Why did the Church prosecute Galileo when the Jesuit astronomers already accepted the Copernican model?

Was it simply a matter of the insulting language in Galileo’s Dialogo (in making the Pope look stupid) that got him in trouble? Or was there more to it than that?

(I've found that in researching the events surrounding Galileo there is a lot of contradictory commentary, usually depending upon whether the author wants to deprecate or favor the Catholic Church hierarchy.)

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  • 9 years ago
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    Neither the Scientific Community nor the Church had a problem with the heliocentric theory of Copernicus or Galileo that said that the sun was the center of the universe. It was when Galileo said it was fact without enough repeatable scientific evidence that he got into trouble.

    By the way, the heliocentric theory that claimed the sun was the center of the universe instead of the Earth, was also incorrect. The sun is the center of the solar system but not the universe.

    In 1741, Pope Benedict XIV granted an imprimatur (an official approval) to the first edition of the Complete Works of Galileo.

    “[Galileo] declared explicitly that the two truths, of faith and of science, can never contradict each other, 'Sacred Scripture and the natural world proceeding equally from the divine Word, the first as dictated by the Holy Spirit, the second as a very faithful executor of the commands of God', as he wrote in his letter to Father Benedetto Castelli on 21 December 1613. The Second Vatican Council says the same thing, even adopting similar language in its teaching: 'Methodical research, in all realms of knowledge, if it respects... moral norms, will never be genuinely opposed to faith: the reality of the world and of faith have their origin in the same God' (Gaudium et Spes, 36). Galileo sensed in his scientific research the presence of the Creator who, stirring in the depths of his spirit, stimulated him, anticipating and assisting his intuitions”: John Paul II, Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (10 November 1979): Insegnamenti, II, 2 (1979), 1111-1112. From the Vatican website: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/enc...

    For more information, see: http://web.archive.org/web/20071209222631/

    http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Issues/Gal...

    With love in Christ

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Yes, part of it was the use of "Simplicio" as the "defender" of the church's position, and the insult felt by the pope because of it.

    Another part was that at the time the church hierarchy was largely ignoring individuals and groups who were accepting and using the Copernican model quietly and privately, but were very publicly going after anyone who taught or publicly espoused it as "true." The former was no threat to church authority, while the latter was a direct affront to it. The prosecution of Galileo was as much about showing the church was the absolute authority as it was about the nature of the universe.

    Peace.

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  • 9 years ago

    In your question lies the absolute truth. History is rarely presented without the prejudices of the historian. It is the same with science. It is the same with religion.

    You can do blind studies but according to quantum physics , the results of an experiment are determined by the person inquiring into the topic. We influence the outcome of our research.

    The Bible says 'the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet."

    To answer your question, I assume it was a little of both . Galileo was a bit of an arrogant egotist and the church had the means available to discipline him . I believe if the church had ignored him, he might not be as well recognized and remembered for his contributions to science. Even bad press is good press.

    I have been frustrated by my own search for answers which are inevitably influenced by bias in almost every field.

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  • 9 years ago

    Galileo was upsetting their power structure as far as who determined what truth was. As you stated, some cardinals thought that Galileo's book made fun of the pope. The Catholic Earth-centered position was taken by a character called "Simpleton."

    Give them a break. In 2000 Pope John Paul II issued a formal apology for all the mistakes committed against Galileo. It only took them over 370 years.

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  • blank
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    He was outspoken and high-profile, and they decided to make an example of him. Can't have anyone questioning the authority of the church. Pretty much the same today. None of the Nazi Holocaust perpetrators were excommunicated, but plenty of those who questioned the church's authority in that time period were.

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  • 9 years ago

    Because it disagreed with their interpretation of the Bible which to them said that the earth was the center of the universe. This and a little paganism thought process thrown in.

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  • manuel
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    I thought I had read somewhere that it was partly in response to the Reformation, where the Church was already being accused on beliefs that weren't biblical.

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  • 9 years ago

    Because he was a heretic. He said God wasn't all powerful.

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