The Galileo issue

Lot’s of ink and electrons are being spilled over the the "Galileo factor" in the La Sapienza debacle going on in Rome.

Pope Benedict was accused of obscurantism because he had the temerity to imagine that perhaps the Church wasn’t completely off-base when handling Galileo.

All sorts of strange ideas float around about what happened with Galileo.  This has come up in an entry I posted about a story in the Wall Street Journal.

I am pulling out one of the comments in that entry to start a new entry.

Let’s bring some light to the issue.   We will have to be careful with this.  I don’t want rabbit holes or off-topic digressions.

In a comment under the abovementioned entry "Joe" addressed "Fabrizio" and Fabrizio is responding:

JOE: And what on earth do you mean by saying that the Church is falsely accused of suppressing the scientist Galileo’s free speech? They showed him the instruments of torture—a harrowing experience in itself. Had he persisted in claiming the right of free speech, they would have tortured him.

FABRIZIO: He never saw “the instruments of torture” because a) that would be in the records and it isn’t b) torture was not used in Rome in Galileo’s time and for his charges (the issue of idiocies about the Church and “torture” would require a whole blog, however it was already disappearing back then) c) Galileo recognized to be wrong (he was in fact wrong) after the preliminary (and very scientific) discussions and under the scrupolous Inquisitorial procedure torture or pressure under any form was forbidden at that early stage.

Galileo was wrong on two accounts: 1) he gave the wrong “proofs” of heliocentrism and the Earth’s motion (with which the Pope, like all his 13 most recent predecessors, agreed, that’s why they had been and kept funding Copernicanism that was at risk of being destroyed by mass executions of scientists in Calvinist and Lutheran countries). One of such proofs was ebb tides, which his Jesuit adversaries of the Specola Vaticana rightly attributed to the Moon’s magnetic influence. 2) he wanted to make theology starting form his observation which is obviously non-sense.

Galileo was “condemned” to say the 7 penitential Psalms (the horror!), for having satirized the Pope in a very vulgar way in one of his books. The place of the “execution” was his villa in Tuscany, called “the Jewel” and paid for by Papal funds. Galileo continued to work on (and teach, like the Jesuits of his time) heliocentrism, mathematics, physics and related technologies with the Pope’s financial aid.

Anti-Catholic canards are just that: canards. Only the superstitious ignorance of these dark times we live in, and the power of conformist education/media could lead people to actually believe them.

JOE: Ratzinger’s falsification of the Galileo story is detailed by ex-Vatican astronomer Coyne SJ.

FABRIZIO: Respondeo dicendum “PIFFLE!”. Fr.Coyne – “ex” Vatican astronomer for a reason – should know better than to think than in his capacity of director of the Specola he can give silly interviews defending materialistic evolution and shrugging off what Cardinals and the Pope, who appointed him and pay for his bills, have to say. His credibility is zero, and so are his teaching and now even scientific authority. If he ignores the facts and sides with the enemies of the Church who cares what he says?

The Galileo affair could last only thanks to Protestant and Illuminist propaganda, which oviously made inroads also among Catholics. That not all those who opposed Galileo did so for the right reasons iscertainly true and something we must not forget, but that the Church, the Bride of Christ was always also the promoter of true progress is a fact that would become startingly evident if only people forsake their conformist laziness and began to read at least atheist scholars like Feyrabend, Bloch and Lea who recognized that the Church was defending civilization and humanity from the arrogance of scientists. When such vigilance had to retreat, we had Auschwitz, Gulags and the current hooro of abortion, euthanasia and eugenics.

Okay, folks.  Let’s shed some light on the Galileo issue.

Be careful.  If you don’t have anything pertinent to add, then please just read and learn.

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40 Responses to The Galileo issue

  1. WDTPRSr says:

    Father Z.,

    I understand that your time is limited. However, if you could give your understanding oif the matter, it would elimanate much confusion on the part of readers who have little knowledge of the subject. If several comments say several different thing, who is correct? Even though you don’t have the protection of infalliblity, they would seem more authoritative coming from you.

  2. Fr. J. says:

    Thank you Fr. Z for an illuminating post. The Fr. Coyne, SJ detail is new to me. How regrettable that some may regard him as a new Galileo. Another angle is that “scientists” or their students may be using the twisted version of the Galileo affair to vie for a false victim status. Oy.

    My sole contribution is a bit tangential, but I would like to note that the tides are not caused by the moon’s magnetic force but rather the moon’s gravitational force.

  3. Kevin Jones says:

    I’d appreciate if FABRIZIO could provide a few good sources. I have been uncritically believing in the “Galileo was shown the instruments of torture…” part of the much-embellished story.

  4. Prof. Basto says:

    Catholic Encyclopedia article on Galileo: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06342b.htm

    ****

    Relevant part:

    “… In spite of all deficiency in his arguments, Galileo, profoundly assured of the truth of his cause, set himself with his habitual vehemence to convince others, and so contributed in no small degree to create the troubles which greatly embittered the latter part of his life.

    In regard to their history, there are two main points to be considered. It is in the first place constantly assumed, especially at the present day, that the opposition which Copernicanism encountered at the hands of ecclesiastical authority was prompted by hatred of science and a desire to keep the minds of men in the darkness of ignorance. To suppose that any body of men could deliberately adopt such a course is ridiculous, especially a body which, with whatever defects of method, had for so long been the only one which concerned itself with science at all.

    It is likewise contradicted by the history of the very controversy with which we are now concerned. According to a popular notion the point, upon which beyond all others churchmen were determined to insist, was the geocentric system of astronomy. Nevertheless it was a churchman, Nicholas Copernicus, who first advanced the contrary doctrine that the sun and not the earth is the centre of our system, round which our planet revolves, rotating on its own axis. His great work, “De Revolutionibus orblure coelestium”, was published at the earnest solicitation of two distinguished churchmen, Cardinal Schömberg and Tiedemann Giese, Bishop of Culm. It was dedicated by permission to Pope Paul III in order, as Copernicus explained, that it might be thus protected from the attacks which it was sure to encounter on the part of the “mathematicians” (i.e. philosophers) for its apparent contradiction of the evidence of our senses, and even of common sense. He added that he made no account of objections which might be brought by ignorant wiseacres on Scriptural grounds. Indeed, for nearly three quarters of a century no such difficulties were raised on the Catholic side, although Luther and Melanchthon condemned the work of Copernicus in unmeasured terms. Neither Paul III, nor any of the nine popes who followed him, nor the Roman Congregations raised any alarm, and, as has been seen, Galileo himself in 1597, speaking of the risks he might run by an advocacy of Copernicanism, mentioned ridicule only and said nothing of persecution. Even when he had made his famous discoveries, no change occurred in this respect. On the contrary, coming to Rome in 1611, he was received in triumph; all the world, clerical and lay, flocked to see him, and, setting up his telescope in the Quirinal Garden belonging to Cardinal Bandim, he exhibited the sunspots and other objects to an admiring throng.

