The Trial of Galileo 1633 CE - (Re-post From Old Forum)

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The Trial of Galileo 1633 CE - (Re-post From Old Forum)

Post by Big Fat Heretic on Mon Dec 01, 2014 6:00 am

This topic is a re-post from the old Sports Sucks forum in the Off Topic section
from way back in August 28,2010 which was titled . . . . .

The Trial of Galileo 1633 CE

OK everybody, this is a rather long topic. The maximum number of characters allowed is 60,000, and since my topic is longer than that, I have to continue it in two postings.

So, here goes! OK?

You'll all notice that I don't use BC for Before Christ or AD for Anno Domini (Year of Our Lord) but rather I prefer to use BCE for Before Common Era and CE of Common Era, so for example: this is the year 2014 CE, so I don't use that old hat BC and AD crap anymore. OK?

Anyway . . . . .

I would really like to discuss one of my most favorite topics, that being, all about the great 17th Century Italian Astronomer, Galileo who lived from February 15,1564 CE to January 8,1641 CE.

Oh! Somebody even wrote a song about Galileo!

Here is a YouTube Video.

Galileo Galilei (Lyrics by Jugnutgut aka Rob)

And here are the lyrics to the song.

Galileo Galilei

He was a man of science
A giant of his day
He unraveled mysteries
Galileo . . . Galileo Galilei

He looked thru the looking glass
And saw a new display
He saw the moons of Jupiter
Galileo . . . Galileo Galilei

Oh Oh Galileo
Oh Oh Galilei
Oh Oh Galileo
Galileo Galilei

He studied spots on the Sun
His knowledge, he'd convey
He told us how and why things moved
Galileo . . . Galileo Galilei

He said the Earth was not the center
That was not the way
It was the Sun and not the Earth
Galileo . . . Galileo Galilei

Oh Oh Galileo
Oh Oh Galilei
Oh Oh Galileo
Galileo Galilei

Some did not approve
Of all he had to say
They said he must be silent
Galileo . . . Galileo Galilei

He was a man of science
A giant of his day
He unraveled mysteries
Galileo . . . Galileo Galilei

I remember when I was a kid about 9 years old, during the summers I would ride my bicycle to the public library and check out all kinds of books that I was not allowed to read in school. The librarian was an elderly lady who was really nice to me, and she noticed that I liked to read books that were on the more adult level, especially books on Astronomy.

Well, while reading books on Astronomy, I wanted to learn more about Galileo and all the transpired during his life, so even at the tender age of 9 and 10 years old, I began reading some books about the Inquisition. At that young age, I found those books rather disturbing, even frightening, but I felt a need to know more so I could better understand what had gone on in the life of Galileo.

He became my childhood hero. While most kids at the age of 9 or 10 years had favorite comic book heroes like Superman, or Batman or The Green Lantern, or The Flash, etc. etc. I didn't have any comic book heroes because I knew they weren't real. Yeah, I enjoyed comic books like any other kid, but after reading about Galileo in books from the public library, I found a real life hero, no longer living of course having been dead a few centuries, but a real life hero nonetheless, because he was a real person who made real discoveries, and real inventions, and had lived a real life, and also suffered some real pain toward the final years of his life.

So, when I was just a kid only 10 years old, I knew about the Inquisition, the Roman Catholic Church, and the so-called Holy Office, and I knew about all kinds of methods of torture that was often applied to "heretics" back in those days, methods of torture that reminded me of stuff seen in horror movies, but this stuff was real.

Of course, Galileo was never tortured by the Inquisition, although he was threatened with the possibility of torture, and even shown the instruments of torture, he was merely interrogated for many long hours and forced to sign a confession of heresy, a recantation of his support of the Heliocentric or Sun-centered Solar System as purposed by Nicolas Copernicus a century earlier, because he had gone against the Church doctrine that the earth was the center of the universe.

Here is an introduction to key historical figures in the drama of the history of Galileo's life, starting with Galileo himself

The Trial of Galileo: Key Figures

Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei was a great scientist--but much more than that.  Had he been content to stick to his science--and limited his writing to dull treatises for other specialists--he would never have incurred the condemnation of the Catholic Church.  Galileo had a mission: he wanted to increase awareness of scientific thought and, in the process, rescue the Catholic Church from its ostrich-like refusal to see the cosmos as it really was.

Galileo was born in Pisa in 1564--the same year Shakespeare was born and Michelangelo died.  In the 1570s, Galileo and his family moved to Florence.  In 1581, he entered the University of Pisa, as student of medicine and philosophy.  At Pisa, Galileo undertook a study of the pendulum that would much later result in the development of the pendulum clock.  In 1592, Galileo was appointed professor of mathematics at the University of Padua.  In that position, Galileo pursued interests in the motion of falling bodies, spherical geometry, nautical engineering, and astronomy.  During this period Galileo also came to accept the view of Copernicus, first developed in his treatise on the Revolutions of the Celestrial Orbs, that the Earth, rotating once a day on its own axis, revolved around the Sun.

In 1609, shortly before resigning his position at the University of Padua, Galileo produced the world's first working telescope based on a spyglass shown by a Dutch eyeglass maker.  Galileo used his telescope for a series of remarkable astronomical discoveries, including the Milky Way, the moons of Jupiter, the phases of Venus, sunspots, and numerous lunar features.  Drawing from these discoveries, Galileo proposed new arguments for the Copernican system--and presented these arguments in a series of letters.

As is described in detail elsewhere on this website, Galileo's eagerness to express Copernican views would earn him first, in 1616, an admonition from the Catholic Church and later, in 1633, a conviction for violating an injunction--supposedly issued seventeen years earlier--against holding, teaching, or defending Copernican views.  Placed under house-arrest, Galileo would, in 1638, be allowed to move to his home near Florence.  Though by then totally blind, he continued  to teach and write.  He died at his villa in Arcetri, just north of Florence, in 1642.


Cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621)

Cardinal Robert Bellarmine stood, at the time of Galileo's first published writing on the subject of Copernicanism, as the Church's chief guardian against deviationists and its chief defender of orthodoxy.

Seventy-four-years-old and in ill-health at the time of Galileo's 1616 admonition, Bellarmine was still a major force.   In fact, it is not inaccurate to describe him as more in charge of events in 1615-16 than the dense and anti-intellectual Pope Paul V.

Bellarmine had waged many battles on behalf of papal power.  He sought to create a papal superstate guided by the decisions of the Council of Trent.  Bellarmine attacked anti-Catholic laws in England, angering English leaders--many of whom accused him of responsibility for the infamous "Gunpowder Plot" to blow up Parliament.  In 1600, he framed the decision that brought Giordano Bruno, convicted heretic, to his death by fire at the stake.

Bellarmine's Scholastic inclinations made him naturally suspicious of Galileo's novel ideas about the universe.  After giving an audience to Galileo in 1615, Bellarmine asked Jesuit astronomers for their opinion about Galileo's interpretation of discoveries made with his recently invented telescope.  Bellarmine's fear of scandal and concern for preserving the intellectual status quo led him to conclude that discussing Copernicanism "absolutely" rather than "hypothetically" was "a very dangerous attitude."  Bellarmine summoned Galileo to appear before him on February 25, 1616 and admonished him to abandon--and cease defending--Copernican views.

Prior to becoming the Church's chief theologian, Bellarmine grew up in a nobleman's family in Tuscany.  He studied at Collegio Romano, Rome's Jesuit college.  He served as a priest, taught theology, and worked as the spiritual director--and later as rector--for Collegio Romano.

Bellarmine took on few of the splendid trappings that usually accompanied life as a cardinal.  He lived a prayerful and ascetic lifestyle.  Although noted for his candor and temper, Bellarmine also could be easygoing and even childlike.  One historian notes that he was famous for his "lighthearted punning."


Pope Urban VIII (formerly Cardinal Maffeo Barberini)(1568-1644)

Maffeo Barberini was born into a powerful family of Florentine merchants.  He graduated from Collegio Romano, then earned a doctor of law degree from the University of Pisa.  Barberini rose rapidly in the Church hierarchy.  In 1606, he was appointed cardinal and, with the death of Pope Gregory XV in 1623, he was elected Pope, taking the name of Pope Urban VIII. As Pope, Urban VIII made it his goal to reinvigorate papal power.

