When people say stupid things about the Church, can you respond? REVIEW: Michael Coren

This note from The Catholic League about the ignorant boor and failed-TV personality Keith Olbermann gives me a chance to talk about something else.

But first, the note from The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue:

On last night’s edition of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” the host claimed that Galileo was punished by the Catholic Church for “his belief that the earth orbited the sun and not the other way around.” He also said that “the Church acknowledged errors had been committed in assessing Galileo’s scientific beliefs. They did that in 1992.”

Commenting on this is Catholic League president Bill Donohue:

It is not for nothing that Olbermann’s new show is drawing such phenomenal advertisers like “Furniture Fix” and “Gyro Ball.” Indeed, whenever a show has to rely on junk products for revenue (the sure give-away is when they advertise that the buyer gets “two for the price of one”), it’s an ominous sign. More than ominous is the intellectual acuity of Olbermann.

The fact is that the belief that the earth revolves around the sun was first broached by Copernicus, in 1543, and that was many moons before Galileo was even born. Copernicus not only did not get into trouble with the Catholic Church—he was a priest. Moreover, when Galileo first floated Copernicus’ idea, he was bestowed with medals and gifts by Pope Urban VIII. What got him censured was his arrogance: Galileo argued that his hypothesis was a scientific fact, something which even the scientific community of his day scoffed at. It is instructive that Father Roger Boscovich didn’t get into hot water with the Church at the time, and yet he also explored Copernican ideas.

It is false to say that in 1992 the Catholic Church acknowledged errors in dealing with Galileo. That happened in 1741 when Pope Benedict XIV granted an imprimatur to the first edition of the completed works of Galileo. What happened in 1992 was the release of a Pontifical Academy report on the controversy.

If Olbermann were simply wrong, that would be one thing. But it was his snide delivery that was really offensive. Glad we taped his new show—we knew it wouldn’t be long before he threw a low-blow at the Catholic Church.

Contact the executive producer, David Sarosi: countdown@current.com

Contact our director of communications about Donohue’s remarks:
Jeff Field
Phone: 212-371-3191
E-mail: cl@catholicleague.org

That said, I received a book a little while ago by Michael Coren called Why Catholics Are Right.

This book intends to provide the reader with answers and responses to some questions and controversies which we hear in the news and conversations.  It is a work of “catechism” and apologetics.   Catholics have to know the Faith and have to be able to explain the Faith.  Catholics have to be able to respond to questions from others and even attacks from others.  Some of those questions and attacks are really classsics, old chestnuts, saws, canards, clichés.

One of them, of course, concerns Galileo.

If you were in a conservation with someone challenging you about how backward the Church is about science, flinging Galileo in your face, what would you say?  How would you explain Galileo?

Coren, a Canadian journalist, has provided a well-written, well-reasoned source for your preparation for these conversations… not to mention your own questions.

He doesn’t just talk about Galileo, of course, but that section is particularly useful.  He actually explains – and this isn’t always done – that Galileo had the charm of a radial-arm saw, and therefore alienated all his patrons.  But I digress.

Coren’s book a a good read for continuous reading.  Alas, it suffers from a flaw: it doesn’t have an index.  And the table of contents is too thin to provide a substitute.  If you are looking, for example, for a response on contraception, you’ve got to page around.

Therefore, if you get it, from the first page use a pen.  Write notes in the margins and make your own index in the back.  That’s what I do with books that are supposed to be useful but suffer from this flaw (e.g., far too many books from Ignatius Press).

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, REVIEWS, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice, Throwing a Nutty and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. SonofMonica says:

    Why should anyone in the Catholic Church today have to respond to accusations about anything that supposedly happened with respect to certain people in the 1600’s? Even assuming something improper happened when viewed through a thoroughly historical lens, no Catholic alive today is guilty by association. Oh, wait… That’s what the media does. Guilt by association.

  2. HyacinthClare says:

    The Kindle version of Why Catholics Are Right is $13.99 and its “Search” function might help where the index is missing.