    It was not until four years later that trouble arose, the ecclesiastical authorities taking alarm at the persistence with which Galileo proclaimed the truth of the Copernican doctrine. That their opposition was grounded, as is constantly assumed, upon a fear lest men should be enlightened by the diffusion of scientific truth, it is obviously absurd to maintain. On the contrary, they were firmly convinced, with Bacon and others, that the new teaching was radically false and unscientific, while it is now truly admitted that Galileo himself had no sufficient proof of what he so vehemently advocated, and Professor Huxley after examining the case avowed his opinion that the opponents of Galileo “had rather the best of it”. But what, more than all, raised alarm was anxiety for the credit of Holy Scripture, the letter of which was then universally believed to be the supreme authority in matters of science, as in all others. When therefore it spoke of the sun staying his course at the prayer of Joshua, or the earth as being ever immovable, it was assumed that the doctrine of Copernicus and Galileo was anti-Scriptural; and therefore heretical. It is evident that, since the days of Copernicus himself, the Reformation controversy had done much to attach suspicion to novel interpretations of the Bible, which was not lessened by the endeavours of Galileo and his ally Foscarini to find positive arguments for Copernicanism in the inspired volume. Foscarini, a Carmelite friar of noble lineage, who had twice ruled Calabria as provincial, and had considerable reputation as a preacher and theologian, threw himself with more zeal than discretion into the controversy, as when he sought to find an argument for Copernicanism in the seven-branched candlestick of the Old Law. Above all, he excited alarm by publishing works on the subject in the vernacular, and thus spreading the new doctrine, which was startling even for the learned, amongst the masses who were incapable of forming any sound judgment concerning it. There was at the time an active sceptical party in Italy, which aimed at the overthrow of all religion, and, as Sir David Brewster acknowledges (Martyrs of Science), there is no doubt that this party lent Galileo all its support.

    In these circumstances, Galileo, hearing that some had denounced his doctrine as anti-Scriptural, presented himself at Rome in December, 1615, and was courteously received. He was presently interrogated before the Inquisition, which after consultation declared the system he upheld to be scientifically false, and anti-Scriptural or heretical, and that he must renounce it. This he obediently did, promising to teach it no more. Then followed a decree of the Congregation of the Index dated 5 March 1616, prohibiting various heretical works to which were added any advocating the Copernican system. In this decree no mention is made of Galileo, or of any of his works. Neither is the name of the pope introduced, though there is no doubt that he fully approved the decision, having presided at the session of the Inquisition, wherein the matter was discussed and decided. In thus acting, it is undeniable that the ecclesiastical authorities committed a grave and deplorable error, and sanctioned an altogether false principle as to the proper use of Scripture. Galileo and Foscarini rightly urged that the Bible is intended to teach men to go to heaven, not how the heavens go. At the same time, it must not be forgotten that, while there was as yet no sufficient proof of the Copernican system, no objection was made to its being taught as an hypothesis which explained all phenomena in a simpler manner than the Ptolemaic, and might for all practical purposes be adopted by astronomers. What was objected to was the assertion that Copernicanism was in fact true, “which appears to contradict Scripture”. It is clear, moreover, that the authors of the judgment themselves did not consider it to be absolutely final and irreversible, for Cardinal Bellarmine, the most influential member of the Sacred College, writing to Foscarini, after urging that he and Galileo should be content to show that their system explains all celestial phenomena — an unexceptional proposition, and one sufficient for all practical purposes — but should not categorically assert what seemed to contradict the Bible, thus continued:

    I say that if a real proof be found that the sun is fixed and does not revolve round the earth, but the earth round the sun, then it will be necessary, very carefully, to proceed to the explanation of the passages of Scripture which appear to be contrary, and we should rather say that we have misunderstood these than pronounce that to be false which is demonstrated.
    By this decree the work of Copernicus was for the first time prohibited, as well as the “Epitome” of Kepler, but in each instance only donec corrigatur, the corrections prescribed being such as were necessary to exhibit the Copernican system as an hypothesis, not as an established fact. We learn further that with permission these works might be read in their entirety, by “the learned and skilful in the science” (Remus to Kepler). Galileo seems, says von Gebler, to have treated the decree of the Inquisition pretty coolly, speaking with satisfaction of the trifling changes prescribed in the work of Copernicus. He left Rome, however, with the evident intention of violating the promise extracted from him, and, while he pursued unmolested his searches in other branches of science, he lost no opportunity of manifesting his contempt for the astronomical system which he had promised to embrace. Nevertheless, when in 1624 he again visited Rome, he met with what is rightly described as “a noble and generous reception”. The pope now reigning, Urban VIII, had, as Cardinal Barberini, been his friend and had opposed his condemnation in 1616. He conferred on his visitor a pension, to which as a foreigner in Rome Galileo had no claim, and which, says Brewster, must be regarded as an endowment of Science itself. But to Galileo’s disappointment Urban would not annul the former judgment of the Inquisition.

    After his return to Florence, Galileo set himself to compose the work which revived and aggravated all former animosities, namely a dialogue in which a Ptolemist is utterly routed and confounded by two Copernicans. This was published in 1632, and, being plainly inconsistent with his former promise, was taken by the Roman authorities as a direct challenge. He was therefore again cited before the Inquisition, and again failed to display the courage of his opinions, declaring that since his former trial in 1616 he had never held the Copernican theory. Such a declaration, naturally was not taken very seriously, and in spite of it he was condemned as “vehemently suspected of heresy” to incarceration at the pleasure of the tribunal and to recite the Seven Penitential Psalms once a week for three years.