In the early days of his reign, Galileo had reason to believe Maffeo Barberini's elevation to Pope might lead to a loosening of the Church's opposition to Copernican thought.  Pope Urban VIII received Galileo for six long audiences.  Although a humanist largely baffled by scientific principles, Urban VIII seemed genuinely interested in Galileo's ideas.  Urban VIII assured Galileo that as long as he remained Pope, the memory of Copernicus had nothing to fear.

Eventually, however, the Pope's pride and suspicious would produce the dramatic confrontation with Galileo that culminated with his arrest, trial, and conviction in 1633.  The troubles developed after Pope Urban VIII gave Galileo permission to write a book discussing the contending views of the universe: his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems.   Galileo's biggest mistake seems to have been putting into the mouth of an ignorant, literal-minded character named Simplicio the Pope's own views, offered to Galileo in 1623, concerning God's omnipotence.  Urban VIII had argued that an all-powerful God could make the Sun and other heavenly bodies do as he pleased--notwithstanding the laws of physics.  In his Dialogue, Galileo provided a response that must have made the Pope feel foolish:  "Surely, God could have caused birds to fly with their bones made of solid gold, with their veins full of quicksilver, with their flesh heavier than lead, and with thier wings exceedingly small.  He did not, and that ought to show something.  It is only in order to shield your ignorance that you put the Lord at every turn to the refuge of a miracle."

Upset with what he saw as ridicule of his argument and convinced that the Dialogue was nothing but a thinly-veiled brief for the Copernican model, the Pope swung the machinery of the Church into motion against Galileo.  The Pope insisted upon a formal sentence, a tough examination of Galileo, public abjuration, and "formal prison." In June 1633, the Pope got his wish.


Benedetto Castelli (1578-1643)

Benedetto Castelli, a monk of Montecassino, ranked as Galileo's favorite disciple.  The two often exchanged warm letters on matters ranging from scientific topics to the quality of wine and cheese.  One letter from Galileo to Castelli in 1613, offering his views on matters theological and Copernican, became key evidence leading to his 1616 admonition.  That same year, Castelli received an appointment as a professor of mathematics at the University of Pisa.

Castelli had a first-rate mind.  He understood Galileo's thought as few men of the time did, and wrote his own treatise on The Motion of Water.  He served as chief consultant on hydraulic projects beginning in 1626 and, later, as "Father Mathematician of His Holiness."  In the latter capacity in 1633, Castelli tried to explain the meaning of Galileo's Dialogue to his Inquisitors.

Before Galileo arrived in Rome to stand trial, Castelli was sent to Brescia.  He was allowed to return to Rome only after Galileo's departure.


Giovanni Ciampoli (1589-1643)

Galileo had a trusted friend in Giovanni Ciampoli.  A brilliant Latinist, Ciampoli adored the older scientist: "It seems impossible to me that one should frequent you and not love you....To hear you is to be convinced of the truth, and whatever I can do, I will always be at your service."

During Galileo's troubles of 1615-16, Ciampoli, under the allegiance of the Duke of Tuscany, corresponded regularly his hero, advising him of developments and intrigues within the Catholic Church hierarchy.

When Galileo reading the Dialogue for publication in 1630, Ciampoli concluded that the Pope's had only the warmest feelings for Galileo, writing from Rome to tell him: "You are awaited here more than any most beloved damsel."  Of course, Galileo would soon discover otherwise, in part due to Ciampoli's unfortunate assurance to the Pope that Galileo faithfully followed all papal commands in the book.  The Pope considered himself deceived by Ciampoli--previously thought an excellent candidate for cardinal-- and exiled him to the village of Montalto della Marca, where he served as governor.

Ciampoli accepted his situation gracefully.  In 1633, he wrote to Galileo: "Come to see me, my persecuted Socrates, we shall take good care of your health here....As for myself, I have found my consolation in study, and I still hope to write something whereby I will be remembered."

Ciampoli died in Iesi in 1643.


Cardinal Francesco Barberini (1597-1679)

Cardinal Francesco Barberini, the nephew of Pope Urban VIII, was one of ten judges in Galileo's trial.  Barberini led a faction of cardinals that sought lenient treatment for Galileo.  He persuaded Commissary-General Firenzuola to visit Galileo in March, 1633 and discuss with him a compromise solution to the compromise.  Under the arrangement preferred by Barberini, Galileo would admit that the Dialogue went too far and violated papal instructions and, in return, the book could be distributed (with revisions) and Galileo spared imprisonment.  Galileo agreed to the deal, but a majority of the ten cardinals rejected Barberini's plan.  Barberini was one of three judges who did not sign Galileo's sentence, which banned the Dialogue and ordered Galileo's imprisonment.

After Galileo's sentencing and abjuration, Barberini succeeded in altering a plan to send Galileo to a monastery for a period of prolonged penitence, and arranged instead for him to be transferred to the custody of the Archbishop of Sienna.


Tommaso Caccini (1574-1648)

Father Tommaso Caccini, a Dominican monk and inveterate scandal-maker, was the chief instigator of Galileo's troubles.  On December 20, 1614, Caccini preached a sermon in Florence that condemned mathematics and alleged that Copernicanism was either heretical or very close to it.  Caccini, a "turbulent ignoramus," contended that Copernicus' Sun-centered system contradicted Scripture's description of an Earth-centered system.

In March of 1615, Caccini traveled to Rome and denounced Galileo before the Holy Office.  In his deposition, Caccini claimed that Florence was full of "Galileists" who denied miracles, claimed God was an accident, and espoused Copernican views.  Caccini's move was part of a plot calculated to force Rome to act against Galileo.

Galileo accuratedly sized up his enemy, describing Caccini as a person "of very great ignorance, no less a mind full of venom and devoid of charity."  Caccini's own brother shared this appraisal, calling his sibling "a dreadful fool" whose "ugly drives" and "performance...makes no sense in heaven or earth."

After playing his role in gaining Galileo's admonition in 1616, Caccini managed to earn the enmity of powerful Cardinal Borghese and was forced to leave Rome.  He spent his later years as Prior of San Marco in Florence.


Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543)

Nicolaus Copernicus is credited with first proposing an alternative to the reigning Ptolemic explanation of the universe.  Rather than  a system in which the Sun and stars revolved around the Earth once a day, as Ptolemy proposed, Copernicus suggested a Sun-centered system in which the Earth, rotating on its own axis every twenty-four hours, revolved around the Sun once a year.  Copernicus published his views in a 1543 treatise, the Revolutions of the Celestial Orbs.  Copernicus dedicated the book to Pope Paul III.  The book did not offend Catholic censors (at least until 1616, when it was placed on the Index of banned books), in large part owing to a preface which (without much conviction) denied any pretension of the physical validity of the model discussed.  Initially, the book met mostly with skepticism.  Later, of course, the Copernican system would be championed by others, including the German mathematician Johannes Kepler and, most famously, Galileo in many letters and in the book that led to his trial, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems.  

Copernicus was born into a Polish middle-class family.  He studied at the Universities in Krakow, Bologna, Padua, and Ferrara, developing strong backgrounds in mathematics, medicine, and canon law.  Copernicus spent most of his life leading a sheltered academic life as a canon in the cathedral of Frauenburg.

Goethe wrote of Copernicus' great insight:
"Of all human discoveries and opinions, none may have exerted a greater effect on the human spirit than the doctrine of Copernicus.  The world had scarcely become known as round and complete when it was asked to waive the tremendous privilege of being the center of the universe.  Never, perhaps, was a greater demand placed on mankind--for by this admission, so many things vanished in mist and smoke!'

Here is a simplified time-line of the life of Galileo and of the events in his life leading up to his trial by the Inquisition and his eventual house arrest until the time of his death.

The Trial of Galileo: A Chronology

1514  Nicolaus Copernicus (or Kopernig) produces the first feasible model of a sun-centered system.

Feb. 15, 1564 Galileo Galilei is born in Pisa, Italy.  (Also in 1564, Shakespeare is born and Michelangelo dies.)

