Galileo And Other Faithful Scientists

Popes rarely apologize. So it was big news in October when John Paul II made a speech vindicating Galileo Galilei. In 1633 the Vatican put the astronomer under house arrest for writing, against church orders, that the earth revolves around the sun. The point of the papal statement was not to concede the obvious fact that Galileo was right about the solar system. Rather, the Pope wanted to restore and honor Galileo's standing as a good Christian. In the 17th century, said the Pope, theologians failed to distinguish between belief in the Bible and interpretation of it. Galileo contended that the...

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