    Under the sentence of imprisonment Galileo remained till his death in 1642. It is, however, untrue to speak of him as in any proper sense a “prisoner”. As his Protestant biographer, von Gebler, tells us, “One glance at the truest historical source for the famous trial, would convince any one that Galileo spent altogether twenty-two days in the buildings of the Holy Office (i.e. the Inquisition), and even then not in a prison cell with barred windows, but in the handsome and commodious apartment of an official of the Inquisition.” For the rest, he was allowed to use as his places of confinement the houses of friends, always comfortable and usually luxurious. It is wholly untrue that he was — as is constantly stated — either tortured or blinded by his persecutors — though in 1637, five years before his death, he became totally blind — or that he was refused burial in consecrated ground. On the contrary, although the pope (Urban VIII) did not allow a monument to be erected over his tomb, he sent his special blessing to the dying man, who was interred not only in consecrated ground, but within the church of Santa Croce at Florence.

    Finally, the famous “E pur si muove”, supposed to have been uttered by Galileo, as he rose from his knees after renouncing the motion of the earth, is an acknowledged fiction, of which no mention can be found till more than a century after his death, which took place 8 January 1642, the year in which Newton was born.

    Such in brief is the history of this famous conflict between ecclesiastical authority and science, to which special theological importance has been attached in connection with the question of papal infallibility. Can it be said that either Paul V or Urban VIII so committed himself to the doctrine of geocentricism as to impose it upon the Church as an article of faith, and so to teach as pope what is now acknowledged to be untrue? That both these pontiffs were convinced anti-Copernicans cannot be doubted, nor that they believed the Copernican system to be unscriptural and desired its suppression. The question is, however, whether either of them condemned the doctrine ex cathedra. This, it is clear, they never did. As to the decree of 1616, we have seen that it was issued by the Congregation of the Index, which can raise no difficulty in regard of infallibility, this tribunal being absolutely incompetent to make a dogmatic decree. Nor is the case altered by the fact that the pope approved the Congregation’s decision in forma communi, that is to say, to the extent needful for the purpose intended, namely to prohibit the circulation of writings which were judged harmful. The pope and his assessors may have been wrong in such a judgment, but this does not alter the character of the pronouncement, or convert it into a decree ex cathedra.

    As to the second trial in 1633, this was concerned not so much with the doctrine as with the person of Galileo, and his manifest breach of contract in not abstaining from the active propaganda of Copernican doctrines. The sentence, passed upon him in consequence, clearly implied a condemnation of Copernicanism, but it made no formal decree on the subject, and did not receive the pope’s signature. Nor is this only an opinion of theologians; it is corroborated by writers whom none will accuse of any bias in favour of the papacy. Thus Professor Augustus De Morgan (Budget of Paradoxes) declares

    It is clear that the absurdity was the act of the Italian Inquisition, for the private and personal pleasure of the pope — who knew that the course he took could not convict him as pope — and not of the body which calls itself the Church.
    And von Gebler (“Galileo Galilei”):

    The Church never condemned it (the Copernican system) at all, for the Qualifiers of the Holy Office never mean the Church.
    It may be added that Riceloll and other contemporaries of Galileo were permitted, after 1616, to declare that no anti-Copernican definition had issued from the supreme pontiff.

    More vital at the present day is the question with which we commenced: “Does not the condemnation of Galileo prove the implacable opposition of the Church to scientific progress and enlightenment?” It may be replied with Cardinal Newman that this instance serves to prove the opposite, namely that the Church has not interfered with physical science, for Galileo’s case “is the one stock argument” (Apologia 5). So too Professor De Morgan acknowledges (“Motion of the Earth” in English Cyclopaedia):

    The Papal power must upon the whole have been moderately used in matters of philosophy, if we may judge by the great stress laid on this one case of Galileo. It is the standing proof that an authority which has lasted a thousand years was all the time occupied in checking the progress of thought.

    So Dr. Whewell speaking of this same case says (History of the Inductive Sciences):–

    I would not be understood to assert the condemnation of new doctrines to be a general or characteristic practice of the Romish Church. Certainly the intelligent and cultivated minds of Italy, and many of the most eminent of her ecclesiastics among them, have been the foremost in promoting and welcoming the progress of science, and there were found among the Italian ecclesiastics of Galileo’s time many of the earliest and most enlightened adherents of the Copernican system.”

  5. Derik Castillo says:

    It is important to remember that any judgment about Galileo’s trial
    shold respect the mainstream mindest prevalent during that time.
    It is wrong to judge the Church of (and society)
    of the 17th century using present-day liberalism.

    Remember also Thomas Kuhn’s ideas on the paradigm switch. Briefly,
    I believe that even outside the realm of science, there are
    paradigms and they are die-hard.

  6. Jordan Potter says:

    Rick claimed: From the time of Galileo, to this morning, no scientific experiment has ever demonstrated any motion of the Earth, either translational or diurnal.

    Yes, and the space program is just a massive government conspiracy. I think Rick’s comment is an example of not having anything pertinent to add.

    Anyway, I have encountered two contradictory Catholic apologetics regarding the trial of Galileo. One approach says Galileo’s own actions and pride played an important role in provoking the Church authorities, but that he was also framed by his rivals — that he never promised to remain silent on heliocentrism and that the document found in his file with his signature allegedly on it, in which he promised to refrain from public teaching and advocacy of the Copernican hypothesis, was a forgery. That approach accepts Galileo’s protestations that he didn’t remember ever signing such a promise. The other approach, which is that taken by Dinesh D’Souza in his recent book “What’s So Great About Christianity,” is that Galileo’s condemnation was unfortunate and regrettable, but that his own actions and pride played an important role in provoking the Church authorities, and yes, he did break his promise not to publicly advocate for heliocentrism.

    I don’t know which of these approaches is the right one. Was he framed, or was he just so convinced he was right that he couldn’t resist breaking his promise and advocating for what was then an unproven hypothesis?

    Of course it’s true that Galileo had no scientific evidence to support heliocentrism, and that several of his arguments (such as the tides as evidence of the earth’s rotation) were bogus, and his approach to biblical interpretation was erroneous. But I’d be interested in finding out if Galileo really did break a promise not to advocate for Copernicanism.

  7. Christina says:

    I don’t know what you’re looking for, the history’s as stated above. Even some of my most anti-catholic science textbooks admitted that his sentence was light and that he wasn’t tortured. As an example from one of my textbooks, “The book [Dialogues Concerning Two Chief World Systems] caused a sensation throughout educated Europe and paved the way for the new paradigm of the universe. …One of his political missteps was to place the defense of the Aristotelian cosmology into the mouth of a fool. Galileo was brought to trial for heresy in 1633, was forced to recant his scientific beliefs, and was confined to his home for the rest of his life…He deliberately provoked the Church and was, in fact, given an unusually light penalty at [his trial]…”

    One of the problems Galileo had was that his theory was wrong on many counts and wasn’t approved by scientists of the time (let alone the Church). One problem was that he used circular orbits to describe the motions of the planets, which had just as many flaws as the earth around the sun orbits did. It wasn’t until Kepler came up with the theory of elliptical orbits that the majority of scientists changed their position on the subject. Actually, aside from some astronomical observations and insulting the scientific and religious communities, he is not remembered for much.