1582 Tycho Brahe offers a compromise between the Aristotelian and Copernican models.  Brahe's model has the sun and moon orbiting a stationary earth, but shows the other planets orbiting the sun.

1574 The Galilei family moves from Pisa to Florence.

1597 Galileo tells friends that he thinks the Copernican model of the universe makes sense.  He writes to Kepler in Prague, "Like you, I accepted the Copernican position several years ago and discovered from thence the causes of many natural effects which are doubtless inexplicable by the current theories."

1600 Dissident thinker Giordano Bruno is convicted of heresy by the Holy Office and burned at the stake.

1609 Galileo learns of a "spy glass" made by a Dutch eyeglass maker that magnifies distant objects.  Galileo constructs several models of the device and displays an 8X telescope at the Venetian Senate.  Johannes Kepler publishes his first two laws of planetary motion.

1610 Galileo builds a 30X telescope.  He uses the telescope to make several important astronomical discoveries, including four moons of Jupiter, the ring of Saturn, the phases of Venus, and craters and mountains of the moon.  His observations of moons revolving around Jupiter confirm for him the correctness of the Copernican model. Galileo also concludes from the irregular features of the moon that the moon is composed of matter similar to that of earth.

1611 Galileo observes sunspots.

April 1611 Cardinal Bellarmine aske Jesuit mathematicians to confirm Galileo's astronomical discoveries.  They do so, but offer interpretations for what they see that differ from Galileo's.

May 1611 Galileo travels to Rome where he is honored for his astronomical discoveries at a banquet by the mathematicians at Collegio Romano.

1612 Galileo publishes his Letters on Sunspots, offering his theory that the sun revolves on an axis.

November 1613 Father Lorini of Florence, a professor of ecclesiastical history, launches the first attack from the clergy on the Copernican theory.

December 1613 Galileo writes a letter to Benedetto Castelli, a professor of mathematics at the University of Pisa, offering his ideas concerning the relationship of science and Scripture.

February 1615 Dominican friar Niccolo Lorini files a complaint with the Roman Inquisition against Galileo's Copernican views.  Included with the complaint is a copy of Galileo's 1613 letter to Castelli.

April 1615 Cardinal Bellarmine cautions scientists to treat Copernican views as as hypothesis, not fact.

December 1615 Galileo travels to Rome to defend his Copernican views.

January 1616 Galileo argues in writing that tidal motion proves the the earth revolves.

February 1616 A committee of advisors to the Inquisition declares that holding the view that the Sun is the center of the universe or the earth moves is absurd and formally heretical.

February 26, 1616 Cardinal Bellarmine warns Galileo not to hold, teach, or defend Copernican theory.  According to an unsigned transcript found in the Inquisition file in 1633, Galileo is also enjoined from discussing his theory, either orally or in writing.

March 1616 The Congregation of the Index bans Copernicus' On the Revolutions until corrections can be added.  Galileo meets with Pope Paul V.

1619 After three comets appear in 1618 and prompt widespread speculation as to their nature, Galileo writes Discourse on Comets, which disputes Jesuit views on the subject.

1621 Galileo is elected Consul of the Academia Fiorentina.  Pope Paul V dies and is succeed by Gregory XV.

1623 Pope Gregory XV dies.  Cardinal Baberini is named Pope Urban VIII. Galileo publishes The Assayer, which offers his explanation for sunspots and comets.

1624 Galileo goes to Rome.  He has six audiences with the Pope and meets with influential cardinals.  Pope Urban VIII tells Galileo that he can discuss Copernican theory--so long as he treats it as an hypothesis.

April 1630 Galileo completes work on his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems.

June 1630 Galileo obtains conditional approval from the Secretary of the Vatican for publication of Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems.

February 1632 Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems is printed.

Summer 1632 Distribution of Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems is stopped by Pope Urban VIII.  The Pope authorizes a special commission to examine the book.

September 1632 Based on the special commission's report, the Pope refers Galileo's case to the Roman Inquisition.

October 1632 Galileo receives a summons to appear before the Inquisition.  Galileo asks that his trial be moved to Florence

November 1632 Galileo's request to have his trial transferred to Florence is refused.

December 1632 Three physicians declare that Galileo is too ill to travel to Rome.  The Inquistion rejects the physician's statement and declares that if Galileo does not travel to Rome voluntarily he will be arrested and taken in chains.

February 1633 Galileo arrives in Rome.  He is allowed to stay at the home of the Tuscan ambassador, but is forbidden to have social contacts.

April 1633 Galileo is interrogated before the Inquisition.  For over two weeks he is imprisoned in an apartment in the Inquisition building.  Galileo agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a more lenient sentence.  He declares that the Copernican case was made too strongly in his book Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, and offers to refute it in another book.

June 22, 1633 Galileo is sentenced to prison for an indefinite term.  Seven of ten cardinals presiding at his trial sign the sentencing order.  Galileo signs a formal recantation. Galileo is allowed to serve his term under house-arrest in the home of the archbishop of Siena.

December 1633 Galileo is allowed to return to his villa in Florence, where he lives under house-arrest.

April 1634 Galileo's daughter, Maria Celeste, dies.
January 1638 Galileo is now totally blind.  He petitions the Inquisition to be freed, but his petition is denied.

September 1640 John Milton visits Galileo.

1641 Galileo, in his last major contribution, proposes using pendulums in clocks.

January 8, 1641 Galileo dies in Arcetri.

1820 Papal Inquisition abolished..

September 11, 1822 College of Cardinals announces that "the printing and publication of works treating of the motion of the earth and the stability of the sun, in accordance with the opinion of modern astronomers, is permitted."  Two weeks later, Pope Pius VII ratifies the Cardinals' decree.

1835 Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems is taken off the Vatican's list of banned books.

1992 Catholic Church formally admits that Galileo's views on the solar system are correct.

Yeah, in 1820 the Papal Inquisition was finally abolished. Oh! Really???

Actually, I read somewhere else that the Inquisition "officially" ended sometime in 1830 with the last person being burned at the stake in Mexico for witchcraft.

But then, I recently heard from one of my Jewish friends here in El Paso Texas that his own great grandfather living in Mexico was falsely accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake sometime in the 1840s so it appears that the Inquisition didn't "officially" end in either 1820 or 1830 but more like sometime in the 1840s, if ever.

Then back in 1835 Galileo's Dialogue about the Heliocentric solar system verses the Geocentric solar system was finally removed from the index of forbidden literature to be published again.

And finally . . . . . in 1992 the Catholic Church officially pardons Galileo of the charges of heresy.

Yeah! Too little, too late!

And here are some more details of Galileo's trial.

The Trial of Galileo
by Douglas Linder (c) 2002

Galileo facing the Roman Inquistion - Painting by Cristiano Banti (1857)

"My dear Kepler, what would you say of the learned here, who, replete with the pertinacity of the asp, have steadfastly refused to cast a glance through the telescope?  What shall we make of this?  Shall we laugh, or shall we cry?"

--Letter from Galileo Galilei to Johannes Kepler

In the 1633 trial of Galileo Galilei, two worlds come into cosmic conflict.  Galileo's world of science and humanism collides with the world of Scholasticism and absolutism that held power in the Catholic Church.  The result is a tragedy that marks both the end of Galileo's liberty and the end of the Italian Renaissance....

In the 1633 trial of Galileo Galilei, two worlds come into cosmic conflict.  Galileo's world of science and humanism collides with the world of Scholasticism and absolutism that held power in the Catholic Church.  The result is a tragedy that marks both the end of Galileo's liberty and the end of the Italian Renaissance.

Galileo Galilei was born in 1564--the same year that Shakespeare was born and Michelangelo died.  From an early age, Galileo showed his scientific skills.  At age nineteen, he discovered the isochronism of the pendulum.  By age twenty-two, he had invented the hydrostatic balance.  By age twenty-five, Galileo assumed his first lectureship, at the University of Pisa. Within a few more years,  Galileo earned a reputation throughout Europe as a scientist and superb lecturer.  Eventually, he would be recognized as the father of experimental physics.  Galileo's motto might have been "follow knowledge wherever it leads us."

