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Galileo Returns to the Vatican

14 Mar , 2008 by

Four centuries after Galileo Galilei was ordered by the Catholic Church to come to Rome and stand trial on suspicion of heresy, a statue of the Italian astronomer will be erected at the Vatican. 2009 is the International Year of Astronomy, which celebrates 400 years since Galileo first used a telescope to study the heavens, and the Vatican plans to join in commemorating the anniversary. Galileo was condemned to house arrest by the Catholic Church in 1633 because his belief that the sun was at the center of the solar system, and not the Earth, contradicted the bible.

The statue was commissioned by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and was paid for with private donations. The president of the Academy, Nicola Cabibbo, said the statue shows Galileo standing and gesturing as if he were teaching. Cabibbo, a particle scientist, said honoring Galileo in this way is important because the Academy considers Galileo to be one of the oldest members of their group. Galileo was a member of the National Academy of Lincei, from which the Pontifical Academy began.

At his trial, Galileo argued that his heliocentric beliefs and writings did not oppose the church’s teachings, and stated that the bible was not meant to provide scientific explanations. He once wrote that scripture does not reveal what is in the heavens, but rather how to get to heaven.

In 1992, Pope John Paul II acknowledged that that the church made a mistake when it condemned Galileo for maintaining that the Earth revolved around the sun. At that time the church officially conceded that the Earth was not stationary. The pope also said that theologians should keep informed on scientific advances to determine if there would be cause for “introducing changes in their teaching.”

The exact location for the statue has not yet been determined, but Cabibbo was confident that the details would be worked out in time for the start of the anniversary celebrations in early 2009.

Original News Source: The Catholic Times


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Polaris93
Member
March 15, 2008 12:15 AM
All of which proves that religions are capable of growing up and acting responsibly, which the Roman Catholic Church really has done. The Church’s position on various scientific issues has evolved over the years such that it has arrived at conclusions that can be lived with. No, the Church, like any human agency, isn’t perfect, and doubtless there will have to be other changes to be made in its doctrine to balance scientific findings with spiritual needs. Now, isn’t it time a lot of scientists grew up and realized that pitching a fit over a 400-500 year old dust-up between the Church and a scientist, the philosophical version of holding your breath until you turn blue when you… Read more »
Dr Robert
Guest
Dr Robert
March 14, 2008 7:54 PM

Deep respect. Churches should be ashamed. It was their clubs burning people like this in other times. Still not mention a word, but celebrate. It’s disgusting.

Robert
Guest
Robert
March 14, 2008 8:39 PM

Actually, the belief that the Earth was the center of the universe did NOT contradict the Bible. It contradicted Church teaching. There’s a big difference…

seanhogge
Guest
seanhogge
March 14, 2008 11:50 PM
Heliocentrism didn’t directly contradict the bible, but passages in which Joshua (I believe it was) force the sun to stand still in the sky seemed to imply that there was a solar motion to be arrested. Another of the horrible aspect of the trial of Galileo was that Galileo was a devout catholic, and openly supported any censure the church would impose. In fact, the book he was tried for was approved by the church years prior with minor alterations. Galileo was delaying in publishing by several factors, and the pope was finding himself rather out of favor with critics of papal conduct. This led to the pope who had previously expressed great interest in Galileo’s work to… Read more »
LLDIAZ
Guest
LLDIAZ
March 15, 2008 7:44 AM

the catholic church has grown up and taken responsibility!
is that what you said?
come on! lets try not to be so naive…..

LLDIAZ
Guest
LLDIAZ
March 15, 2008 7:46 AM

priest, rabbi, guru whatever your calling your still a man no matter what you’ve learned you’ve only learned it from another man.