    Copernicus, who, according to this textbook was “ironically a cannon in the Church”, came up with the heliocentric model, Kepler who made it mathematically feasible with ellipses and Hans Lipershey invented the telescope which Galileo used. All Galileo did was observe the phases of Venus, Sunspots, the moons of Jupiter and the terrain of our moon and posit an explanation based on a heliocentric model. He did a lot of observations, but even then is remembered as “a popular observer”, whereas someone like Tycho Brahe is described as an “exceptionally careful and systematic” observer.

    There is an article at Catholic Answers on Galileo. Unfortunately it doesn’t have an references, but it may still provide some of what you are looking for.

  8. Christopher Sarsfield says:

    With regard to his punishment: His daughter was a nun and he received permission for his daughter to recite the psalms in his place.

  9. Paul(different) says:

    Jordan’s comment about the confusion regarding the second trial is true — St. Robert’s records regarding the initial trial (or was it the second, I honestly forget which he was at) provide circumstantial evidence that the paper later found in the file was not part of the initial record. Furthermore, what so many people disregard is the degree to which Galileo made his own life more difficult, and his position more tenuous, by attempting to draw theological conclusions from his scientific premises.

    Finally, I don’t think anyone could realistically say that the Church has ever purported to issue a doctrinal statement regarding Ptolemaic astronomy. Apart from the complete absence of any decree that even begins to meet the requirements, you have the fact that the meaning of the OT statements that seem to touch upon astronomy have been debated by orthodox Church thinkers throughout history. St. Augustine posited that there was something not fully literal about the Genesis creation story because the existence of light is said to precede the existence of the sun and other celestial bodies. (I’ve heard say that modern astrophysics contemplates such a possibility, but my point remains the same.)

    PS — I’m not sure Rick’s point was to advocate geocentrism but rather to make a somewhat snarky semantic criticism of the degree to which the indications of the earth’s rotation and orbit are (non)refutable according to a strict application of the requirements of the scientific method. I believe, like a lot of astronomical observations, that these indicia don’t meet every every single standard for “proving” something scientifically. This does not, of course, mean they are untrue or untrustworthy.

  10. techno_aesthete says:

    How Galileo Brought His Troubles with the Church on Himself

    Sandro Magister’s column: The University of Rome Closes its Doors to the Pope. Here’s the Lesson They Didn’t Want to Hear [In the bottom half of the page there are 1) the L’Osservatore Romano piece by Giorgio Israel, a Jewish professor of the history of mathematics at La Sapienza, 2) a link to John Allen’s piece on the lecture Cardinal Ratzinger gave in 1990 at La Sapienza, and 3) Pope Benedict XVI’s reply to a high school student who asked him how to “harmonize science and faith” – all of which touch upon the Galileo affair.]

  11. Rick DeLano says:

    Kevin:

    The Galileo ruling itself was a matter of ecclesial discipline, but the doctrinal basis for that ecclesial discipline was the assertion, by the Holy Office, that Sacred Scripture, which cannot be interpreted in contradiction to the unanimous sense of the Fathers, was in fact asserting geocentrism.

    Everything I have been able to read would certainly support the Holy Office in its statement.

    No Christian anywhere in the world, so far as I can tell, ever interpreted Scripture to be saying anything other than what it plainly states on its face, over and over again, in dozens of passages, to wit:

    1. The Earth was the first object created “in the beginning”.

    2. The heavens were “stretched out like a tent”, and the Sun, moon and stars arranged in the heavens afterward.

  12. Rick DeLano says:

    Paul:

    You are quite right that the magisterium never taught Ptolemy, nor could it, since Ptolemy’s was merely a contingent, human attempt to “save the appearances”, just as Copernicus’ and Galileo’s (not to mention Lorentz’s and Einstein’s) were.

    It does seem very plain to me, however, that the Holy Office, with the express approval of a Pope, condemned Galileo on grounds that Scripture, as unanimously interpreted by the Fathers, contradicted the heliocentric system, wherein the Sun is at rest at the center of the world and the Earth revolves around it.

    I say again- the heliocewntric system has never been proven, nor has the geocentric system ever been disproven, by any scientific experiment in all of history.

    Therefore, I consider it prudent to follow the advice of Tradition, Fathers, and Popes, and hold to the literal meaning of the Genesis and other Scriptural texts, in the absence of scientific proof that they must be interpreted in any way contrary to the Fathers.

  13. ALL: GALILEO…. remember? GALILEO!

    Not other things.

    Galileo and his treatment by the CHURCH. GALILEO AND THE CHURCH?

  14. Jordan Potter says:

    Rick said: The Galileo ruling itself was a matter of ecclesial discipline, but the doctrinal basis for that ecclesial discipline was the [mistaken] assertion, by the Holy Office, that Sacred Scripture, which cannot be interpreted in contradiction to the unanimous sense of the Fathers, was in fact asserting geocentrism.

    It’s true that the Holy Office based its discipline of Galileo on the belief, now known to be mistaken, that Scripture taught geocentrism. However, St. Robert Bellarmine himself acknowledged that if science were to find that geocentrism is false, the Church would have to look again and explain her Scriptures differently.

    As has been pointed out above, Galileo fell afoul of the Church by rashly advocating for a hypothesis that had no scientific proof, and which was in fact false — contrary to Galileo, the sun is not the center of the universe, just the center of the solar system, and the planetary orbits are ellipses, not perfect circles. In addition, he proposed an erroneous method of scriptural interpretation. So, although it has provided enemies of the Church with ample propaganda, the condemnation of Galileo is regrettable but, given the circumstances of the time, unavoidable. It certainly doesn’t mean the Church puts faith in opposition to science, however. Nor does it mean Catholics must believe the Scriptures and the Fathers teach geocentrism as an article of the Faith.

    As for your continued advocacy of geocentric pseudoscience, I will refrain from any further comments and criticism, as Fr. Zuhlsdorf has already made clear that it’s not pertinent to the topic at hand.