At the University of Padua, where Galileo accepted a position after three years in Pisa, he began to develop a strong interest in Copernican theory.  In 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus published Revolutions of the Celestial Orbs, a treatise that put forth his revolutionary idea that the Sun was at the center of the universe and that the Earth--rotating on an axis--orbited around the sun once a year.  Copernicus' theory was a challenge to the accepted notion contained in the natural philosophy of Aristotle, the astronomy of Ptolemy and the teachings of the Church that the sun and all the stars revolved around a stationary Earth.  In the half-century since its publication, however, Copernicus' theory met mostly with skepticism.  Skeptics countered with the "common sense" notion that the earth they stood on appeared not to move at all--much less at the speed required to fully rotate every twenty-four hours while spinning around the sun.

Sometime in the mid-1590s, Galileo concluded that Copernicus got it right.  He admitted as much in a 1597 letter to Johannes Kepler, a German mathematician who had written about planetary systems: "Like you, I accepted the Copernican position several years ago and discovered from thence the cause of many natural effects which are doubtless inexplicable by the current theories."  Galileo, however, continued to keep his thoughts to a few trusted friends, as he explained to Kepler: "I have not dared until now to bring my reasons and refutations into the open, being warned by the fortunes of Copernicus himself, our master, who procured for himself immortal fame among a few but stepped down among the great crowd."

Galileo's discovery of the telescope in 1609 enabled him to confirm his beliefs in the Copernican system and emboldened him to make public arguments in its favor.  Through  a telescope set in his garden behind his house, Galileo saw the Milky Way, the valleys and mountains of the moon, and--especially relevant to his thinking about the Copernican system--four moons orbiting around Jupiter like a miniature planetary system.  Galileo, a good Catholic, offered "infinite thanks to God for being so kind as to make me alone the first observer of marvels kept hidden in obscurity for all previous centuries."  Galileo began talking about his observations at dinner parties and in public debates in Florence, where he has taken up a new post.

Galileo expected the telescope to quickly make believers in the Copernican system out of all educated persons, but he was disappointed.  He expressed his discouragement in a 1610 letter to Kepler:  "My dear Kepler, what would you say of the learned here, who, replete with the pertinacity of the asp, have steadfastly refused to cast a glance through the telescope?  What shall we make of this?  Shall we laugh, or shall we cry?"  It became clear that the Copernican theory had its enemies.

Galileo's first instinct was turn to acquiring more knowledge for those few open minds he was able to reach--disciples such as monk Benedetto Castelli.  Galileo wrote to Castelli: "In order to convince those obdurate men, who are out for the vain approval of the stupid vulgar, it would not me enough even if the stars came down on earth to bring witness about themselves.  Let us be concerned only with gaining knowledge for ourselves, and let us find therein our consolation."

Soon, however, Galileo--flamboyant by nature--decided that Copernicus was worth a fight. He decided to address his arguments to the enlightened public at large, rather than the hidebound academics.  He saw more hope for gaining support among businessmen, gentlemen, princes, and Jesuit astronomers than among the vested apologists of universities.  He seemed compelled to act as a consultant in natural philosophy to all who would listen.  He wrote  in tracts, pamphlets, letters, and dialogues--not in the turgid, polysyllabic manner of a university pedant, but simply and directly.

The Admonition and False Injunction of 1616

In 1613, just as Galileo published his Letters on the Solar Spots, an openly Copernican writing, the first attack came from a Dominican friar and professor of ecclesiastical history in Florence, Father Lorini.  Preaching on All Soul's Day, Lorini said that Copernican doctrine violated Scripture, which clearly places Earth, and not the Sun at the center of the universe.  What, if Copernicus were right, would be the sense of Joshua 10:13 which says "So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven" or Isaiah 40:22 that speaks of "the heavens stretched out as a curtain" above "the circle of the earth"?  Pressured later to apologize for his attack, Lorini later said that he "said a couple of words to the effect that the doctrine of Ipernicus [sic], or whatever his name is, was against Holy Scripture."

Galileo responded to criticism of his Copernican views in a December 1613 Letter to Castelli.  In his letter, Galileo argued that the Scripture--although truth itself--must be understood sometimes in a figurative sense. A reference, for example, to "the hand of God" is not meant to be interpreted as referring to a five-fingered appendage, but rather to His presence in human lives.  Given that the  Bible should not be interpreted literally in every case, Galileo contended, it is senseless to see it as supporting one view of the physical universe over another.  "Who," Galileo asked, "would dare assert that we know all there is to be known?"

Galileo hoped that his Letter to Castelli might foster a reconciliation of faith and science, but it only served to increase the heat.  His enemies accused him of attacking Scripture and meddling in theological affairs.  One among them, Father Lorini, raised the stakes for the battle when, on February 7, 1615, he sent to the Roman Inquisition a modified copy of Galileo's Letter to Castelli.  He attached his own comments to his submission:

   All our Fathers of this devout convent of St. Mark are of opinion that the letter contains many propositions which appear to be suspicious or presumptuous, as when it asserts that the language of Holy Scripture does not mean what it seems to mean; that in discussions about natural phenomena the last and lowest place ought to be given the authority of the sacred text; that its commentators have very often erred in their interpretation; that the Holy Scriptures should not be mixed up with anything except matters of religion....When, I say, I became aware of all of this, I made up my mind to acquaint your Lordship with the state of affairs, that you in your holy zeal for the Faith may, in conjunction with your illustrious colleagues, provide such remedies as may appear advisable....I, who hold that those who call themselves Galileists are orderly men and good Christians all, but a little overwise and conceited in their opinions, declare that I am actuated by nothing in this business but zeal for the sacred cause.

In fact, Lorini's letter appears more charitable than he in fact was.  He would stop at almost nothing to destroy the "Galileists," as is shown from his alteration--in certain key places--of the text of Galileo's Letter to Castelli.  For example, where Galileo had written: "There are in Scripture words which, taken in the strict literal meaning, look as if they differed from the truth," Lorini substituted: "which are false in their literal meaning."  However unscrupulous his methods, Lorini's denunciation succeeded in setting the machinery of the Catholic Church in motion.

Lorini had allies, such as Father Tommaso Caccini.  Caccini traveled to Rome to appear before the Holy Office and expose, as he saw it, "the errors of Galileo."  Called for examination on March 20, Caccini said that Florence was full of "Galileists" publicly declaring God to be an accident and doubting miracles. Caccini placed full blame for the sorry state of affairs on Galileo.  Asked the basis for his report, Caccini credited Lorini and a Father Ximenes.  Overall, the condemnation was hardly convincing.  Giorgio de Santillana, author of The Crime of Galileo, wrote of Caccini's testimony: "The whole deposition is such an interminable mass of twists and innuendoes and double talk that a summary does no justice to it."

Matteo Caccini, Tommaso's brother, fumed when he learned of his brother's denunciation of Galileo.  He described his brother as "lighter than a leaf and emptier than a pumpkin."  In an April letter he wrote of his Tommaso's action: "As to F. T., I am so angry that I could not be more, but I don't care to discuss it.  He opened up with me in private the other day, and he revealed such dreadful plans that I could scarcely control myself.  In any event, I wash my hands of him forever and ever."

Aware of the move against him, Galileo wrote to a friend, Monsignor Dini, asking that his letters be forwarded to the influential Cardinal Bellarmine, the Church's chief theologian, and--if it could be arranged--Pope Paul V.  Unfortunately for Galileo, the seventy-four-year old Cardinal Bellarmine "was no friend of novelties"  (although, unlike some of Galileo's other detractors, he had at least looked through a telescope and given--in 1611--an audience to Galileo).  In his innate conservatism he saw the Copernican universe as threatening to the social order.  To Bellarmine and much of the Church's upper echelon, the science of the matter was beyond their understanding--and in many cases their interest.  They cared about administration and preserving the power of the papal superstate more than they did getting astronomical facts right.