  3. Andy Lucy says:

    “… the charm of a radial arm saw…”


    That is going into my daily vocabulary.

  4. MarkH says:

    “If you were in a conservation with someone challenging you about how backward the Church is about science, flinging Galileo in your face, what would you say? How would you explain Galileo?”

    One simple, direct, conversational defense to the Galileo charge (albeit nonresponsive to Galileo directly) is: name ANOTHER scientist that the Church, in 2,000 years, has oppressed? Crickets will chirp, because the answer is none. [But.. that accepts the premise. In truth, the Church did not “oppress” Galileo.]

  5. Joshua08 says:

    Copernicus was not a priest. Donohue should do some fact checking of his own. He was a cleric, but never received major orders.

    Also, he needs to check on the status of heliocentric works. It wasn’t until 1758 that the general prohibition of heliocentric works was removed from the Index. And it wasn’t until 1835 that Galileo’s Dialogue was removed from the Index. What was allowed before was a censored version. Note the “corrections” made were fairly minor (in the case of Copernicus’ text only about 10 sentences or less were altered). Of course Copernicanus gets way too much credit for his astronomy anyways. He is in fact quite hypocrtical in his criticisms of Tycho-Brahe and Ptolemy and has to introduce the equant. It wasn’t until Kepler abandoned perfect circles that the any real head way was made. On the other hand, Copernicus did advance economic theory, especially monetary theory.

  6. APX says:

    Apologetics is something I was never taught in school. I didn’t even know what the word meant. When I first heard the term used to describe someone I assumed it had something do with being appointed by Rome to give formal apologies on its behalf. Imagine my enlightenment when I actually learned what it meant.

    This book really interests me, as I can’t defend squat as I found out at work the other day when an an anti-religion co-worker went on an anti-Catholic rant about how we’ve all been manipulated and that there’s no dfference between Catholicism and a cult. (How a conversation on a customer being offended by being called “ma’am” to that is beyond me.)

    If I can get this book in an actual bookstore, I’ll buy it today. Otherwise I’ll have to wait until after the postal strike ends to order it.

  7. MichaelJ says:

    Have you heard of or read Seven Lies About Catholic History? According to Angelus Press:

    In Seven Lies about Catholic History, Diane Moczar (Islam at the Gates) tackles the most infamous and prevalent historical myths about the Church—popular legends that you encounter everywhere from textbooks to TV—and reveals the real truth about them. She explains how they got started and why they’re still around, and best of all, she gives you the facts and the arguments you need to set the record straight.

    I was wondering if you had any input, good or bad, about this book.

  8. benedetta says:

    Must be fun to host a tv show where you need not bother with historical fact and just make them up and you see fit. Especially when it comes to something touching upon the Catholic Church…Even my kid knows about Copernicus…and Mendel…and the Jesuit priests and brothers who are astronomers.

    Funny we were just discussing Mendel the other day with respect to the way genetics plays out when planting the seeds of plants which are hybrids.

    Needless to say we don’t feel overall that we are missing out on lots of Important Stuff and Opinion bypassing tv as the first choice for passing the time…or news…or entertainment…or culture…and you don’t need ads in order to be a wise shopper…

  9. MichaelJ says:

    Joshua08, do you happen to know why there was a general prohibition of of heliocentric works prior to 1758?

  10. St. Rafael says:

    Geocentrism is making a comeback as more and more Catholics are seeing that it is the correct model. Geocentrism right now is at the stage that Creationism was in the ’70s. Today evolution is completely discredited as the false science and naturalist philosophy that it is. Special creation and Creationism is the obvious truth about the origin of the universe, as so many Evangelicals and Traditional Catholics have demonstrated beyond doubt. The only serious dispute now is between old-Earth creationists and young-Earth creationists.

    Catholic apologist Dr. Robert Sungenis is the leading Catholic proponent among others, for Geocentrism. He co-wrote with a scientist, a two-volume work on the scientific proof and Magisterial Church teaching for Geocentrism.
    It is called Galileo was wrong the Church was righ volumes 1&2.

