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Old Oct 2, '10, 8:26 am
cassini cassini is offline
Join Date: November 17, 2008
Posts: 1,655
Religion: catholic
Default Re: Has the Church ever been wrong?

Originally Posted by DavidPalm View Post
Actually, St. Bellarmine wrote words to that effect (the words above are not an exact quote, despite the quotation marks) in a private letter, not at the trial of Galileo. The private opinion even of a saint and Doctor is not the same as the teaching of the Church.

And Cassini continues to speak of the 1616 decree as a "papal decree" which is factually incorrect. It was a decree of the Congregation of the Index, approved by the Pope only in forma communi (see my comments on this here and here.) Granny is correct to state that a decree of a Roman Congregation approved in forma communi is incapable of establishing a universally binding theological dogma.
It was the Church itself that insisted the decree was papal, not I. Here the minutes of Galileo's 1633 trial to prove it:

Trial minutes: “Understanding,” the Congregation said, “that, through the publication of a work at Florence entitled Dialogo di Galileo Galilei delle due massime Sisteme del Mundo Ptolemaico e Copernicano, the false opinion of the motion of the earth and the stability of the sun was gaining ground, it had examined the book, and had found it to be a manifest infringement of the injunction laid on you, since you in the same book have defended an opinion already condemned, and declared to your face to be so, in that you have tried in the said book, by various devices, to persuade yourself that you leave the matter undetermined, and the opinion expressed as probable; the which, however, is a most grave error, since an opinion can in no manner be probable which has been declared, and defined to be, contrary to the divine Scripture.”

Thus the declaration of the Index, for which all the authority of an absolutely true decision was claimed, was identified with the condemnatory judgement made known to Galileo by a Congregation held in the Pope’s presence. This was significant enough; but mark what followed.

Trial minutes “And when a convenient time had been assigned you for your defence, you produced the following certificate in the handwriting of the most eminent Lord Cardinal Bellarmine [Here the Commission quotes Bellarmine’s 1616 testamur for Galileo to say he was not made abjure anything]:
‘We, Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, …declare that the said Signor Galileo Galilei has not abjured (The abjuration was a solemn profession of faith, accompanied with a renouncement of every opinion opposed to the Church’s teaching, exacted only from those attainted of some crime implying unsoundness of faith. Hence Galileo’s anxiety to return to Florence after the proceedings of 1616 with a testamur that he had not abjured, and therefore was not guilty of any breach contrary to the Catholic faith at that time 1616.), … but only the declaration made by the Holy Father, and published by the Sacred Congregation of the Index, has been intimated to him, …-that the earth moves round the sun, and that the sun is stationary in the centre of the world, and does not move from east to west- is contrary to the Holy Scriptures, and therefore cannot be defended or held.’

Trial minutes: "… procured, as you said, to protect you from the calumnies of your enemies, who had put it about that you had abjured, and had been punished by the Holy Office; in which certificate it is affirmed that you had not abjured, had not been punished, but only that the declaration made by our Lord the Pope, and promulgated by the Sacred Congregation of the Index; had been announced to you the tenor whereof is, that the doctrine of the motion of the earth, and of the fixity of the sun, is contrary to the Sacred Scriptures, and therefore can neither be defended, nor held. “But this very certificate produced in your defence has rather aggravated the charge against you; for it asserts that the above-mentioned opinion is contrary to Holy Scripture: yet you dared to treat of it, to defend it, and advance it as probable.”

Here, then, the Congregation plainly made it known that the decision of the Index was Papal. But Papal in what sense? In a sense, according to what had been said above, to make it a most grave error to suppose that the opinion condemned thereby could in any manner be probable. In a sense, according to the sentence that followed, to justify its being classed with those declarations and definitions, the conclusiveness of which it would be heresy to deny. Papal in such a way that a Catholic might be compelled to yield its doctrine the assent of faith.

So much for the 1616 decree not being of faith and not being papal. The above is the judgement of the Church. Yours and those of granny are but your own apologist opinions. I will follow the Church's position every time.
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