Bellarmine stated his views on the Galileo controversy in an April 12, 1615 letter to Father Foscarini, a highly-respected monk from Naples.  He indicated that Galileo could speak about the Copernican model "hypothetically, and not absolutely."  Bellarmine wrote that "to affirm that the Sun, in its very truth, is at the center of the a very dangerous attitude and one calculated not only to arouse all Scholastic philosophers and theologians but also to injure our faith by contradicting the Scriptures."

With "nineteen centuries of organized thought piling up to smother him," Galileo pleaded--in a powerful summary of thoughts on Scriptural interpretation and the evidence concerning the nature of the universe--his case in his Letter to the Grand Duchess.  He asked that his idea not be condemned "without understanding it, without hearing it, without even having seen it."  Galileo's eloquent Letter was forwarded to Rome where, in the words of one historian, "it sank out of sight as softly as a penny in a snowbank."

When depositions in the Galileo matter concluded, the Commissary-General forwarded two propositions of Galileo to eleven theologians (called "Qualifiers") for their evaluation: (1) The Sun is the center of the world and immovable of local motion, and (2) The Earth is not the center of the world, nor immovable, but moves according to the whole of itself, also with a diurnal motion.  Four days later, on February 23, 1616, the Qualifiers unanimously declared both propositions to be "foolish and absurd" and "formally heretical."  Less than two weeks later, Pope Paul V--described by the Florentine ambassador as "so averse to anything intellectual that everyone has to play dense and ignorant to gain his favor"--endorsed the theologian's conclusions.  The Pope, according to the Inquisition file, "directed the Lord Cardinal Bellarmine to summon before him the said Galileo and admonish him to abandon the said opinion; and, in the case of his refusal to obey, the Commissary of the Holy Office is to enjoin abstain altogether from teaching or defending this opinion and even from discussing it."

Summoned before Bellarmine on February 25, 1616 and admonished, Galileo--according to a witness, Cardinal Oregius--"remained silent with all his science and thus showed that no less praiseworthy than his mind was his pious disposition."  Oregius' account, and Galileo's own writings, indicate that Galileo did not "refuse to obey" the Church's admonition.  It is assumed, therefore, that Galileo was not formally enjoined.  Yet, surprisingly, in the Inquisition file there appeared the following entry:

   At the palace, the usual residence of  Lord Cardinal Bellarmine, the said Galileo, having been summoned and being present before the said Lord Cardinal, was...warned of the error of the aforesaid opinion and admonished to abandon it; and immediately thereafter...the said Galileo was by the said Commissary commanded and enjoined, in the name of His Holiness the Pope and the whole Congregation of the Holy Office, to relinquish altogether the said opinion that the Sun is the center of the world and immovable and that the Earth moves; nor further to hold, teach, or defend it in any way whatsoever, verbally or in writing; otherwise proceedings would be taken against him by the Holy Office; which injunction the said Galileo acquiesced in and promised to obey.

Many things about the entry are suspicious.  It appears in the Inquisition file where one would expect the actual Bellarmine  injunction (if it existed) to appear.  Moreover, the entry appears on the same page as the entry for the previous day--and every other report, legal act, and entry in the entire file begins at the top of a new page.  It is widely believed by historians that the reported injunction of Galileo was "a false injunction": the injunction never happened, but a false report was maliciously planted in the file by one of Galileo's enemies. Seventeen years later, Galileo would stand before the Inquisition charged with violating an injunction that was, in all likelihood, never issued against him.

The Trial of 1633

Galileo's admonition stopped the Copernican movement dead in its tracks.  For Galileo, his admonition marked the beginning of a period of silence.  He busied himself with such tasks as using tables of the moons of Jupiter to develop a chronometer for measuring longitude at sea.  He endured his rheumatism, enjoyed the attention of his daughter, Maria Celeste, and adjusted to a world which elevated mindless conformism over scientific understanding.

In 1623, Galileo received some hopeful news: Cardinal Maffeo Barberini had been elected Pope.  Unlike the dull and mean-tempered Pope Paul V, the new Pope Urban VIII held a generally positive view of the arts and science.  Writing from Rome, the Pope's private secretary, Secretary of the Briefs Ciampoli, urged Galileo to resume publication of his ideas:  "If you would resolve to commit to print those ideas that you still have in mind, I am quite certain that they would be most acceptable to His Holiness, who never ceases from admiring your eminence and preserves intact his attachment for you.  You should not deprive the world of your productions."

In the early years of his reign, Pope Urban VIII held long audiences with Galileo.  Encouraged by a Pope who seemed open to renewed debate on the merits of the Copernican system (so long as the arguments fell short of purporting to be a definite refutation of the Earth-centered universe), Galileo began work on a book that would eventually prove his undoing, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems.

On December 24, 1629, Galileo told friends in Rome that he had completed work on his 500-page Dialogue.  The Dialogue has been described as "the story of the mind of Galileo."  The book reveals Galileo as physicist and astronomer, sophisticate and sophist, polemicist and polished writer.  Unlike the works of Copernicus and Kepler, Galileo's Dialogue was a book for the educated public, not specialists.  Although using the form of a debate among three Italian gentlemen, Galileo marshaled a variety of arguments to lead his readers to one inexorable conclusion: Copernicus was right. The character Salviati, a person of "sublime intellect," clearly speaks for Galileo in arguing for a Sun-centered system.  Sagredo is a Venetian nobleman, open-minded and hesitant to draw conclusions--a good listener.  Simplico is the straw man of the debate, a stubborn, literal-minded defender of the Earth-centered universe.

Early news from Rome gave Galileo reason for optimism that his book would soon be published.  The Vatican's chief licenser, Niccolo Riccardi, reportedly promised his help and said that theological difficulties could be overcome.  When Galileo arrived in Rome in May 1630, he wrote: "His Holiness has begun to treat of my affairs in a spirit which allows me to hope for a favorable result."  Urban VIII reiterated his previously stated view that if the book treated the contending views hypothetically and not absolutely, the book could be published.

Reading the book for the first time, chief licenser Riccardi came to see the book as less hypothetical--and therefore more problematic--than he expected it to be.  Riccardi demanded that the Preface and conclusion to revised to be more consistent with the Pope's position.  In August 1630, in the midst of his required revising, Galileo received a letter from his friend Benedetto Castelli in Rome urging him, for "weighty reasons" which he "not wish to commit to paper," to print the Dialogue in Florence "as soon as possible."  Galileo's Jesuit opponents in Rome were aiming to block publication.

Riccardi seemed paralyzed with indecision.  Caught between two powerful forces, he did nothing as Galileo fretted that his great work might never see the light of day.  "The months and the years pass," Galileo complained, "my life wastes away, and my work is condemned to rot."

Finally, reluctantly ("dragged by the hair," according to one account), Riccardi gave the green light.  The first copy of Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems came off the press in February 1632.  The book, which quickly sold out, soon became the talk of the literary public.

By late summer, Galileo's hopes turned to fears when he learned that orders had come from Rome to suspend publication of his book.  On September 5, the full scope of Galileo's problems became clearer when Pope Urban told Francesco Niccolini, who had come to the Vatican to protest the suspension decision, "Your Galileo has ventured to meddle in things that he ought not and with the most grave and dangerous subjects that can be stirred up these days."  Jesuit enemies of Galileo had convinced the Pope that the Dialogue was nothing but a thinly-veiled brief for the Copernican model.  The Pope complained that Galileo and Ciampoli deceived him, assuring him that the book would comply with papal instructions and then circumventing them.  The Pope seemed especially embittered by Galileo's decision to put the Pope's own argument concerning the tides into the mouth of the simple-minded Simplico--an attempt, as he saw it, to ridicule him.

The Pope swung the machinery of the Church into motion.  He appointed a special commission to investigate the Galileo matter. Riccardi, the chief licenser, was severely lectured.  Ciampoli was exiled to obscure posts, never to return to Rome.

Galileo, too, became angry.  His noble goal of spreading scientific awareness to the public was being frustrated by a narrow-minded bureaucracy intent on preserving its own power.  He believed he had done no wrong.  He had been authorized to write about Copernicanism, had followed the required form, revised his work to meet censors' objections, and obtained a license.  What more could authorities expect?  How could the law reach him when he had acted with such care?

