Tuesday, September 18, 2012
History Mystery: Catholic Church apologized to Galileo after 360 years
The great astronomer, the world famous scientist Galileo was the reason for the end of Italian renaissance. His knowledge in astronomy clashed with the medieval theology and philosophy which hold the power in the Catholic churches of those days which resulted in the tragic end of his life. Galileo Galili who had invented isochronisms of the simple pendulum was born on 1564, in which year Shakespeare was born. In the age of 22 he attained the reputation even out of his country and he was accepted as a scientist and father of experimental physics. He accepted his first lecturer ship in the University of Pisa at the age of twenty five. In due course he accepted a position in University of Padua too. During that period he was strongly attracted by the Copernican theory which was published by Nicolas Copernicus in the year 1543 a dissertation which put forth the world-shattering thought; The earth revolves around the sun in an inclined axis. This Treatise challenges the astronomy of Ptolemy, the thoughts of great philosopher Aristotle and the traditional belief of the Catholic Church. By 1590 Galileo confirmed that Copernicus Treatise is true and he confirmed it with German Scientist cum mathematician Kepler who was the founded laws of planetary motion. However he didn’t have enough fortitude to declare that in public and kept that as a secret with his true friends. In 1609 Galileo discovered Telescope that confirmed Copernican thoughts were correct. Though Galileo was a stanch follower of Catholic Church he found Copernican system was true and he openly discussed about those findings in public debates and in parties. He was failed to make good number of educated people to understand his thoughts and findings instead enemies. Since Galileo was self satisfied with Copernicus findings he put forth his arguments more openly than before in the public. Galileo published his Letters on the solar spots in the year 1613. Father Lorini a professor and a Dominican friar of ecclesiastical history in Florence attacked him for defending Copernican doctrine which violates the religious belief of Earth as the centre of Universe. In his Letter to Castelli Galileo responded to his criticism in a biblical way. Instead of pacifying his attackers it increasing the heat and They vehemently attacked him for meddling the Scripture and Theology. Instead Father Lorini sent a modified copy of Galileo’s letter to Casterlli enclosed with his own comments and his criticism. In fact Father Lorini got a good support from Father Tommaso Caccini and Father Ximenes. Galileo believed that Cardinal Bellarmine; Chief theologian will support him but unfortunately that 74years old church’s chief only cared about the administration and wish to hold the power of the Papal instead of accepting the astronomical fact. Bellarmine’s letter to Father Foscarini clearly displays his stand against Galileo. The Pope directed Lord Cardinal Bellarmine to summon Galileo before him to reprove and desert his belief. Galileo was summoned on 25th of 1616 and was admonished and Galileo acquiesced and promised to obey. There are so many contradictions about the Inquisition file which is beyond our focus.
In the mean time The Cardinal Mafeo Barberini, who have positive approach towards science and technology became the new Pope. The Pope’s private secretary wrote Galileo to continue and publish his thoughts and the Pope himself have long hours of discussions with Galileo himself. Galileo started working on his book Dialogue Concerning the two chief world systems. At the end of 1629 Galileo completed his book Dialogue proved him as a scholar, a good writer, a scientist, a astronomer and more. Unlike the writings of Kepler and Copernicus his writings focused the educated public and not the intellectuals. In the mean time his opponents had taken all measures to block his book from printing. The Vatican’s chief licenser Niccolo Riccardi thought that the book may laid on more hypothetical thoughts rather than scientific ideas hence he promised to help him in publication but in reality Dialogue was more scientific rather than hypothetical and Riccardi asked Galileo to revise the preface and conclusions. Reluctantly Riccardi gave permission to publish the book and at last after a herculean task the book rolled out of press and sold out at once.
Some of the Historians criticized his decision to admit error as a last stage self degradation where as some other argue that as a rational move which was only available move at that time. Galileo’s renunciation of renunciation of Copernican theory ended with his own words. In 1992 The Vatican formally and publically cleared of any wrong doing.