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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: 2) by bzipitidoo on Tuesday February 12 2019, @07:37PM (2 children)

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Tuesday February 12 2019, @07:37PM (#800271) Journal

    Yes, I realize there are nuances. Read again what I said. It's the members of their church and other Christian denominations who continue to have embarrassing problems with science and Darwin. They discredit all Christianity with their antics. Good on the Roman Catholic Church leadership that they made a proclamation accepting Evolution, but I'd say 1950 is awfully late. Where were they during the Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925? Surely a spectacle of that sort was a loud and clear warning that they needed to speak up. By then, they'd had decades to think about it.

    > Let's just be clear about what your problem is: you don't like religion

    And your qualifications for making such a diagnosis are ... ? I think Pope Francis is kinda cool. He highlighted poverty and greed as problems the Church should focus on more. His choice of name underlines that. And it may be there is no better time than now to go on a crusade against greed, seeing as how greed is on a roll. Unrestrained greed is brewing a catastrophe that we urgently need to address: Climate Change. For once, the Church is spot on. The best thing Benedict XVI did was retire early instead of hanging on until he died, thus clearing the way for a successor who would tackle this urgent problem. Benedict XVI was a silly rules lawyer, rather than a reformer.

    Perhaps the biggest criticism of current Church policy, bigger than any troubles with science, is their handling of this ongoing problem with sexual abuse. Just this week, I've been reading revelations that the Southern Baptists have been as bad or worse than the Roman Catholics-- 380 church officials are accused. True, Southern Baptists are not Catholics. Regardless, church leaders (the ones not involved), of all sects are horrified and aghast, but they don't seem to entirely understand the problem, or, rather, their understanding is not as good as it could be, which makes it more difficult to concoct an effective plan against it. They are still hobbled by dogma that has been largely debunked.

    > and you're picking at a 400-year-old controversy because it's one of the few places where you might be able to level some criticism at the Catholic Church's stand on science.

    Few? Uh, no. Lot more areas to criticize than that. Why can't women be priests? Never mind abortion, what's wrong with mere contraception? And homosexuality, is that still a mortal sin? Can priests marry? What about divorce, can couples divorce?

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12 2019, @09:44PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12 2019, @09:44PM (#800347)

    Are you also going to debate whether or not the church sanctioned the rape of Joan of Arc at her trial?

  • (Score: 2) by AthanasiusKircher on Wednesday February 13 2019, @03:19AM

    by AthanasiusKircher (5291) on Wednesday February 13 2019, @03:19AM (#800472) Journal

    Okay, I'll agree with some of what you said, but in other cases you seem to miss the forest from the trees. Such as sexual abuse -- you seem surprised by the Southern Baptists... why? There's never been good stats showing that the incidence of abusers in the Catholic Church is worse than any other denomination... or worse than scout leaders or coaches or probably teachers.

    The main difference with the Catholic Church is that they are more hierarchical than many organizations, so they have records. Most of the time in a Baptist church or in a school or with a sports coach or whatever, they are just dismissed (so as not to draw publicity) and they just go somewhere else and abuse as in the Catholic Church. We just aren't as easily able to see the scale without the hierarchical records.

    I want to be clear: I'm not defending the abusers or those who covered up in the Catholic Church -- they should all be in jail and doing hard labor, and if there were ever a justification for torturing as punishment for a crime, they would deserve it. But this isn't a Church problem -- it's a problem just about anywhere you have people with lots of kids unsupervised.

    Also, you last paragraph has a boatload of valid criticisms against the Catholic Church, and I'll pretty much join in with you on them. But I don't think any of those issues really has much to do with Science -- it's just BS religious opinions on social questions and morality.