  15. LeonG says:

    Throughout the Galileo controversy The Church always treated him with immense respect and usually great enthusiasm. However, he should have treated his perspective as a hypothesis at the time and not as the truth which is the posture he adopted. With a little more humility, he would have not have had such a confrontation with ecclesiastical discipline. This is a behaviour we frequently confront in natural and social sciences today also – hypotheses are frequently presented as already demonstrated before they are subjected to necessary scrutiny. the media is very adept at amplifying this tendency.

    The Church is a much required institution, in this regard, to apply realistic brakes on such unholy haste and call everyone to the proper objective scientific rigour prior to subsequent falsification or verification. Galileo actually agreed to treat his idea as an hypothesis but did not hold faithfully to this. The consequent suspicions of heresy had no theological or general significance at the time & heliocentrism was not treated as a heresy. Catholic science continued its research unabated provided this view remained at the level of hypothesis only. From a scientific perspective this is reasonable. It is in this light one can agree wholeheartedly with the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI in his approach to the issue. The apology given buy his predecessor was therefore was inappropriate. The Church has nothing to apologize for.

    As a matter for conjecture, the issue of heliocentrism and its exact nature is not a closed book entirely. There is more to come most assuredly. The paradigm could be in for another shift, in time.

  16. Rick DeLano says:

    Rick said: The Galileo ruling itself was a matter of ecclesial discipline, but the doctrinal basis for that ecclesial discipline was the [mistaken] assertion, by the Holy Office, that Sacred Scripture, which cannot be interpreted in contradiction to the unanimous sense of the Fathers, was in fact asserting geocentrism.
    *****************

    Why. Jordan, you apparently have no shame at all, do you? The word “mistaken”, above, is not present in my post. It has been added by you. Shades of Martin Luther……….

    This is scandalous, and yet another indication of a very troubling lack of personal truthfulness on your part.

    Jordan: It’s true that the Holy Office based its discipline of Galileo on the belief, now known to be mistaken,
    ***************

    Jordan, it is not known to be mistaken. Every argument advanced by Galileo, Copernicus, and all successors, in their attempt to prove a motion of the Earth, has been unsuccessful. The scientifically literate know that this failure of any experiment to show a motion of the Earth led directly to the Theory of Relativity, which hypothesizes that the reason no experiment can show a motion of the earth, is that it is intrinsically impossible to arbitrarily prefer one reference frame above another.

    The other possibility, which would be consistent with the actual experimental evidence provided by all terrestrial experiments, would be that the Earth is in fact standing still in space.

    Jordan: that Scripture taught geocentrism.

    It is quite clear that the literal sense of Scripture teaches geocentrism. It is on this basis, along with the equally weighty truth that the unanimous consensus of the Fathers taught that Scripture teaches geocentrism, that Galileo was condemned.

    Jordan:However, St. Robert Bellarmine himself acknowledged that if science were to find that geocentrism is false, the Church would have to look again and explain her Scriptures differently.
    *******************

    Would you be so kind as to provide the quote of St. Bellarmine? I think you are mistaken, which ought not come as an earthshaking surprise at this point. I think you rather refer to a well-known exegetical principle of St. Augustine, which I think is wonderful and true. So, as soon as you come up with your proof of motion of the earth around the sun……..

    JORDAN: As has been pointed out above, Galileo fell afoul of the Church by rashly advocating for a hypothesis that had no scientific proof,

    It still has no scientific proof, to this very day.

  17. Rick DeLano: [y]ou apparently have no shame at all, do you? … This is scandalous, and yet another indication of a very troubling lack of personal truthfulness on your part.

    Stay way from personal remarks/attacks. Stick to issues. Or that last comment will be your last   comment on this blog.

    o{]>:¬(

  18. The best overview of the Galileo affair I’ve seen is here:

    http://academy.galilean-library.org/showthread.php?t=4798

    It’s from an philosophy of science perspective, but details with greater specificity some of the assertions put forward by Fabrizio in your quoted material.

  19. LeonG says:

    Here is the reference for St Robert Bellarmine’s quotation. He was entitled to his opinion. Although it does not alter the substance of the case of Galileo.

    “If there were a real proof that the sun is the centre of the universe, that the earth is in the third heaven, and that the sun does not go round the earth but that the earth round the sun, then we would have to proceed with great circumspection in explaining passages of scripture which appear to teach the contrary, and rather admit that we did not understand them than declare an opinion to be false which is proved to be true. But as for myself, I shall not believe that there are such proofs until they are shown to me.”

    From Volume II of The Life and Work of Blessed Robert Francis Cardinal Bellarmine, S.J., 1542-1621 by James Brodrick on p.359.

  20. Jordan Potter says:

    Rick said: The word “mistaken”, above, is not present in my post.

    Obviously. That’s why I put my editorial comment in brackets and made it the only word not in italics.

    It is quite clear that the literal sense of Scripture teaches geocentrism.

    I disagree, just as I don’t believe that the literal sense of Scripture teaches that God the Father has hands, eyes, ears, a torso, legs, loins, a backside, or wings.

    Lest Father Zuhlsdorf delete this comment for perpetuating a rabbit trail, I will strenuously seek to keep this on topic with the observation that this sort of dispute regarding biblical interpretation played a role in how Galileo came to be disciplined by the Church. In retrospect we can see that Galileo was basically correct that the earth orbits the sun and not vice versa, but his arguments in favor of the Copernican hypothesis led him to stray into matters of biblical interpretation that are the jurisdiction of the Church, not astronomers.

    LeonG said: He was entitled to his opinion.

    Yes, that great Doctor of the Church was entitled to his opinion. I’m entitled to his opinion too. :-D

    The principle St. Robert enunciated is found earlier in St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae (and here I hope Fr. Zuhlsdorf will indulge me):

    First, hold the truth of Scripture without wavering. Second, since Holy Scripture can be explained in a multiplicity of senses, one should adhere to a particular explanation only in such measure as to be ready to abandon it if it be proved with certainty to be false — lest Holy Scripture be exposed to the ridicule of unbelievers, and obstacles be placed to their believing.

    And:

    When philosophers [astronomers and physicists are what would have been called natural philosophers in St. Thomas’ day] are agreed upon a point, and it is not contrary to our faith, it is safer, in my opinion, neither to lay down such a point as a dogma of faith, even though it is so presented by the philosophers, nor to reject it as agaist faith, lest we thus give the wise of this world an occassion of despising our faith.

