named Lucifer. They claim that this telescope is operated by Jesuit priests (cue the mysterious eeeevil music here) and to top this off, it is all built on an ancient Indian burial ground.(Actually, most of Arizona is an Indian burial ground but I digress) Mr. Farris is trying to say that these evil Jesuits have purposely named the telescope after Satan because, well after all, everyone knows they are satanists, right? No!

     After a few more clicks with Google, turns out none of this is true. The Vatican Observatory Foundation has owned a telescope on Mount Graham in Arizona since the 1980's. It is one of the few places left on earth that doesn't have too much light pollution and perfectly low humidity to operate one of these fancy telescopes which detect infra-red frequencies. Their telescope is called VATT. Recently a consortium of astronomers from Germany, Italy and the US constructed a new and different telescope using a special hi-tech camera dubbed LUCIFER. It's name is an acronym for: Large Binocular Telescope Near-infrared Utility with Camera and Integral Field Unit for Extragalactic Research. These astronomers have no connection to the Vatican. The only possible connection is that they share the top of Mount Graham where many other groups have observatories located because of the desirable characteristics mentioned above. How about the Jesuit connection? They always seem to show up in the Jack Chick comic books and internet legends like these. The poor Jesuits! Turns out, that the director of the Vatican Observatory is a PhD astronomer who is on staff at the University of Arizona. No relationship to the LUCIFER Telescope. Darn!
Why did I even bother? Well, I hope and believe there is still some goodness left in these people and appealing to that goodness may reach them. By showing them the falsity of these stories, perhaps they will at least agree to not perpetuate lies. But then again, maybe I'm wrong.

Just to document to my readers, I didn't fabricate my story, I wrote to one of the scientist listed on the LUCIFER web page site and this is our correspondence.

From: russ rentler <>
Date: Wed, 12 May 2010 18:25:53 -0400
To: Daniel Stolte <>
Subject: LUCIFER TELESCOPE and Catholicism

Dear Mr. Stolte:
Sorry to take your time with this, but I have been reading across the internet that the Vatican has purchased and named the new telescope Lucifer. Of course they are trying to link Catholicism with the devil. My understanding is that the Vatican Observatory Organization has no financial or controlling interest whatsoever in the new LBT telescope. An article in Popular Science magazine made the spurious connection and an internet legend was born.
If you could just let me know if it is true that the Vatican has not named or purchased this telescope, that would be helpful to end these silly rumors.
Thanks so much

Russ Rentler, M.D.

Dear Dr. Rentler,

Thank you for your email and your interest. I can ease your concerns – the Vatican Observatory has nothing to do with the LUCIFER project. LUCIFER is merely an acronym given to the instrument to shorten its name ( Large Binocular Telescope Near-infrared Utility with Camera and Integral Field Unit for Extragalactic Research). The instrument and all of its components are run by a consortium of astronomy researchers based in Germany. It is a mere coincidence that the Large Binocular Telescope, which houses the LUCIFER instrument, happens to be on the same location as the Vatican Observatory’s telescope (Mount Graham in Southeastern Arizona), but that is a different device and there is no connection to the Large Binocular Telescope or the LUCIFER instrument.

Hoping to have helped end the rumors and Yours sincerely,

Daniel Stolte
Daniel Stolte, M.S.
Science Writer
University Communications
The University of Arizona
888 N Euclid Ave. Rm. 413
P.O. Box 210158
Tucson, AZ 85721-0158

Phone (520) 626-4402
Fax (520) 626-4121
UANews is available at:


Blogger kkollwitz said...

Well, it's in bad taste to name anything Lucifer regardless of who does the naming.

Re: the Church and her enemies, she does get the most fervid ones, if not the smartest.

May 12, 2010 11:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for toiling in this vineyard. I know it is frustrating, but you are working for the Lord and His Church. I hope that you can reach any reason that these and other anti-Catholic people have. People believe what they want to believe, but you never know. God bless you. Julie

May 13, 2010 8:22 AM  
Blogger George Weis said...

Humor at it's best and possibly it's worst all at the same time!

Just mind boggling :D


May 13, 2010 10:42 PM  
Blogger kkollwitz said...

That's a great shot of the "Milky Way Galaxy", which is a bit redundant.

galaxias/ γαλαξίας/ milky

May 15, 2010 10:08 PM  
Anonymous Dr.Leroy Green said...