    The website for the Catholic study and support for Geocentrism:

  11. pjthom81 says:

    Response to the Galileo charge? Cardinal Bellarmine had stated that it was fine to teach the heliocentric theory as theory, but would not let it be taught as scientific law until proof was conclusive. What’s wrong with that? The publication of the Dialogues made Pope Urban VIII feel that he was being personally attacked, and the fight seems to have become more personal than over science at that point.

    Meanwhile, another point. Catholicism created the West by its inheritance of the Classical culture and the Greco-Roman worldview, with its love for science and the arts. Catholicism married this worldview to the Judeo-Christian ethos expressed in scripture. Protestants deny one half, militant secularists the other. Put another way the Reformation and the French Revolution both deny one half of the mixture that produced the West and are in a sense two sides of the same coin. The Modern West is built upon the shattered fragments of the original Catholic synthesis. I suspect that only Catholicsm could unite it again. Time for a new Rennaisance perhaps?

  12. Joshua08 – Let’s not fall into the opposite error – it is not known if Copernicus was ever ordained. He might have been, might not have been. He was a cannon, which is a clerical job, so it probably makes no difference to non-Catholics. He worked for the Church at least officially and some of the time, died in Her arms and was buried with honor with the other cannons – that’s the point, right?

    Also, the first widely accepted physical proof of the earth’s movement was Foucault’s Pendulum – in 1851. While most educated people had come to accept the heliocentric hypothesis over the preceding centuries, Foucault’s Pendulum was a sensation – that’s how important it was thought to be. Even then, it’s one step removed from proving heliocentricism – it just shows the earth moves, it’s another step to say it orbits the sun. The Church’s reactions are pretty timely, especially for an institution that tends to think in centuries.

    The most interesting development here is that scientific thought moved from requiring mathematical-level proof to just going with the preponderance of the evidence: astronomy had completed its move from a branch of mathematics to a branch of natural philosophy.

  13. Charles E Flynn says:

    Galileo in Rome: The Rise and Fall of a Troublesome Genius

    Description (from my Booxter database, source not recorded):

    Galileo’s trial by the Inquisition is one of the most dramatic incidents in the history of science and religion. Today, we tend to see this event in black and white–Galileo all white, the Church all black. Galileo in Rome presents a much more nuanced account of Galileo’s relationship with Rome. The book offers a fascinating account of the six trips Galileo made to Rome, from his first visit at age 23, as an unemployed mathematician, to his final fateful journey to face the Inquisition. The authors reveal why the theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun, set forth in Galileo’s Dialogue, stirred a hornet’s nest of theological issues, and they argue that, despite these issues, the Church might have accepted Copernicus if there had been solid proof. More interesting, they show how Galileo dug his own grave. To get the imprimatur, he brought political pressure to bear on the Roman Censor. He disobeyed a Church order not to teach the heliocentric theory. And he had a character named Simplicio (which in Italian sounds like simpleton) raise the same objections to heliocentrism that the Pope had raised with Galileo. The authors show that throughout the trial, until the final sentence and abjuration, the Church treated Galileo with great deference, and once he was declared guilty commuted his sentence to house arrest. Here then is a unique look at the life of Galileo as well as a strikingly different view of an event that has come to epitomize the Church’s supposed antagonism toward science.

    There is an excellent review of this book, with references to other works on the subject, by particle physicist Stephen M. Barr:

    Galileo in Rome: The Rise and Fall of a Troublesome Genius and Galileo’s Mistake: A New Look at the Epic Confrontation between Galileo and the Church

    Here is Barr’s description of the qualifications of the two authors of this book:

    The new book by William R. Shea and Mariano Artigas, Galileo in Rome: The Rise and Fall of a Troublesome Genius, represents the finest in modern Galileo scholarship. Shea holds the “Galileo Chair” in the History of Science at the University of Padua, where Galileo was once professor of mathematics. Artigas, a Catholic priest with doctorates in physics and philosophy, is Professor of the Philosophy of Science at the University of Navarra.

