Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Papal Visit Scuppered by Scholars

Pope Benedict XVI has cancelled a visit to a prestigious university in Rome where lecturers and students have protested against his views on Galileo.

The Pope had been set to make a speech at La Sapienza University on Thursday.

Sixty-seven academics had said the Pope condoned the 1633 trial and conviction of the astronomer Galileo for heresy.

The Vatican insists the Pope is not "anti-science" - but in light of the protests they have decided it would be better for him not to attend.

Galileo had argued that the Earth revolved around the Sun.

The Vatican says the Pope will now send his speech to La Sapienza, instead of delivering it in person.

Landmark controversy

Pope Benedict was in charge of Roman Catholic doctrine in 1990 when, as Cardinal Ratzinger, he commented on the 17th-Century Galileo trial.

In the speech, he quoted Austrian-born philosopher Paul Feyerabend as saying the Church's verdict against Galileo had been "rational and just".

Galileo's inquisitors maintained the scriptures indicated the Earth was stationary.
Galileo, a devout Catholic, was forced to renounce his findings publicly.

Fifteen years ago Pope John Paul II officially conceded that in fact the Earth was not stationary.

The academics at La Sapienza signed a letter saying the Pope's views on Galileo "offend and humiliate us".

They said it would be inappropriate for the Pope to open their academic year on Thursday.

"In the name of the secular nature of science we hope this incongruous event can be cancelled," said the letter addressed to the university's rector, Renato Guarini.

In a separate initiative, students at La Sapienza organised four days of protest this week. The first revolved around an anti-clerical meal of bread, pork and wine, the BBC's Christian Fraser reports from Rome.

The banner at their lunch read: "Knowledge needs neither fathers nor priests".

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/7188860.stm
Published: 2008/01/15 18:42:11 GMT
© BBC MMVIII

3 comments:

owlafaye said...

It is that time for all decent people to rise up at every turn and thwart this Pope and the historical filth that is his religion.

Anonymous said...

It was this "historical filth" of a religion that gave us modern astronomy. Try reading J. L. Heilbron's "The Sun in the Church: Cathedrals as Solar Observatories" for starters. Galileo (together with nearly every leading astronomer of the day) was a Jesuit and a devout Catholic.

The quote in question, "The proceedings of the Church against Galileo were reasonable and just" comes not from the pope but from Paul Feyerabend, one of the 20th century's leading philosophers of science. If you disagree with it, your argument is with Feyerabend, not Ratzinger.

the dancer said...

So, Galileo was a priest and a jesuit : that only shows that the Church confiscated science and knowledge for its own purposes; whoever was honest and couldn't live to the reality of findings was subjected to all kinds of pressures, including torture and death, not to talk about excommunication, which was a very damaging situation in those days, as economically you were rejected.
All religions are really poisons and the sooner humanity could do without, the better off we will all be.