Taking a shortcut around prayer, the Pope teleconferences with the heavens

Tuesday, May 24 2011

Depending upon what you believe, the Pope has made either one of the shortest or one of the longest communications into the sky. According to PC Magazine, Benedict XVI held a video chat with astronauts on the International Space Station this week.

This is the first time His Holiness has engaged in a web conference with space. He offered words of thanks for the service to mankind that Italian astronauts Roberto Vittori and Paolo Nespoli were engaged in. He also offered words of comfort to American astronaut Mark Kelly, whose wife, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was shot earlier this year.

Astronaut Vittori was also able to show the Pope a silver Papal coin that had been given to him as a gift by the Vatican before liftoff. After traveling over 3 million miles, he'll return it to the Vatican with his thanks.

Benedict XVI concluded the conversation with a blessing: "Dear astronauts, I thank you warmly for this wonderful opportunity to meet and dialogue with you, with helping me and many other people to reflect together on the important issues regarding the future of humanity," adding, "I will continue to follow you in my thoughts."