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posted by chromas on Tuesday February 12 2019, @03:41PM   Printer-friendly

Submitted via IRC for Bytram

The truth about Galileo and his conflict with the Catholic Church

Today virtually every child grows up learning that the earth orbits the sun.

But four centuries ago, the idea of a heliocentric solar system was so controversial that the Catholic Church classified it as a heresy, and warned the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei to abandon it.

Many people believe that Galileo was hounded by the church for almost two decades, that he openly maintained a belief in heliocentrism, and that he was only spared torture and death because his powerful friends intervened on his behalf. But an examination of the fine details of Galileo’s conflict with church leaders doesn’t bear that out, according to English department distinguished research professor Henry Kelly.

In an article published this month in the journal “Church History,” Kelly clarifies some popularly held notions around Galileo’s travails with the church.

“We can only guess at what he really believed,” said Kelly, who for his research undertook a thorough examination of the judicial procedure used by the church in its investigation of Galileo. “Galileo was clearly stretching the truth when he maintained at his trial in 1633 that after 1616 he had never considered heliocentrism to be possible. Admitting otherwise would have increased the penance he was given, but would not have endangered his life, since he agreed to renounce the heresy — and in fact it would have spared him even the threat of torture.”

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the beginning of the Catholic Church’s investigation into Galileo.


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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12 2019, @06:03PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12 2019, @06:03PM (#800197)

    A lot of that has to do with how the church dealt with the sex abuse scandals that continue to this day. The church's antiquated notions on sexual orientation aren't helping, but let's be honest about the fact that the sex abuse scandals were a massive part of the problem.

    People who go to church probably don't care as much about the positions the church takes as they do on things that are closer to home. Watching the infighting or even being abused aren't going to encourage people to want to remain members.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday February 12 2019, @09:30PM

    by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Tuesday February 12 2019, @09:30PM (#800339)

    A lot of that has to do with how the church dealt with the sex abuse scandals that continue to this day...

    I'm sure that's true for an awful lot of catholics, but in the case of my two junior zombies, who were both raised as catholics, attended catholic schools, and received religious education from the age of 5 until about 18, it seems to have been that very education that turned them into atheists.

    The last three years of RE was actually comparative religious studies, and according to my eldest showed him that all religions are founded on silly stories with no real basis to them.