Emil
Guest
Emil
March 15, 2008 1:01 AM
The main problem is what the leaders’ interpretations are. There is enough support in Judeo-Christian theology for persistence of orthodox branches. They did not give up the idea of Earth in the center and even 24 hr rotation, as well as Young Earth, etc. other issues put to rest by multitude of sciences. When it comes to heliocentricity, they ignore Foucault and Coriolis. Ignoring inertia was mentioned (allowing a longer day to let Jews win the battle.) If Sun was stopped, why bother with Foucault? They bring in Einstein’s relativity and conclude heliocentric concept is outdated, so since inferior science said it cannot tell where the center is, they take it from Bible to be the Earth. Never… Read more »
Charles Bell
Guest
Charles Bell
March 15, 2008 8:53 AM
I work with many people who are quite “intelligent” but are so “anti-evolution” they believe that dinosaurs never lived and that the fossils were created when God created the earth in seven 24 hour days. There are some who believe that there were dinosaurs living when Adam and Eve were created, only because the list of ancestors back to Adam in the Book of Numbers is not long enough for the earth to be as old as the carbon dating suggests. The dinosaurs went extinct during the Great Flood they say. There are also many I work with who believe that all the stars we see now were all created at exactly the same time and there are… Read more »
David R.
Member
David R.
March 15, 2008 7:02 AM
I am a Pastor, and I too agree that what happened to Galileo was a travesty. I am an amateur astronomer and have a passion for all things related to the subject. The more I discover, the more I am amazed. The behavior that resulted in Galileo’s persecution is still happening in our so-called modern age. People still do amazingly ignorant, cruel, thoughtless things to each other. I wish all of us would spend more time gazing at the stars and meditating on the wonders of the universe rather than investing time in dogmatic legalism. Every time I see a new picture from the array of instruments gazing into the heavens, I am drawn more into the wonder… Read more »
rpsms
Member
rpsms
March 15, 2008 7:04 AM

Is it truly a 500-year-old-dust-up when the pope only concedes the point in 1992?

neoguru
Member
neoguru
March 15, 2008 8:30 AM

I’m a Jew but am very much aware that the Catholic Church’s contribution to Astronomy is significant. The Vatican owns and operates one of the world’s foremost observatories. The statue is a fitting tribute.

Voltair Jr.
Guest
Voltair Jr.
March 15, 2008 9:26 AM

Don’t believe for one second that the Catholic Church has reformed. The only reason it no longer burns Jews and heretics is because it no longer has large armies loaned to it by Catholic kings of Austria and France to use to crush its enemies. If the Church ever again regains military power it will once again demand total Papal Supremacy over the world, and the Inquisition will return.

Barry G
Guest
Barry G
March 15, 2008 10:45 AM

Like Robin Williams said “Better latent than never.”

No one can say that the Catholic Church is too quick to accept crazy scienticic speculation , Just think, another 400 years and they will be saying that Darwin could be onto something.

Emil
Guest
Emil
March 15, 2008 1:54 PM

Darwin? I believe Craig Venter indeed has good chance to create artificial life within a decade, since his team already made Mycoplasma laboratorium with the synthetic chromosome in place. Yet I am not too optimistic that in the next 400 years science will have evidence that Adam had a belly button. So they will stick with their dogma.

Emil
Guest
Emil
March 15, 2008 1:56 PM

“So they will stick to their dogma” is a better English, I guess

Ray Bingham
Guest
Ray Bingham
March 15, 2008 3:29 PM

Mr Gallileo’s statue should be placed in the center of the Vatican and guaranteed that it will never be moved.

Kevin M.
Guest
Kevin M.
March 15, 2008 6:17 PM
Voltair Jr. is still fighting the 500-year old war with his tin-foil paranoia helmet intact. No forgiveness for long-past mistakes, Mr. Voltair? No opportunity given for sincere reform? Are you ready to be judged on the same terms? If the armies were loaned by Austria and France, then why do you blame the Church for them? Where is this threat of church armies remaining today, or is it only in your fevered imagination? The Church of middle ages Europe was indeed a state power, a position which fell upon it by the chance accidents of European history, namely its adoption by the Roman state for politically expedient reasons, followed by the total collapse of Rome, leaving the church… Read more »
Emil
Guest
Emil
March 15, 2008 8:40 PM

“While we accept evolution as a general description of biological development, we will never accept that material forces alone are the drivers of this development.”

Kevin S., Would you please explain/expand on it? Are you stating “we” except Intelligent Design or “we” except common ancestry? Or “we” except both? Or none of these? And who are “we”? Thanks.

ALOKMOHAN
Guest
ALOKMOHAN
March 15, 2008 9:58 PM

It is god sestur of Vatican to accept the reality.

Bulldogstar
Guest
Bulldogstar
March 16, 2008 6:20 AM

Kevin M.
Well Written.Voltair.Jr. shows te hatred
carried around in his heart is motivated by his religious beliefs, and I’d be willing to
bet he is a reformed jew rather than an orthodox jew. In other words, he only becomes religious when it is convienient
to him.

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