Galileo Rehabilitated - Catholic Church Recants

“Wishing to remove from the minds of your Eminences and all faithful Christians this vehement suspicion reasonably conceived against me, I abjure with sincere heart and unfeigned faith, I curse and detest the said errors and heresies, and generally all and every error and sect contrary to the Holy Catholic Church. And I swear that for the future I will neither say nor assert in speaking or writing such things as may bring upon me similar suspicion; and if I know any heretic, or one suspected of heresy, I will denounce him to this Holy Office, or to the Inquisitor and Ordinary of the place in which I may be."

With these words Galileo refuted the assertion made in his “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems” that the earth revolved around the sun. His views were found to be “absurd, philosophically false, and formally heretical because expressly contrary to Holy Scriptures” by Pope Urban VIII and he was ordered to stand trial for heresy in 1633.

Forced to recant on penalty of death, he lived the rest of his life under house arrest until his death in 1642.

Now, 400 years later, in an effort to appear relevant in the 21st century, the Roman Catholic Church is completing Galileo’s induction into the Church’s good books (a process started by John Paul II in 1979) by erecting a statue to him inside the Vatican walls.

Nicola Cabibbo, head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and a nuclear physicist, said: “The Church wants to close the Galileo affair and reach a definitive understanding not only of his great legacy but also of the relationship between science and faith.”

The move should also help defuse hostility towards Pope Benedict XVI (who seems to have been born with his papal foot in his mouth) as the result of a statement he made in 1990, while still a cardinal, in which he quoted a description of the trial of Galileo as fair.

Gee guys, I know you can’t rush into these things, but 400 years?


Anonymous said...

I call it the "400 year learning curve". Imagine what the Catholic Church will admit to 1000 years from now.
There was a great line by Tommy Lee Jones character in "Men in Black" (and i'm paraphrasing.....) "Two days ago you didn't know we existed, 2 minutes ago you thoght we were alone in the universe. Imagine what you'll know 2 days from now".
Thats the way I view religion and in particular the ID/AiG fundies. The longer they talk, the more they're shown to be frauds. It's only a matter of time before Homo Sapiens TRULY evolve into higher forms of life.

Deep Thought said...

the Church doesn't see 400 years as a long time, actually. More importantly, the Church has not retracted its conviction of Galileo - he was, in fact, guilty as charged.

After all, Gelileo insisted that the sun is stationary and that planets have circular orbits. Neither is true. The initial requirements were simply that Galileo declare and write that his theories were not conclusively proven fact but only theories. It was his refusal to comply that caused the escalation. The Church has always maintained this as the cause for the trial - by insisting that his theories were objective fact without sufficient evidence 9which is poor science) Galileo went from natural philosophy (science) into philosophy/theology, a field that was at that time legally the purview of the Church.

So the Church has not changed their stance.