The water in which Galileo found himself soon became even deeper. The special commission's report to the Pope outlined a series of indictments against Galileo.  On September 15, the Pope turned the matter over to the Inquisition.  Eight days later, the General Congregation declared--in what would come as a shock to Galileo--that he had violated the 1616 (so-called) injunction against teaching, holding, or writing about Copernican theory.

On October 1, 1632, the Inquisitor of Florence showed up at Galileo's house with a summons to present himself to the Holy Office in Rome within a month.  In despair, Galileo expressed regret for involving himself with the Copernican cause:  "I curse the time devoted to these studies in which I strove and hoped to move away somewhat from the beaten path.  I repent having given the world a portion of my writings; I feel inclined to consign what is left to the flames and thus placate at last the inextinguishable hatred of my enemies."  The fire left his belly.  He declined urgings to escape to the Venetian territory and instead asked that proceedings against him be moved to Florence.  His request was denied: the Pope insisted that the old man, weak and ill though he was, make the two-hundred mile wintertime journey to Rome.

On February 13, 1633, Galileo completed his twenty-three day trip to Rome and took up lodging in the Florentine embassy.  It was not a good time.  The Grand Duke reported that Galileo "for two nights continuous...cried and moaned in sciatic pain; and his advancing age and sorrow."  His only consolation during his stay at the embassy seemed to be that soon he would finally have a chance to defend his science and theology.

On April 8, Niccolini informed Galileo that he would stand trial before ten cardinals.  A more difficult chore for Niccolini was to break the news to him that the merits of his case--as a practical matter--had been decided already; all he could do was submit.

Four days later, Galileo officially surrendered to the Holy Office and faced Father Firenzuola, the Commissary-General of the Inquisition, and his assistants.  Firenzuola informed Galileo that for the duration of the proceedings against him he would be imprisoned in the Inquisition building.  After putting Galileo under oath, the Commissary deposed Galileo concerning meetings he held with Cardinal Bellarmine and other church officials in 1616.  Galileo seemed to have trouble remembering who might have been present with Bellarmine on that fateful February day seventeen years earlier, as well as exactly what restrictions--if any--had been placed upon him.  Firenzuola told Galileo that he had been commanded to "neither hold, defend, nor teach that [the Copernican] opinion in any way whatsoever."  Galileo quibbled with the language--suggesting "I do not remember...the clause "in any way whatsoever"--, but accepted most of what the Commissary said.  After a series of questions concerning the licensing of the Dialogue, Galileo signed his deposition in a shaking hand.

Three counselors to the Inquisition, driven especially by Galileo-hating Melchior Inchofer, prepared a seven-page evaluation of the Dialogue.  The report concluded that in the book Galileo taught, defended, and showed that he held Copernican theory, and that--while claiming to discuss world models hypothetically--he gave the Copernican model "a physical reality."

Weeks past as internal debates raged over what the Inquisitors should do with their old scientist.  Finally, Cardinal Francesco Barberini, a moderating influence on the panel of ten judges deciding Galileo's fate, persuaded the Commissary to meet with Galileo and convince him to admit error in return for a more lenient sentence. In a letter written by the Commissary (and not discovered until 1833), Firenzuola described his April 27 discussion with Galileo:  "I entered into discourse with Galileo yesterday afternoon, and after many arguments and rejoinders had passed between us, by God's grace, I attained my object, for I brought him to a full sense of his error, so that he clearly recognized that he had erred and had gone too far in his book."

Some historians have seen Galileo's decision to admit error as a "final self-degradation."  Others, including Giorgio de Santillana, have seen it as the only rational move open to him: "He was not a religious visionary being asked to renounce his vision.  He was an intelligent man who had taken heavy risks to force an issue and to change a policy for the good of his faith.  He had been snubbed; he had nothing to do but pay the price and go home.  The scientific truth would take care of itself."

The trial by the Congregation moved to its conclusion.  Several of the ten cardinals apparently pushed for Galileo's incarceration in prison, while those more supportive of Galileo argued that--with changes--the Dialogue ought to continue to be allowed to circulate.  In the end, a majority of the cardinals--rejecting much of the Commissary's agreement with Galileo--demanded Galileo "even with the threat of torture...abjure in a plenary assembly of the Congregation of the Holy Office...[and] then be condemned to imprisonment at the pleasure of the Holy Congregation."  Moreover, the cardinals declared, the Dialogue "is to be prohibited."

The grand play ran its course, with the Pope insisting upon a formal sentence, a tough examination of Galileo, public abjuration, and "formal prison."  Galileo was forced to appear once again for formal questioning about his true feelings concerning the Copernican system.  Galileo obliged, so as not to risk being branded a heretic, testifying that "I held, as I still hold, as most true and indisputable, the opinion of Ptolemy, that is to say, the stability of the Earth and the motion of the Sun."  Galileo's renunciation of Copernicanism ended with the words, "I affirm, therefore, on my conscience, that I do not now hold the condemned opinion and have not held it since the decision of authorities....I am here in your hands--do with me what you please."

On the morning of June 22, 1633, Galileo, dressed in the white shirt of penitence, entered the large hall of the Inquisition building.  He knelt and listened to his sentence:  "Whereas you, Galileo, the son of the late Vincenzo Galilei, Florentine, aged seventy years, were in the year 1615 denounced to this Holy Office for holding as true the false doctrine....."  The reading continued for seventeen paragraphs:

   And, so that you will be more cautious in future, and an example for others to abstain from delinquencies of this sort, we order that the book Dialogue of Galileo Galilei be prohibited by public edict. We condemn you to formal imprisonment in this Holy Office at our pleasure.

   As a salutary penance we impose on you to recite the seven penitential psalms once a week for the next three years. And we reserve to ourselves the power of moderating, commuting, or taking off, the whole or part of the said penalties and penances.

   This we say, pronounce, sentence, declare, order and reserve by this or any other better manner or form that we reasonably can or shall think of. So we the undersigned Cardinals pronounce.

Seven of the ten cardinals signed the sentence.

Following the reading of the sentence, Galileo knelt to recite his abjuration:

   ....[D]esiring to remove from the minds of your Eminences, and of all faithful Christians, this strong suspicion, reasonably conceived against me, with sincere heart and unfeigned faith I abjure, curse, and detest the aforesaid errors and heresies, and generally every other error and sect whatsoever contrary to the said Holy Church; and I swear that in the future I will never again say or assert, verbally or in writing, anything that might furnish occasion for a similar suspicion regarding me....

   I, the said Galileo Galilei, have abjured, sworn, promised, and bound myself as above; and in witness of the truth thereof I have with my own hand subscribed the present document of my abjuration, and recited it word for word at Rome, in the Convent of Minerva, this twenty-second day of June, 1633.

   I, Galileo Galilei, have abjured as above with my own hand.

Two days later, Galileo was released to the custody of the Florentine ambassador.  Niccolini described his charge as "extremely downcast over his punishment."  After six days in the custody of Niccolini, custody of Galileo transferred to Archbishop Piccolomini in Sienna.  In late 1633, Galileo received permission to move into his own small farmhouse in Arcetri, where he would grow blind and, in 1642, die.

To be continued in next post below . . . . .
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Re: The Trial of Galileo 1633 CE - (Re-post From Old Forum)

Post by Big Fat Heretic on Mon Dec 01, 2014 6:45 am

. . . . . . . . . .Continued from above

And here's more. It gets even better!

Admonition (Injunction?) of Galileo
(February 26, 1616)

The original admonition document is missing.  A transcribed report exists in the Inquisition file.  It is a key matter of dispute whether Galileo was actually enjoined from discussing Copernican theory, as the transcribed report--discovered in 1633--indicates.  Scholars have questioned the authenticity of the report, arguing that the procedures described did not comport with established forms and that the substance was not consistent with what we know of events of 1616.  (Translated from Latin.)

