Monday, February 26, 2007

Galileo 391 Years Later (Universal)

On Thursday, February 25, 1616, the Catholic Church passes a censure against Galileo who had earlier stated that the Sun is the center of the world and that the Earth moves around it—directly against the Church’s belief that the Earth, instead, was the center of the world and the Sun revolved around it.

Galileo Galilei, born February 15, 1564, was an Italian astronomer, physicist, and philosopher. He was also a Roman Catholic.

During his professional career he is credited with the first scientific study of uniformly accelerated motion, pioneering efforts in quantitative scientific methods, refinements to the telescope, numerous astronomical observations (such as discovery of three of Jupiter’s moons), and argent support of the Copernican theory of the universe.

Founded by Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), Copernicanism is the modern-day theory that the Sun is at the center of the solar system—the heliocentric theory.

However, Galileo’s support of the heliocentric theory did not bode well with officials of the Catholic Church, who thought them dangerous to church doctrine and unorthodox religious opinion—that is, heresy.

On this same date (February 25, 1616), Pope Paul V directs Lord Cardinal Roberto Bellarmine to send for Galileo in order to warn him about publicizing his heliocentric view that countered the Church’s geocentric (Earth-centered) view.

One day later, on Friday the 26th, in Rome, Italy and in the presence of Lord Cardinal Bellarmine, Reverend Michelangelo Segizi of Lodi, and other witnesses, Galileo is given the summons stating that if he refuses to obey the Church then, under the command of the Pope, he would be renounced and stopped from discussing his Copernican views verbally or in writing with anyone.

In addition, if Galileo did not stop these actions, he would also be imprisoned for his opinion that the Sun, not the Earth, is at the center of the world

Galileo said he would obey the order from the Church.

However, within two weeks the Church formally removes any books Galileo had previously written that mentions anything about the Earth moving around the Sun and prohibits any further publications and distributions of such books from Galileo.

Undaunted, Galileo continues to talk about his views.

In April 1633, Galileo is brought before the Papal Inquisition and tried for his crimes against the Church. He defends his views, saying that the scriptures were not wrong, only their religious interpretation. On June 22, 1633, he is found guilty and sentenced to an indefinite term in prison. He is allowed to serve his term under house arrest.

On January 8, 1642, Galileo dies of natural causes.

On October 31, 1992, Pope John Paul II and the Catholic Church state their remorse in how Galileo was treated. They admit that Galileo’s Sun-centered view of the solar system is correct and that the Earth is not stationary and that it revolves around the Sun.



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