Galileo controversy


What happened with Galileo? Why do people get mad about it? Did members of the Church do something wrong?


It’s called peer review. Galileo’s ideas were discussed by a committee of the best and most eminent thinkers of the time, and declared to be false.

The members of the committee weren’t personally to blame. There were certain problem with Galileo’s theory. Firstly he proposed a universe with two centres of rotation - the Earth and the Sun - without explaining how such an arrangement could come about. Another was that he had no explanation for the parallax problem - the stars do not move in relation to the Earth.

Now of course both of these problems have been solved. The real mistake was to assume that, because the Church had invented science, she was also the chief authority on scientific questions. It was an easy mistake to make, and in fact the lesson hasn’t been learnt. Scientists have reverted to peer review.


Galileo basically was given permission by the Pope to write a book outlining heliocentrism. In a rude gesture, Galileo went on to put the words of the Pope in the mouth of the stupid character (“Simplico”) in the book. Thus he lost all support and was put under house arrest (in his mansion). The Galileo trial had more to do with politics and personal honor than heliocentrism.


I’d heard it was more for the fact that Galileo adamantly declared that the sole and only way to the truth was through science, which of course couldn’t be right because that pretty much shifted worship of the Divine into only and purely the realm of the physical. The Church has always maintained that the material and immaterial are essential in the pursuit of truth.


I believe Galileo also stated that the sun was stationary. Future astronomy study proves the sun does in fact move. So he was not completely correct in his arguments. He went against the Church and the Pope in his writings. He was punished for that, not for his theories on astronomy.

Here is a good encyclopedia article. Not a great defense of the Church, But not critical either.

If you go to Catholic Answers Radio Calendar for October 12th, 2007. The show discussed Catholic Urban Legends. They went into the subject for about 10 minutes. The whole show was really interesting, at least I thought so.


Obviously. He made a mockery of the Roman Catholic leadership in some regards, and blatantly and publicly discredited the then-held opinion of the church on the matter in question. It was about anger and embarrassment, not the teaching itself.


Not only was Galileo’s science wrong, he also wanted to re-interpret scripture to match his science. THAT’S what got him in hot water.

Or so I’ve heard…


Robert Sungenis has written a 2 volume set explaining what happened. He points out theat science has never demonstrated heliocentrism, and he believes the Church was right. See here:


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