  14. kat says:

    I have recently ordered a copy of this book, and cannot wait to get it (Angelus Press):

    Seven Lies About Catholic History
    Diane Moczar
    STK# 8486

    Seven Lies About Catholic History
    Click to enlarge

    Most good Catholics can explain the Faith fairly well; they can make a reasonable defense of the Church and her teachings. But they usually
    can’t do the same when it comes to history, especially in several famous cases, such as the Inquisition, and Galileo. In the past, to
    understand these matters thoroughly, you would have to spend hours of painstaking research. Now, with this wonderful book, you can gain mastery of
    the essentials in much less time. Diane Moczar has done a marvelous job of synthesis and simplification for the average Catholic reader.
    The next time you are challenged on these seven famous lies, you will be able to answer quickly and concisely. You will be able to cut through
    the slogans and expose the modern, politically correct assumptions which permeate our world. Add this book to your library; it will strengthen your Faith.

    The world hates the Church that Jesus founded, just as He said it would (John 15:18). It reviles her doctrines, mocks her moral teachings and
    invents lies about her history. In every age, but especially in our modern day, historians and political powers have distorted the facts about
    her past (or just made up novel falsehoods from scratch) to make the Church, and the civilization it fostered, seem corrupt, backward, or simply evil.

    In Seven Lies about Catholic History, Diane Moczar (Islam at the Gates) tackles the most infamous and prevalent historical myths
    about the Church popular legends that you encounter everywhere from textbooks to T.V. and reveals the real truth about them. She explains
    how they got started and why they re still around, and best of all, she gives you the facts and the arguments you need to set the record straight about:

    The Inquisition: how it was not a bloodthirsty institution but a merciful (and necessary) one
    Galileo s trial : why moderns invented a myth
    around it to make science appear incompatible with the Catholic faith (it s not)
    The Reformation: why the 16th-century Church was not
    totally corrupt (as even some Catholics wrongly believe), and how the reformers made things worse for everybody and other lies that the world uses to attack and discredit the Faith.
    Written in a brisk style that s fun and easy to read, Seven Lies about Catholic History provides the lessons that every Catholic needs in order to
    defend and explain not just apologize for the Church s rich and complex history.

    189 pp. Softcover.

  15. Jerry says:

    Mr. Donohue’s response would have been far more effective had he dropped the first paragraph and the last sentence.

  16. mike cliffson says:

    It IS worth mugging up on Galileo, the subject comes up SO often. It won’t stop THEM playing gotcha.
    In my yuf THEY were made uncomfortable by Koestler’s book, “the sleepwalkers.”Good Catholic critics have, Im sure rightly, attacked a great many technicalities in it-but without replacing said “sleepwalkers”, readable and understandable, ” except by stuff that comes over as “dusty triumphalistic ultramontane bombast inpointscoring ignorance of science by armchaired men of letters, Catholic talibans”.
    Nor, although it’s tempting, should one vouch to them for Koestler’s book as being written by one of THEM: hate isn’t exactly disinterested nor a guarantee of truth: for all his anticatholic bias, which survived his retreat from being an active communist secret agent under stalin, did not stop him from being after investigation rather more prothe church in Galileo’s case than otherwise.(And the poor soul suicided out of oldageillness with his wife comitting suttee, such a shame, he was moving in the right direction, God have mercy on them both)
    That said, Well worth a read, The book is far better than the beeb’s megacilious serialization of it (which had its moments, but..).
    Briefly: Copernicus was plenty more than a generation before Brahe, Kepler, and Galileo. Galileo not only was guilty of a bit of bad(with hindsight, or even being uptodate in his own time) science, outside his own established field, in which his reputation was assured and deserved , in that he maintained perfect circular orbits, using an instument, the telescope, whose invention he had plagiarized for cash (We all gotta eat, honeychile), and whose working theory he could not explain, used a palpable slipshod (wishful thinking?)working error with tides, buried in unsurpassed scientific writing….
    But also, as I understand it , he wanted the church to go futher than just accept Cpoernican theory, perfect circles at unchanging speeds, epicyles and all, which after all had fussed noone except luther and academic s for a hundred years,
    he wanted authority to banish from the public square , like Modern darwinistis and Global warmers, al but HIS theory , he wanted the church to proclaim HIS copernicism, details and all as the only truth.
    That the church “overreacted”, – it could hardly go along- , and how, has been very well thrashed out by others than Koestler. I don’t know a good single source.(I don’t think I can understand thetheological misuse of the sun standing still so as Joshua should have time to bop the enemy good and proper.I need a J’s brain, sanctity, and training – the argument implicitly assumes that the Creator is subject to one aspect of his own creation, time itself, or somthing like that, as opposed to almighty. Don’t ask me.The vatican at the time were clued up enough to smell a rat, but lacked the finesse to trap it convincingly? Confession: I sympathize: Ive had brilliant class-wrecking students I knew were gits, so waited to pounce ,for the sake of their classmates- and my own pride- unjustly on them for not exactly what they’ve done, creating a bad precedent.)
    But, if scientific progress be our only criterion, should the church have wedded itself to a theory only a quarter of the way to kepler, less than that to Newton , and let’s leave Einsteinout, for the sake of its most hollywood aspect , heliocentricity- makes a good pic- things’d ve been far worse.
    I supect even after the present anticatholic favourites have died away and we’re all in the grave, “galileo” will still be with us along with ya boo sucks fword crusades racist machista crusader papisher, babylon, whoretherof, etc.
    This one will run and run.