Nice try but sorry. I think you know that they're looking at/for much more then the church is being forthcoming about. Poor form in the acronym selection to say the least.

June 02, 2010 12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for investigating this. I just heard a guest on the Coast to Coast show repeat this rumor and I could not believe it so I did a Google search and found you article.

June 09, 2010 12:54 AM  
Blogger Labirintus Mentalis said...

Did you know that the name of Satan isn't actually Lucifer? The only place where the term "Lucifer" appears in the Bible is in Isaiah, so what is a Latin term doing in an ancient Hebrew text? Why does the Torah not mention a Lucifer?

I would agree with you that the Catholic church is overly criticized, and that those Prostestants who do are ridiculous, but to affirm that the Catholic church is the one an only church is also ridiculous.

July 04, 2011 3:37 AM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

"but to affirm that the Catholic church is the one an only church is also ridiculous."

Jesus established one church, not mutiple churches. It's not triumphalistic, it's creedal.

July 04, 2011 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Barba said...

I saw the "news" that the Vatican had built a new binocular telescope in the antarctic on Youtube, on a channel that I usually find to be accurate. (So much for that idea,) but my first reaction to that was not to associate the church with evil, being a non-religious person, I just was surprised and wondered what it was about, "bringer of light" and all that. Anyway, thanks for clearing that up.

July 05, 2011 9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Jesus established one church, not mutiple churches. It's not triumphalistic, it's creedal."

As if those terms are mutually exclusive.

As if "the creedal" is in itself one inch closer to heaven than hell.

As if the way and the truth and the life cannot be found outside buildings with Roman mortgages.

What did Jesus think of those who attended to the letter rather than the spirit?

Open your heart. Let the scales fall. I have it on good authority: our Father's house has many mansions.

... and none of its doors ever close.

September 16, 2011 12:36 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

The truth can be found albeit in an incomplete form in ecclesial assemblies. But just as the planets benefit from the rays of light that emanate from the sun, the non Catholic assemblies benefit from the truth that comes from the Church Jesus started. The one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

September 16, 2011 12:58 PM  
Blogger James said...

Dear Dr. Rentler,

Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to get to the source of this nasty anti-Catholic urban legend. I had come across it about a couple years ago and just figured it was some bizarre, but true story. How happy I was to discover your site today and to read the truth of the matter. Great job!

James B. Phillips, J.D.

Also, it gave me a real joy to read of your return to the one, holy, catholic, apostolic and therefore TRUE Church, outside of which there is no salvation!

October 10, 2012 1:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it appalling that Evangalists are publishing these lies about the Catholic Church. I came across one evangalist website that posted a big list of supposed freemasons in the Catholic Church, they point out the archecture that has freemason symbolism, but they then take it further by suggesting that the Catholic Church is going to install the anti-Christ upon the papal throne. One well know evangalist has written a book called Petrius Romanus which makes the most bizarre claims and sound like i
a work of fiction written by Dan Brown. Who's doing the devil's work here? Certainly not the Catholic Church!

March 11, 2013 11:38 AM  
Anonymous russ said...

anon' your spelling was so bad I couldn't post your comment. God bless

July 13, 2014 8:44 PM  
Blogger Marla Singer said...

Here's the true story of the telescope. Mt. Graham is called Dzil Nchaa Si An (Big Seated Mountain) and is mentioned in 32 of the sacred songs which have been handed down through generations of Apaches. It was part of the reservation but was removed because we wanted it.

Congress passed the Arizona-Idaho Conservation Act in 1988. The Univ of AZ and the Vatican lobbied for it to allow the construction of 3 telescopes on Mt Graham without having to comply with the American Indian Religious Freedoms Act or with environmental laws.

The Apache Survival Coalition was started to save Mt. Graham from desecration by a telescope complex to be built by the University of Arizona and the Vatican.

In 1991, the San Carlos Apache Tribe passed a resolution stating how sacred it was to them,and that they supported the efforts of the Apache Survival Coalition to protect the religious and cultural beliefs of the tribe--to no avail. Now they need permits, notification and approval of description of their ceremonies to be allowed to pray there. And folks are worried about Lucifer being evil?

March 27, 2017 9:32 PM  

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