[The file report begins with a reference to the Pope's decree of  February 25, 1616:]

Thursday, 25 February 1616.  The Lord Cardinal Mellini notified the Reverend Fathers, the Assessor, and the Commissary of the Holy Office that the censure passed by the theologians upon the propositions of Galileoâ??to the effect that the Sun is the centre of the world and immovable from its place, and that the Earth moves, and also with a diurnal motionâ??had been reported; and His Holiness has directed the Lord Cardinal Bellarmine to summon before him the said Galileo and admonish him to abandon the said opinion; and, in case of his refusal to obey,  that the Commissary is to enjoin on him, before a notary and witnesses, a command to abstain altogether from teaching or defending this opinion and doctrine and even from discussing it, and, if he do not acquiesce therein, that he is to be imprisoned.

Friday, the twenty-sixth.  At the palace, the usual residence of  Lord Cardinal Bellarmine, the said Galileo, having been summoned and being present before the said Lord Cardinal, was, in the presence of the Most Reverend Michelangelo Segizi of Lodi, of the order of Preachers, Commissary-General of the Holy Office, by the said Cardinal, warned of the error of the aforesaid opinion and admonished to abandon it; and immediately thereafter, before me and before witnesses, the Lord Cardinal being present, the said Galileo was by the said Commissary commanded and enjoined, in the name of His Holiness the Pope and the whole Congregation of the Holy Office, to relinquish altogether the said opinion that the Sun is the center of the world and immovable and that the Earth moves; nor further to hold, teach, or defend it in any way whatsoever, verbally or in writing; otherwise proceedings would be taken against him by the Holy Office; which injunction the said Galileo acquiesced in and promised to obey.  Done at Rome, in the place aforesaid, in the presence of R. Badino Nores, of Nicosia in the kingdom of Cyprus, and Agostino Mongardo, from a place in the Abbey of Rose in the diocese of Montepulciano, members of the household of said Cardinal, witnesses.

Less than two weeks after Galileo received his admonition, the Church took the formal step of suspending or prohibiting publication and distribution of books suggesting that the Earth revolved around the Sun:

Decree of General Congregation of the Index

March 5, 1616

...And whereas it has also come to the knowledge of the said Congregation that the Pythagorean doctrineâ??which is false and altogether opposed to the Holy Scriptureâ??of the motion of the Earth, and the immobility of the Sun, which is also taught by Nicolaus Copernicus in De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, and by Diego de Zuniga [in his book] on Job, is not being spread abroad and accepted by manyâ??as may be seen from a certain letter of a Carmelite Father, entitled Letter of the Rev. Father Paolo Antonio Foscarini, Carmelite, on the Opinion of the Pythagoreans and of Copernicus concerning the Motion of the Earth, and the Stability of the Sun, and the New Pythagorean System of the World, at Naples, Printed by Lazzaro Scoriggio, 1615: wherein the said Father attempts to show that the aforesaid doctrine of the immobility of the sun in the centre of the world, and of the Earthâ??s motion, is consonant with truth and is not opposed to Holy Scripture.  Therefore, in order that this opinion may not insinuate itself any further to the prejudice of Catholic truth, the Holy Congregation has decreed that the said Nicolaus Copernicus, De revolutionibus orbium, and Diego de Zuniga, On Job, be suspended until they be corrected; but that the book of the Carmelite Father, Paolo Antonio Foscarini, be altogether prohibited and condemned, and that all other works likewise, in which the same is taught, be prohibited, as by this present decree it prohibits, condemns, and suspends them all respectively.  In witness whereof the present decree has been signed and sealed with the hands and with the seal of the most eminent and Reverend Lord Cardinal of St. Cecilia, Bishop of Albano, on the fifth day of March, 1616.

They certainly didn't believe in freedom of speech back in the day.

But then, they were living under a Theocracy.

Galileo was warned not to even discuss his theories verbally with anyone.

Essentially Galileo was issued his official Shut The Fuck Up Papers!

And here's some more.

Galileo's Defense
Galileo's Defense (May 10, 1633)

When asked if I had signified to the Reverend Father, the Master of the Holy Palace, the injunction privately laid upon me, about sixteen years ago, by the order of the Holy Office, not to hold, defend, or "in any way" teach the doctrine of the motion of the Earth and the stability of the Sun, I answered that I had not done so.  And, not being questioned as to the reason why I had not intimated it, I had no opportunity to add anything further.  It now appears to me necessary to state the reason, in order to demonstrate the purity of my intention, ever foreign to the practice of simulation or deceit in any operation I engage in.

I say, then, that, as at that time reports were spread abroad by evil-disposed persons to the effect that I had been summoned by the Lord Cardinal Bellarmine to abjure certain of my opinions and teachings and also to submit to penitence for them, I was thus constrained to apply to his Eminence and to solicit him to furnish me with an attestation, explaining the cause for which I had been summoned before him; which attestation I obtained in his own handwriting, and it is the same that I now produce with the present document.  From this it clearly appears that it was merely announced to me that the doctrine attributed to Copernicus, of the motion of the Earth and the stability of the Sun, must not be held or defended; but that, beyond this general announcement affecting everyone, there should have been ordered anything to me in particular, no trace thereof appears in it.

Having, then, as a reminder, this authentic attestation in the handwriting of the very person who informed me of the command, I made no further application of thought or memory with regard to the words employed in orally announcing to me the said order not to hold or defend the doctrine in question; so that the two articles of the order--in addition to the injunction not to "hold" or "defend" it--to wit, the words "not to teach it" and "in any way whatsoever"--which, I hear, are contained in the order enjoined on me, and registered--struck me as quite novel and as if I had not heard them before; and I do not think I ought to be disbelieved when I urge that in the course of fourteen or sixteen years I had lost all recollection of them, especially as I had no need to give any particular thought to them, having in my possession so authentic a reminder in writing.  Now, if the said two articles accompanying attestation, there is no doubt that the injunction contained in the latter is the same command as that contained in the decree of the Holy Congregation of the Index.  Hence it appears to me that I have a reasonable excuse for not having notified to the Master of the Holy Palace about the command privately imposed upon me, it being the same as that of the Congregation of the Index.

Now, if so be my book was not subject to a stricter censorship than that made binding by the decree of the Index, it will, it appears to me, be sufficiently plain that I adopted the surest and most becoming method of having it guaranteed and purged of all shadow of taint, inasmuch as I handed it to the Supreme Inquisitor at the very time when many books dealing with the same matters were being prohibited solely by virtue of the said decree.  After what I have now stated, I would confidently hope that the idea of my having knowingly and deliberately violated the command imposed upon me will henceforth be entirely banished from the minds of my most eminent and wise judges; hence those faults which are seen scattered throughout my book have not been artfully introduced with any concealed or other than sincere intention but have only inadvertently fallen from my pen, owing to a vainglorious ambition and complacency in desiring to appear more subtle than the generality of popular writers, as indeed in another deposition I have confessed; which fault I shall be ready to correct with all possible industry whenever I may be commanded or permitted by Their Most Eminent Lordships.

Lastly, it remains for me to beg you to take into consideration my pitiable state of bodily indisposition, to which, at the age of seventy years, I have been reduced by ten months of constant mental anxiety and the fatigue of a long and toilsome journey at the most inclement season--together with the loss of a greater part of the years to which, from my previous condition of health, I had the prospect.  I am persuaded and encouraged to do so by the faith I have in the clemency and goodness of the most Eminent Lords, my judges; with the hope that they may be pleased, in answer to my prayer, to remit what may appear in their entire justice the rightful addition that is still lacking to such sufferings to make up an adequate punishment for my crimes, out of consideration for my declining age, which, too, humbly commends itself to them.  And I would equally commend to their consideration my honor and reputation, against the calumnies of ill-wishers, whose persistence in detracting from my good name may be inferred from the necessity which constrained me to procure from the Lord Cardinal Bellarmine the attestation which accompanies this.

Source:  Giorgio de Santillana, The Crime of Galileo Affair, pp. 258-260 (University of Chicago Press 1955).

And it keeps on getting better and better all the time!

Here's some more.