    I think the problems with the Galileo case and its aftermath are that, in that case the Holy Office didn’t adequately appreciate St. Thomas’ advice.

    St. Thomas’ advice is found in essence in the writings of St. Augustine of Hippo, who wrote in De Genesi ad Litteram:

    One could ask which shape and form of heaven must be accepted by faith on the authority of Holy Scripture. Many dispute about these things which the sacred writers passed by in silence, because they are without importance for attaining eternal life . . . in short, the Spirit of God who spoke through them did not wish to teach things which contribute nothing to salvation.

    And again, in De actis cum Felice Manichaeo:

    One does not read in the Gospel that the Lord said, “I will send to you the Paraclete who will teach you about the course of the sun and moon.” For He willed to make them Christians, not mathematicians.

    Keep in mind how deeply the Holy Father loves St. Augustine and his thought, and we can surmise what his thoughts on the Galileo affair should be expected to be.

  21. Luis says:

    Regarding the statements about Fr. Coyne’s position on Galileo: I tend to doubt that Fr. Coyne shrugged anyone off, but rather has a differing opinion based on his understanding of history. A draft of his “The Church’s Most Recent Attempt to Dispel the Galileo Myth” can be found here, and even if one does not agree with his conclusions, I think it’s a bit of a leap to say that he’s ignoring the facts. He may be wrong, but I’d much rather see a refutation of his claims than a call to agreement with those who foot the bills. (In fact, I would very much like to see his claims addressed, as I’m not very strong on this particular bit of history)

    Also, while I may not always agree with his positions, I’ve never had a reason to doubt Fr. Coyne’s love for the Church, and so I’m a bit uneasy with the “sides with the enemies of the Church” remark. Everything I’ve seem from Fr. Coyne regarding this issue has illustrated his disagreement with the results of the “Galileo Commission”, which is quite different from being against the Church.

  22. Religion is FlimFlam spirituality !!!

    It is beyond amazing that these “snakes in fancy clothing” still have the gall to continue to defend the abomination that was/is the Inquisition. Now we have a Grand Inquisitor Pope (a.k.a., Glory of the Olives…) who personally defends much of the Vatican-Papacy’s most heinous and despicable activities.

    Why does anyone need anymore proof that religious leaders are lying through their teeth to save their own skins? Christianity has been decisively proven to be a Roman deception, and they know the end is nigh!!

    Speaking of more proof…

    Here is comprehensive proof that the symbolism of many ancient texts, canons, and concepts is an advanced and extremely ancient spiritual & philosophical technology that predates all extant religions and mystery schools. Consequently, here is proof, beyond disproof, that all three so-called “Faiths of Abraham” are purposeful deceptions.

    Here is Wisdom…

    Peace…

    [Fr. Z adds: Benighted!]

  23. RBrown says:

    Seven Star Hand,

    It is fairly obvious from looking at your website that you have little idea what constitutes a proof, comprehensive or otherwise.

  24. Jordan Potter says:

    I hope Seven Star Hand is not typical of the students and professors of La Sapienza who got so upset about something the Pope never even said about Galileo.

  25. RBrown says:

    A few points on the Galileo question:

    1. It is imperative to understand that in the Cosmology of St Thomas AND in contemporary physics, Time and Place (also Space) are relative* not absolute. They are accidents not substances.

    And so All Motion is Relative–and this must be the foundation of any understanding of helio or geo-centricism. Observe the Earth from the Sun, and it appears the Earth is moving. Observe the Sun from the Earth, and it appears the Sun is moving.

    2. We also know from contemporary physics (and I think it is implicit in St Thomas’ Cosmology) that all material things, no matter how small or large, are in motion. Thus it is incorrect to say that the Sun (or Earth) doesn’t move. The Cosmos is not static.

    3. The difference between helio and geo-centricism is not that one is right and the other is wrong. But rather it is that the formulae that explain celestial motion in geocentricism are more simple than the formulae that explain motion in heliocentricism.

    4. Thus in Joshua when it says that the Sun stopped moving, it is correct from the observer’s point of view. And if the observer had been on the Sun, it would have appeared that the Earth has stopped moving.

    5. Galileo’s mistake was assuming that motion (thus heliocentricism) is absolute, and so it would contradict Scripture.

    ______

    *Einstein went one better, saying that Time and Space are relative to each other.

  26. RBrown says:

    Who was treated more unjustly by Church authorities, Galileo or those in the 70’s and 80’s who wanted Latin liturgy?

  27. RBrown says:

    Let’s face it: For liberals Galileo does not really refer to Cosmology but rather to Woman “Priests” and Homosexual “Marriage”.

  28. Felix says:

    1. “One of such proofs was ebb tides, which his Jesuit adversaries of the Specola Vaticana rightly attributed to the Moon’s magnetic influence.”

    I don’t know what the Jesuits actually said, but tides are “rightly attributed” to the moon’s gravitational force, not to its magnetic force.

    OK, this is a minor point. But it may cast some doubt about Fabrizio’s expertise.

    2. “The Galileo affair could last only thanks to Protestant and Illuminist propaganda, which oviously made inroads also among Catholics.”

    I suggest that Catholics have to face the Galileo question and not resort to name-calling of this kind.

    3. It’s intriguing that some modern commentators are cheering for Cardinal Bellarmine and booing Galileo.

    But beware of false friends. A lot of these commentators are arguing from a post-modernist viewpoint which is inimical to both Christian faith and scientific enquiry.

    Felix

  29. LeonG says:

    Heliocentrism is in itself inadequate as an explanation in toto since the universe is so massive that we would really need to observe it from without to understand how each part relates to the other. Also, among other factors, Einstein’s theory of mass and the centre of mass has considerable bearing on the subject. There are paradigm shifts to come suggesting that Galileo may not have the final say on this matter with The Church. Furthermore, most people who cry Galileo and Roman Catholic injustice are not really interested in any of these issues but in pursuing their own liberalist-modernist agendas. The Church acted reasonably at the time and this is beyond the comprehension of many who hate The Church and all she has done to build Western civilisation. The mouth is biting the hand that has fed it.

  30. Jordan Potter says:

    RBRown said: the formulae that explain celestial motion in geocentricism are more simple than the formulae that explain motion in heliocentricism.

