Red moon in orbit
October18, 1957 A WEAPON, soaring 560 miles above the earth. This, says the Osservatore Romano, is the precise definition of the new, Sovietmade satellite. "This is no artificial moon. It is an artificial Mars."
In a sharply worded, and at times fiercely ironic editorial leader the Vatican daily newspaper constrasted the hopes which this scientific achievement first aroused, with the fears now felt that such a weapon should be in the hands of the Russians.
The newspaper had recalled that the Holy Father on September 21), J956, had greeted the Geophysical Year as "this great effort of international co-operation." Interstellar flight, the Pope had said, could enable men to understand more clearly the infinite greatness of the Creator.
"The Lord Our God, who has planted an insatiable desire for knowledge in the heart of man had no intention of putting a limit to efforts of conquest when he said, 'Subdue the earth'."
But the Holy Father had at the same time sounded the warning that "a project of such magnitude carries with it intellectual and moral implications which it is impossible to ignore; it postulates a certain conception of the world, of its meaning and its destiny."
The editorial leader set out to show that because it is a Communist country, which denies God, that has launched the first man-made satellite. those moral implications to which the Pope had referred were forgotten by its sponsors. Instead of bringing men together it was already dividing them still further.
The satellite had been greeted, the Osservatore Romano said, as something that would ease tension between the USSR and the United States, and provide means of escape from the division of world into conflicting spheres of influence.