    [You need to edit and check your spelling. Really.]

  17. mike cliffson says:

    Sorry . Humble pie.

  18. Joshua08 says:

    Michaelj, as to why there was a general prohibition, that requires some speculation. It seems to me with Bellarmine for instance, holy man he was, there was a dearth of understanding the scriptures. He flatly states in a letter something quite false, namely that all the Fathers, etc held these passages about geocntrism in that sense. Aquinas, for one, explicitly states that the Ptolemaic-Aristotelian hypothesis, including a stationary earth, is only probable and has no problem admitting it may not be the case. And several fathers had different views on astronomy. I think there was a strong reaction to Protestantism and in particular we see that many devotions, practices, etc of the middle ages were abolished/curbed by the Counter-Reformation in a direction to at least quell protestant charges (for instance the Beguines lost their independence and third orders became more formalized, chancel screens were torn down, etc). Anyhow, not to go too far afield, I think there was a strong concern not to appear to be dismissing scripture and an overeaction.

    To Ishmael. You mean a canon, not a cannon (I have this funny image of him shooting grapeshot out of his mouth now). In any case he certainly was ORDAINED. Just not as a priest. That is the general historical consensus. It does not seem he ever made promises of celibacy, hence excluding the subdiaconate, but some thought he may have received that order. Considering his positions and activities it would be an historical oddity, at the time, for him to have been a priest. The most probable case is that he was in minor orders.

    It is, sadly, false to say of Bellarmine that he was merely asserting that heliocentrism was a theory. No. That misses the whole point and is anachronistic. Astronomy was about saving the appearances. He made it very clear that when heliocentrism was invoked as a model “to save the appearances”, simplify math, etc, it was legitimate. He flatly rejected it even as a “theory” if it claimed that is how it really was. The former is like epicycles and eccentric orbits in Ptolemy, both do the job. Or like the equant in Ptolemy or Copernicus (hence his hypocrisy…he attacks Ptolemaic astronomy because it introduces the equant and ends up doing it himself). The latter is far more how we think of science today. It took till Kepler to tidy up the math (there being foci in an ellipitical orbit solved the problem of the equant). And Newton to provide a coherent natural theory that, albeit only in part, seeks a basis for the mathematics.

    Hence the few, minor, alterations of Copernicus’ work. There was already several caveats and explanations offered in the original, mostly in the Preface, stating he was not making any claims about reality, but saving appearances. The 10 or so sentences omitted or corrected to avoid the Index was to keep it in that tenor. I am sorry to say, but Donahue is grossly simplifying things. We ignore the very trepidation imposed on Copernicus, who knew what he was doing would be controversial. And we ignore that it was a Dominican before Galileo’s time that started the charge, within the Catholic Church, against Copernicanism (he argued for Rome to condemn, as it later did albeit only as a natural theory not a mathematical model, Copernicus’ writings). Real history is rarely simple enough, sadly, to deal with anti-Catholics without losing accuracy. Which is why, I suppose, I have trouble with apologetics!

