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Galileo vs Catholicism


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From the Catholic point of view.


I haven't really read it all through yet, but skimming through I thought that the statement


The Catholic Church really has little to apologize for in its relations with science.


was pretty interesting...


Any thoughts? Is Catholicism really getting a bad rap about Galileo or is this article full of shit?

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The Victorian biologist Thomas Henry Huxley, who had no brief for Catholicism, once examined the case and concluded that “the Church had the best of it.” The most striking point about the whole affair is that until Galileo forced the issue into the realm of theology, the Church had been a willing ombudsman for the new astronomy. It had encouraged the work of Copernicus and sheltered Kepler against the persecutions of Calvinists. Problems only arose when the debate went beyond the mere question of celestial mechanics. But here we need some historical background.
You know, I haven't bothered to check all of the facts here. I can't say yet whether or not their claims about Galileo's alleged beligerance has any merit, but I can say on good authority that there is a hefty dose of lying going on in this article.


For one thing, Copernicus was too frightened to publish his work for fear of persecution. In those days, saying heretical things got you killed. Remember, Copernicus was long dead when the Inquisition killed another advocate of heliocentricism, Giordano Bruno, for expressing that there may be other worlds circling other stars. They burned his ass at the stake for doing nothing more than stating an idea. So I'm afraid that this nice gloss-over job that this guy is doing, as though the Roman Catholic Church was tolerant of new ideas, is extremely distorted.


I would also like to point out that Pope John Paul II didn't just apologize for Galileo; he also lifted the edict of Inquisition against him. Oops!

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Papal Condemnation (Sentence) of Galileo

(June 22, 1633)


Whereas you, Galileo, son of the late Vaincenzo Galilei, Florentine, aged seventy years, were in the year 1615 denounced to this Holy Office for holding as true the false doctrine taught by some that the Sun is the center of the world and immovable and that the Earth moves, and also with a diurnal motion; for having disciples to whom you taught the same doctrine; for holding correspondence with certain mathematicians of Germany concerning the same; for having printed certain letters, entitled "On the Sunspots," wherein you developed the same doctrine as true; and for replying to the objections from the Holy Scriptures, which from time to time were urged against it, by glossing the said Scriptures according to your own meaning: and whereas there was thereupon produced the copy of a document in the form of a letter, purporting to be written by you to one formerly your disciple, and in this divers propositions are set forth, following the position of Copernicus, which are contrary to the true sense and authority of Holy Scripture:

This Holy Tribunal being therefore of intention to proceed against the disorder and mischief thence resulting, which went on increasing to the prejudice of the Holy Faith, by command of His Holiness and of the Most Eminent Lords Cardinals of this supreme and universal Inquisition, the two propositions of the stability of the Sun and the motion of the Earth were by the theological Qualifiers qualified as follows:


The proposition that the Sun is the center of the world and does not move from its place is absurd and false philosophically and formally heretical, because it is expressly contrary to Holy Scripture.


The proposition that the Earth is not the center of the world and immovable but that it moves, and also with a diurnal motion, is equally absurd and false philosophically and theologically considered at least erroneous in faith.



Furthermore, in order to completely eliminate such a pernicious doctrine, and not let it creep any further to the great detriment of Catholic truth, the Holy Congregation of the Index issued a decree which prohibited books which treat of this and declaring the doctrine itself to be false and wholly contrary to the divine and Holy Scripture.



We say, pronounce, sentence and declare that you, Galileo, by reason of these things which have been detailed in the trial and which you have confessed already, have rendered yourself according to this Holy Office vehemently suspect of heresy, namely of having held and believed a doctrine that is false and contrary to the divine and Holy Scripture: namely that Sun is the center of the world and does not move from east to west, and that one may hold and defend as probable an opinion after it has been declared and defined contrary to Holy Scripture.



Furthermore, so that this grievous and pernicious error and transgression of yours may not go altogether unpunished, and so that you will be more cautious in future, and an example for others to abstain from delinquencies of this sort, we order that the book Dialogue of Galileo Galilei be prohibited by public edict.


We condemn you to formal imprisonment in this Holy Office at our pleasure. As a salutary penance we impose on you to recite the seven penitential psalms once a week for the next three years. And we reserve to ourselves the power of moderating, commuting, or taking off, the whole or part of the said penalties and penances.


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Aw snap!

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I am reminded more and more of this song as I begin to explore astronomy seriously for the first time in my life. It's a slow, heavy rock song, one where the emotion of the lyrics is truly expressed by the music. Here's the lyrics, followed by a link to a sample of the song:


"when i look up at the stars at night

what could i find beyond the light

a hundred million worlds that we ignore

who can restrain pleiades

or know the laws of heavenly's

how many times have we been wrong before

far off in the field i see a castle

today the people gather at the pole

he tried to tell us all the world was spherical

they burned his body but not his soul "




if that doesn't work, use this link and scroll down


Gretchen Goes to Nebraska

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