Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 5 years ago

What was the significance of Galileo's inquisition?

5 Answers

  • 5 years ago
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    Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543), a Catholic clergyman and scientist theorized a comprehensive heliocentric cosmology, which placed the Sun at the fixed center of the universe instead of the Earth (which, by the way, was wrong). This theory was widely accepted as a legitimate theory in the scientific world of the time. Tools like telescopes had not yet been invented to help prove the theory.

    Galileo (1564–1642) improved the telescope and was able to record astronomical observations that supported but did not prove Copernicus. In 1611, he made a triumphant visit to Rome, where Pope Paul V assured him of his support and good will.

    Galileo felt that he had to convince the world that heliocentricism was true without further evidence. If he had just stated that Copernicanism was a hypothesis, one superior to the Ptolemiaic (geocentric) system, until further proof could be found (as the scientific method requires) then he would not have gotten into trouble.

    Instead Galileo said that the scientific community and the Church either had to accept Copernicanism as a fact (even though it had not been proved) and reinterpret Scripture accordingly; or they had to condemn it. He allowed no middle room. It was Galileo's pride and arrogance that got him into trouble, not his science.

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

    The Church quickly got over Galileo's excesses. Pope Benedict XIV granted an imprimatur (an official approval) to the first edition of the Complete Works of Galileo in 1741.

    “[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:

    For more information, see:



    + Galileo, Science, and the Church (1992) by Jerome J. Langford

    + The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions (2009) by David Berlinski

    + Seven Lies About Catholic History (2010) by Diane Moczar

    With love in Christ

  • 5 years ago

    Contrary to what some would have you believe, Galileo’s “inquisition” had nothing to do with his fostering the ideas of Copernicus – the church well accepted the concept that the sun was the center of the solar system. … The “inquisition” was a matter of discipline for the church, for Galileo “made fun” of the Pope in one of his books representing him as a fool. And by having him renounce and give up his works, the Pope was trying to “teach him a lesson”.

  • 5 years ago

    What Galileo proved was far-reaching & he had the confidence that he was right (in fact what he proved was beyond doubt or debate). That conviction gave him the courage to abide by whatever the Church wanted him to do or say. He was sure his situation was ephemeral, would change & truth will prevail in the end. It did. Thinkers welcomed his science & cared less for anything else . When he invited one of the Church dignitaries to apply his eye to the telescope's eye-piece so that he could see the Jovian satellites that he trained the telescope on, the clergyman refused. His version was "there is devil in the eye piece that would lure him to evil to go against the holy scriptures". That was the level of bigotry then and the Church is to be blamed

    Church lost its sense of time & was foolish enough to gloat over the small battles won with no knowledge that the intellectual base underneath was fast getting eroded. One by one it lost its doctrines, many being ridiculed outside their arena chosen. They didn't realise one thing - that their creed was a minority in the numbers of Humanity where the majority needn't believe what they say. In time even many in their flock also jumped the fence. Rationality proved to be more powerful than dogma. With dogma one can cow down unthinking people but the ones whose m mental horizons extend far beyond the cloistered confines can't be held back. This the Church missed badly that proved to be a loss, irretrievable in the long run.

    The unfortunate outcome of it all was that Science was juxtaposed opposite & painted as the enemy of the Church. Heaving till the butt, to show Galileo & others of his ilk as evil - backfired. Science spawned technologies the results of which are there for everyone to see, the Church couldn't explain why Science succeeded when confronted - with the proof of the pudding. Even today the situation of Church is the same, trying to maintain the number of the dwindling flock.

  • 5 years ago

    Galileo proved that the Church was wrong.

    And religious people wonder why there are atheists.

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  • 5 years ago

    They didn't kill him, score draw - the church had lost the will to kill.

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