    I’m not sure how simple the formulae in geocentrism might be, since placing the earth as the static center with everything else in the universe orbiting the earth requires a lot of adjustments to account for the positions and movements of celestial bodies. The “just add epicycles” solution yielded a more and more unwieldy, complicated, and unconvincing hypothesis, spurring the impetus to find other explanations. It’s because geocentrism isn’t simple and beautiful — and we all know instinctively that something God has made should exhibit simplicity and beauty — that scientists went in search of a simple and beautiful alternative. Yes, the initial conception of geocentrism was simple and beautiful: earth at center, all other bodies orbit the earth within perfect spheres. But that conception was shown by observation to be false, as it couldn’t accurately predict the motion and position of celestial bodies anymore, and so was adjusted and adjusted again and again.

    Galileo’s mistake was assuming that motion (thus heliocentricism) is absolute, and so it would contradict Scripture.

    Yes, it’s where he trespassed into biblical interpretation and exegesis that he attracted the concern of the Church. It also didn’t help that in his Dialogue he portrayed the defender of geocentrism as kind of lamebrained, and the Pope couldn’t help but think Galileo was referring to him. He was simply out of his element, and his claims were not supportable by the science of his day. In advocating for heliocentrism (and an inaccurate version of heliocentrism at that), he was causing confusion and tumult at a time when there was already too much religious confusion in Europe, so it’s only to be expected that the Church would tell him to cool it and be quiet.

    Felix said: “The Galileo affair could last only thanks to Protestant and Illuminist propaganda, which oviously made inroads also among Catholics.”

    I suggest that Catholics have to face the Galileo question and not resort to name-calling of this kind.

    Fabrizio wasn’t engaging in name-calling, but was offering an explanation of why the Galileo affair took on a life of its own, attaining a mythical status and used as propaganda with little connection to the historical facts of the matter. Anti-Catholic propaganda certainly promoted the Galileo myth. Of course, the fact that the Church banned heliocentrism in Catholic schools and universities until the 1800s also helped keep the affair alive.

  31. Rob F. says:

    RBrown said, “Galileo’s mistake was assuming that motion (thus heliocentricism) is absolute, and so it would contradict Scripture.”

    Actually Galileo was the first discoverer of the Principle of Relativity. He rejected the notion of absolute velocity. For this reason the principle of relativity is often called “Galilean Relativity”.

    In the 19th century, physicists had a difficult time reconciling Galilean relativity with Maxwell’s equations of electro-magnetism. The principle of relativity was in doubt. Einstein rescued it by reconciling the differences between Maxwell and Galileo; in the process he had to tweak the principle of relativity so that it would hold true at very high velocities (greater than 10 thousand miles per second). His new tweaked principle of relativity is called the Special Theory of Relativity.

    RBrown also said, “The difference between helio and geo-centricism is not that one is right and the other is wrong. But rather it is that the formulae that explain celestial motion in geocentricism are more simple than the formulae that explain motion in heliocentricism.”

    Actually, both Galilean and Einsteinian relativity hold only for inertial reference frames, i.e., reference frames moving in a straight line at a constant velocity. Rotating, revolving, or accelerating reference frames are not inertial. In order to have rotation or revolution, you need to apply centripetal forces to the rotating or revolving objects. The earth needs centripetal forces applied to it to keep it from flying apart as it rotates, and to keep from flying away from the sun as it revolves. These centripetal forces are real, are measurable, have been measured, and clearly indicate that the earth is in fact rotating and revolving.

    There is a good explanation of this at the on-line Catholic Encyclopedia, in the article “Universe” under “U”.

    Rick DeLano said “the heliocewntric system has never been proven, nor has the geocentric system ever been disproven, by any scientific experiment in all of history”.

    If by the heliocentric system you mean the motion of the earth around the sun, this continuously changing, circular motion has been proved by observation of the aberration of starlight (e.g. see article on same at wikipedia). It can also be observed in a laboratory with gyrocompasses.

    Rick DeLano went on to say, “Therefore, I consider it prudent to follow the advice of Tradition, Fathers, and Popes, and hold to the literal meaning of the Genesis and other Scriptural texts, in the absence of scientific proof that they must be interpreted in any way contrary to the Fathers.”

    If there were an absence of scientific proof, you would be right. But the proof is out there; we should all have a look at it.

    Why? In 1990 Cardinal Ratzinger said on this very topic, “The faith does not grow from resentment and the rejection of rationality, but from its fundamental affirmation and from being inscribed in a still greater form of reason…” If we reject the rational conclusions of Newtonian and Einsteinian dynamics, our faith will not grow. And whose faith is so great that it could not benefit from growth?

  32. Simon Platt says:

    Rob F implied that Einstein’s special theory of relativity was so called in contradistinction to galilean relativity. I haven’t read any of Einstein’s papers, I’m afraid, but I think that’s not quite right. Einstein generalised “special” relativity much later, formulating his “general” theory of relativity – which doesn’t rely on an inertial frame of reference.

    Perhaps that’s getting off topic, so here for what it’s worth is what this Catholic physicist thinks:

    I read a little around the story of Galileo and the church a few years ago – sufficiently long ago for the details to have faded but the strong impression to remain. That impression is that Galileo may not have been treated well by the standards of the secular 21st century, but that the modern criticism of his treatment by the Church is animated largely by ignorance, prejudice and antipathy towards the Church. There’s a lot of it about – even in Rome, apparently.

  33. Rick DeLano: “the heliocewntric system has never been proven, nor has the geocentric system ever been disproven, by any scientific experiment in all of history”.

    Actually that the earth goes around the sun, not the sun around the earth has been proved since 1761, when improved telescopes allowed the detection of the “Solar Parallax.” Those who want to see how this works can go to the article “Parallax” on Wikipedia and skim down to the section on the solar variety. The inability to detect this effect was one of the reasons that heliocentrism was not considered scientifically proved in the 1500s.

  34. Opps. I miswrote. I should have said “Stelar Parallax” not “Solar Parallax.”

  35. RBrown says:

    Actually Galileo was the first discoverer of the Principle of Relativity. He rejected the notion of absolute velocity. For this reason the principle of relativity is often called “Galilean Relativity”.

    In the 19th century, physicists had a difficult time reconciling Galilean relativity with Maxwell’s equations of electro-magnetism. The principle of relativity was in doubt. Einstein rescued it by reconciling the differences between Maxwell and Galileo; in the process he had to tweak the principle of relativity so that it would hold true at very high velocities (greater than 10 thousand miles per second). His new tweaked principle of relativity is called the Special Theory of Relativity.”