  19. theophilus says:

    St. Rafael,

    The way to win this argument is not to say that Geocentrism is correct. That is exactly how to lose a debate. Geocentrism is verifiably false, and has been for a long time. I advise you to ignore those who claim Geocentrism is making a comeback. It is certainly not.

  20. St. Rafael says:

    Geocentrism is verifiably false, and has been for a long time. I advise you to ignore those who claim Geocentrism is making a comeback. It is certainly not.

    Take a look at the website, check out the materials and the book. The case can be made from science, history, and the Church that Geocentrism was indeed right all along. Catholic experts are making the case if one is ready to face the debate and arguments. Catholics can investigate the website and reach their own conclusions. Dismissing it outright at the beginning and claiming it is false without looking at the evidence does not prove heliocentrism. With the advances in science and technology, the heliocentrism v. geocentrism debate will pick up steam in the coming years.

  21. jflare says:

    St Rafael,
    I did, indeed, take a look at the web page you cited. I see a few problems, the least of them being that I don’t see a declaration of what “geocentrism” purports to proclaim, especially as opposed to “heliocentrism”.
    I understand heliocentrism to be the idea that all objects in the Solar System rotate about their own axes, but revolve around the sun, while the sun itself revolves around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. I would think then, that geocentrism would declare that all objects still rotate about their own axes, but that they all revolve around earth; maybe earth would revolve about the Milky Way’s center, in lieu of the sun? Maybe.

    Changing the theory of what revolves around what has a MAJOR impact on precisely where objects in space might be at a given time.

    If our Solar System DID operate by geocentrism, I think our various space probes would’ve encountered serious problems with their intended paths by now. Voyager a d other probes assumed heliocentric orbits for their flight paths. If they’d been using geocentric orbits, flights past Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Pluto, or anything else most likely would’ve gone..somewhere else.

    Since our space probes have gone past their intended targets, I think it’s safe to assume that heliocentrism best explains the Solar System, likely the Milky Way and the universe too.

  22. jflare says:

    BTW, both Newtonian and (I think) Einsteinian physics would tend to undermine the credibility of a geocentric theory. Both schools of thought require that if one body in space revolves around another, the orbit will depend a great deal on both the speed of revolving body AND the degree of gravitational pull that the larger body can exert upon the smaller. That gravitational pull will be dependent on the mass of both objects.
    I don’t know what the masses of the sun and earth are; I DO know that the sun outweighs earth by several orders of magnitude at least; I think the difference may actually be in the hundreds.

    For my knowledge, the earth has nowhere near the amount of mass required to “hold on” to the sun.

  23. Because there’s a fair ammount of confusion running around, I just want to repeat that Creation is even weirder than the categories “Geo-” and “Heliocentrism” will allow; that is, in the best known mathematical model of observed phenomena, there is no natural way to pin the universe of astronomy on a “central” point in space. Even the Sun measurably wobbles against the background of the remoter stars, kicked about by the planets; but, worse than that, space itself wriggles and stretches. It comes down to that, between separated heavy things one cannot even define a unique instantaneous distance, and the best one can do is keep track of the time it takes for RADAR echos to return — though gravity puts wrinkles even in that attempt at order!

  24. To Joshua08:

    For someone who throws stones, you need to be more careful yourself.

    “Copernicus was not a priest. Donohue should do some fact checking of his own. He was a cleric, but never received major orders.”

    Though there is some uncertainty in the matter, Copernicus is usually held to have received holy orders. In 1537, King Sigismund of Poland nominated Copernicus for the vacant episcopal seat of Ermland, makes it probable that, at least in later life, he had entered the priesthood. At BEST you can only say the exact level of Holy Orders Copernicus received is under debate. Flatly stating it as historical fact is not supported by history herself.

    As to “He is in fact quite hypocrtical in his criticisms of Tycho-Brahe …”. Really? Tycho-Brahe lived from 1546 until 1601. Copernicus died in 1543, some three years BEFORE the birth of Tycho-Brahe.
    Copernicus was insightful in many areas, but I do not think he was prescient.

    To all:
    One of the things often overlooked in the Galileo debate is that the modern scientific community of the time more or less felt that Copernicus was likely right (the heliocentric view), but that Galileo’s dogged insistence of perfect circular orbits was just plain wrong. While it took decades and a Tyco and a Kepler to get it right (ellipses), the state of observational astronomy was such that they knew Galileo’s perfect circles was just not accurate. Geocentrism, on the other hand could, could improve upon its accuracy by simply adding another epicycle. This allowed astronomers to use what amounts to a curve fitting technique to achieve any level of accuracy desired.

    If you look at the scientific debate of the time, Galileo was just not able to demonstrate his perfect circle heliocentrism to the scientific community as the exact explanation. Many felt it was a better idea (Occam’s razor argument), but it was just not as accurate as geocentrism of the time. To replace an established theory, one needs a theory that is better across the boards and heliocentrism could not do that until perfect circles were abandoned.

  25. MichaelJ says:

    are you certain that Voyager and other probes assumed heliocentric orbits for their flight paths? I read the exact opposite, that they assumed a stationary earth, but this may have been referring to other ventures into space.

  26. jflare says:

    May I ask where you read that?

  27. mike cliffson says:

    This is internet, we could be anything, but I ‘ d guess all commenters are faithful sons of the church. This isn’t going to shake our faith, and the details are fascinating. But if the church is attacked, Fr’s title more or less, to this post of his, we can get tangled up on “their ” turf. “Come on , give a straight answer : who was right, the church or Galileo? ” “Have you stopped beating your wife, yes or no?”
    Some things are that simple. Abortion is murder.
    Some human affairs aren’t. A secular example, with catholic connections: I remember a very nice and well-meaning and openminded American I met these 40years or more ago backpacking around Europe . We talked about Ulster, he was eager to understand, but was looking for “the good guys”, and I gave him chapter and verse on how none of the many subdivisions were knights in shining armour, avoiding my own feelings on who is more sinned against than sinning, on aggregate. If he’d been out looking for a justification for an inherited prejudice, or to fit in with media coverage, a simple single image to encapsulate the whole thing, our conversation would have been pointless. And he wouldn’t have liked the broad brushstroke: the evil that Henry VIII , started, building on what Luther framed, hasn’t worked through yet.

  28. MichaelJ says:

    Quite honestly, I cannot remember (it was quite a while ago) As I recall, though, it was a raging geocentrism debate on AngelQueen (I think) although I could have followed a citation to a document on Robert Suegenis’ (sp?) site

  29. jflare says:

    I checked on the Jet Propulsion Lab website where they discussed the missions that Voyager I and II had been designed for. Beings the debate of geo- vs helio- wasn’t the point, they never stated either term explicitly. They DID, however, state pretty clearly that the original paths had been designed with the intent of passing as many planets as possible without leaving the plane of the planets’ orbit about the sun, so I think heliocentric is a safe assumption.

  30. AnAmericanMother says:

    mike cliffson,
    The very best kind of American — and you can find them in the South, or the Midwest, or even (but not as often) in the cities — combines a desire for justice (which they often describe as “fairness”) with a desire to know how it should be applied. That is their birthright, if it hasn’t been educated out of them or distorted by false notions of what is just and fair. They sometimes get muddled up and don’t understand explanations, but they honestly and truly want to understand what — and who — is right. And, while they are a little disappointed to learn that in some circumstances nobody is right, they will accept that if it’s put to them gently.
    And you have to be careful, or they will set out to “fix” things — sometimes with comical, sometimes with tragic results. Kipling observed this in “An Error in the Fourth Dimension”.

  31. mike cliffson says:

    American Mother:

Comments are closed.