    Actually, both Galilean and Einsteinian relativity hold only for inertial reference frames, i.e., reference frames moving in a straight line at a constant velocity. Rotating, revolving, or accelerating reference frames are not inertial. In order to have rotation or revolution, you need to apply centripetal forces to the rotating or revolving objects. The earth needs centripetal forces applied to it to keep it from flying apart as it rotates, and to keep from flying away from the sun as it revolves. These centripetal forces are real, are measurable, have been measured, and clearly indicate that the earth is in fact rotating and revolving.

    Sorry for the delay.

    Although Galileo rejected the concept of Absolute Velocity, nevertheless, he still thought that Time was to be treated as an absolute in all reference frames. In so far as Time is intrinsic to motion (i.e., it concerns before and after), it makes no sense for him to think that motion is relative and that Time is an absolute.

    Thus Galileo\’s inconsistent Cosmology: He was right about the notion of absolute Place, but wrong about absolute Time. And so even though he says that all motion is relative, it is problematic how serious he was about it. When he maintains that Scripture was wrong when it spoke of the Sun stopping, isn\’t he in fact saying that motion is not relative?

    2. When you speak of centripetal force, then you are in the realm of Newton not Einstein. Acc to Newtonian mechanics natural motion is straight. Circular motion only exists as a constant modification of linear motion–force at a distance–and so it is defined as constantly changing linear vectors.

    3. Einstein\’s approach is of course different. Circular motion is natural because of the curvature of Space.

  36. RBrown says:

    Also:

    Actually, both Galilean and Einsteinian relativity hold only for inertial reference frames, i.e., reference frames moving in a straight line at a constant velocity. Rotating, revolving, or accelerating reference frames are not inertial.

    Thus General Relativity, which is more to the point I was making.

  37. RBrown says:

    Actually that the earth goes around the sun, not the sun around the earth has been proved since 1761, when improved telescopes allowed the detection of the “Solar Parallax.” Those who want to see how this works can go to the article “Parallax” on Wikipedia and skim down to the section on the solar variety. The inability to detect this effect was one of the reasons that heliocentrism was not considered scientifically proved in the 1500s.
    Comment by Fr. Augustine Thompson O.P.

    That confirms what I said about simplicity. Parallax depends on straight lines. A straight line is the closest, thus most simple, distance between two points.

  38. Henry Edwards says:

    Even from the limited viewpoint of classical circular motion — and aside from the scientifically moot question of which revolves about the other (it depends on your selected viewpoint and coordinate system) — it would not be precise to say that either revolves in a circular orbit about the other, but rather that each revolves in a circle about their common center of mass. So even if their actually elliptical orbits have so little eccentricity that they would appear circular on any reasonable scale, these circles are noticeably “off center”. For instance, the sun is over a million and a half miles from the center of the earth’s seemingly circular orbit, and the earth’s speed in orbit is not constant (as it would be in classical circular motion). And beyond all this, the orbits that Kepler thought to actually be ellipses are not even that in the full Newtonian (or Einsteinian) theory — because of perturbations due to other bodies in the wondrously complex solar system. Of course, all this goes well beyond the scientifically limited issues (however significant historically and philosophically) on which the controversies of Galileo and Copernicus centered.

  39. Rob F. says:

    Henry Edwards said, “Of course, all this goes well beyond the scientifically limited issues (however significant historically and philosophically) on which the controversies of Galileo and Copernicus centered.” Truer words were never spoken.

    In 1990 Cardinal Ratzinger urged us not to fall prey to resentment. So I urge RBrown to treat Galileo with some charity and not make statements like, “He was right about the notion of absolute Place, but wrong about absolute Time. And so even though he says that all motion is relative, it is problematic how serious he was about it.”

    I counter that Galileo understood quite well the consequences of his Principle of Relativity. The velocity of the Earth today relative to the velocity of the Earth six months from now 60 km/s. This relative motion is a Galilean invariant which means that in ALL inertial reference frames, the motion of the Earth in January relative to the Earth in July is 60 km/s. Thus the Principle of Relativity means precisely that rotation and revolution are not relative, since these are descriptions of relative motion, and relative motion is a Galilean invariant.

    Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity (ESTR) demands the same conclusion, although the math is a little bit more complicated. ESTR does not have Galilean invariants, but it does have Lorentz invariants which lead us to draw the same conclusion about rotation and revolution.

    RBrown also said, “it makes no sense for him to think that motion is relative and that Time is an absolute”. Those are strong words. In fact it made perfect sense for Galileo to think exactly that, since Maxwell’s equations had not yet been formulated. Would even Einstein have thought of ESTR without Maxwell’s equations?

    At any rate, the Church did not condemn Galileo for believing in absolute time.

  40. RBrown says:

    In 1990 Cardinal Ratzinger urged us not to fall prey to resentment. So I urge RBrown to treat Galileo with some charity and not make statements like, “He was right about the notion of absolute Place, but wrong about absolute Time. And so even though he says that all motion is relative, it is problematic how serious he was about it.

    Since when is it falling prey to resentment or a lack of charity to say that someone is wrong?

    I counter that Galileo understood quite well the consequences of his Principle of Relativity. The velocity of the Earth today relative to the velocity of the Earth six months from now 60 km/s. This relative motion is a Galilean invariant which means that in ALL inertial reference frames, the motion of the Earth in January relative to the Earth in July is 60 km/s. Thus the Principle of Relativity means precisely that rotation and revolution are not relative, since these are descriptions of relative motion, and relative motion is a Galilean invariant.

    Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity (ESTR) demands the same conclusion, although the math is a little bit more complicated. ESTR does not have Galilean invariants, but it does have Lorentz invariants which lead us to draw the same conclusion about rotation and revolution.

    Once again, I refer to the General Theory of Relativity. In the Special Theory Einstein assumes the uniformity of all inertial frames of reference. In the General Theory, however, inertial frames are jettisoned, replaced with curved Space-Time.

    RBrown also said, “it makes no sense for him to think that motion is relative and that Time is an absolute”. Those are strong words. In fact it made perfect sense for Galileo to think exactly that, since Maxwell’s equations had not yet been formulated. Would even Einstein have thought of ESTR without Maxwell’s equations?

    At any rate, the Church did not condemn Galileo for believing in absolute time.

    I’m sure it made perfect sense for Galileo–but it also made sense for him to say that Scripture was wrong.

    Once again: Time is intrinsic to Motion–thus Motion cannot be considered to be relative as long as Time is considered to be absolute. Thus, I am defending Galileo by saying that a flaw in his Cosmology was the basis for him rejecting to a certain text of Scripture.