Papal Condemnation (Sentence) of Galileo
(June 22, 1633)

Whereas you, Galileo, son of the late Vaincenzo Galilei, Florentine, aged seventy years, were in the year 1615 denounced to this Holy Office for holding as true the false doctrine taught by some that the Sun is the center of the world and immovable and that the Earth moves, and also with a diurnal motion; for having disciples to whom you taught the same doctrine; for holding correspondence with certain mathematicians of Germany concerning the same; for having printed certain letters, entitled "On the Sunspots," wherein you developed the same doctrine as true; and for replying to the objections from the Holy Scriptures, which from time to time were urged against it, by glossing the said Scriptures according to your own meaning: and whereas there was thereupon produced the copy of a document in the form of a letter, purporting to be written by you to one formerly your disciple, and in this divers propositions are set forth, following the position of Copernicus, which are contrary to the true sense and authority of Holy Scripture:

This Holy Tribunal being therefore of intention to proceed against the disorder and mischief thence resulting, which went on increasing to the prejudice of the Holy Faith, by command of His Holiness and of the Most Eminent Lords Cardinals of this supreme and universal Inquisition, the two propositions of the stability of the Sun and the motion of the Earth were by the theological Qualifiers qualified as follows:

The proposition that the Sun is the center of the world and does not move from its place is absurd and false philosophically and formally heretical, because it is expressly contrary to Holy Scripture.

The proposition that the Earth is not the center of the world and immovable but that it moves, and also with a diurnal motion, is equally absurd and false philosophically and theologically considered at least erroneous in faith.

But whereas it was desired at that time to deal leniently with you, it was decreed at the Holy Congregation held before His Holiness on the twenty-fifth of February, 1616, that his Eminence the Lord Cardinal Bellarmine should order you to abandon altogether the said false doctrine and, in the event of your refusal, that an injunction should be imposed upon you by the Commissary of the Holy Office to give up the said doctrine and not to teach it to others, not to defend it, nor even to discuss it; and your failing your acquiescence in this injunction, that you should be imprisoned. In execution of this decree, on the following day at the palace of and in the presence of the Cardinal Bellarmine, after being gently admonished by the said Lord Cardinal, the command was enjoined upon you by the Father Commissary of the Holy Office of that time, before a notary and witnesses, that you were altogether to abandon the said false opinion and not in the future to hold or defend or teach it in any way whatsoever, neither verbally nor in writing; and upon your promising to obey, you were dismissed.

And in order that a doctrine so pernicious might be wholly rooted out and not insinuate itself further to the grave prejudice of Catholic truth, a decree was issued by the Holy Congregation of the Index prohibiting the books which treat of this doctrine and declaring the doctrine itself to be false and wholly contrary to the sacred and divine Scripture.

And whereas a book appeared here recently, printed last year at Florence, the title of which shows that you were the author, this title being: â??Dialogue of Galileo Galilei on the Great World System:â?; and whereas the Holy Congregation was afterward informed that through the publication of said book the false opinion of the motion of the Earth and the stability of the Sun was daily gaining round, the said book was taken into careful consideration, and in it there was discovered a patent violation of the aforesaid injunction that had been imposed upon you, for in this book you have defended the said opinion previously condemned and to your face declared to be so, although in the said book you strive by various devices to produce the impression that you leave it undecided, and in express terms as probably: which, however, is a most grievous error, as an opinion can in no wise be probable which has been declared and defined to be contrary to divine Scripture.

Therefore by our order you were cited before this Holy office, where, being examined upon our oath, you acknowledged the book to be written and published by you.  You confessed that you began to write the said book about ten or twelve years ago, after the command had been imposed upon you as above; that you requested license ot print it without, however, intimating to those who granted you this license that you had been commanded not to hold, defend, or teach the doctrine in question in any way whatever.

You likewise confessed that the writing of the said book is in many places drawn up in such a form that the reader might fancy that the arguments brought forward on the false side are calculated by their cogency to compel conviction rather than to be easy of refutation, excusing yourself for having fallen into an error, as you alleged, so foreign to your intention, by the fact that you had written in dialogue and by the natural complacency that every man feels in regard to his own subtleties and in showing himself more clever than the generality of men in devising, even on behalf of false propositions, ingenious and plausible arguments.

And a suitable term having been assigned to you to prepare your defense, you produced a certificate in the handwriting of his Eminence the Lord Cardinal Bellarmine, procured by you, as you asserted, in order to defend yourself against the calumnies of your enemies, who charged that you had abjured and had been punished by the Holy Office, in which certificate it is declared that you had not abjured and had not been punished but only that the declaration made by His Holiness and published by the Holy Congregation of the Index has been announced to you, wherein it is declared that the doctrine of the motion of the Earth and the stability of the Sun is contrary to the Holy Scriptures and therefore cannot be defended or held.  And, as in this certificate there is no mention of the two articles of the injunction, namely, the order not â??to teachâ? and â??in any way,â? you represented that we ought to believe that in the course of fourteen or sixteen years you had lost all memory of them and that this was why you said nothing of the injunction when you requested permission to print your book.   And all this you urged not by way of excuse for your error but that it might be set down to a vainglorious ambitions rather than to malice.  But his certificate produced by you in your defense has only aggravated your delinquency, since, although it is there stated that said opinion is contrary to Holy Scripture, you have nevertheless dared to discuss and defend it and to argue its probability; nor does the license artfully and cunningly extorted by you avail you anything, since you did not notify the command imposed upon you.

And whereas it appeared to us that you had not stated the full truth with regard to your intention, we thought it necessary to subject you to a rigorous examination at which (without prejudice, however, to the matters confessed by you and set forth as above with regard to your said intention) you answered like a good Catholic.  Therefore, having seen and maturely considered the merits of this your cause, together with your confessions and excuses above-mentioned, and all that ought justly to be seen and considered, we have arrived at the underwritten final sentence against you:

Invoking, therefore, the most holy name of our Lord Jesus Christ and of His most glorious Mother, ever Virgin Mary, but this our final sentence, which sitting in judgment, with the counsel and advice of the Reverend Masters of sacred theology and Doctors of both Laws, our assessors, we deliver in these writings, in the cause and causes at present before us between the Magnificent Carlo Sinceri, Doctor of both Laws, Proctor Fiscal of this Holy Office, of the one part, and your Galileo Galilei, the defendant, here present, examined, tried, and confessed as shown above, of the other partâ??

We say, pronounce, sentence, and declare that you, the said Galileo, by reason of the matters adduced in trial, and by you confessed as above, have rendered yourself in the judgment of this Holy Office vehemently suspected of heresy, namely, of having believed and held the doctrineâ??which is false and contrary to the sacred and divine Scripturesâ??that the Sun is the center of the world and does not move from east to west and that the Earth moves and is not the center of the world; and that an opinion may be held and defended as probably after it has been declared and defined to be contrary to the Holy Scripture; and that consequently you have incurred all the censures and penalties imposed and promulgated in the sacred canons and other constitutions, general and particular, against such delinquents.  From which we are content that you be absolved, provided that, first, with a sincere heart and unfeigned faith, you abjure, curse, and detest before use the aforesaid errors and heresies and every other error and heresy contrary to the Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church in the form to be prescribed by us for you.

And in  order that this your grave and pernicious error and transgression may not remain altogether unpunished and that you may be more cautious in the future and an example to others that they may abstain from similar delinquencies, we ordain that the book of the â??Dialogues of Galileo Galileiâ? be prohibited by public edict.

We condemn you to the formal prison of this Holy office during our pleasure, and by way of salutary penance we enjoin that for three years to come you repeat once a week at the seven penitential Psalms. Reserving to ourselves liberty to moderate, commute or take off, in whole or in part, the aforesaid penalties and penance.

And so we say, pronounce, sentence, declare, ordain, and reserve in this an din any other better way and form which we can and may rightfully employ.


F. Cardinal of Ascoli
B. Cardinal Gessi
G. Cardinal Bentivoglio
F. Cardinal Verospi
Fr. D. Cardinal of Cremona
M. Cardinal Ginetti
Fr. Ant. s Cardinal of. S. Onofrio

[Three judges did not sign the sentence: Francesco Barberini, Caspar Borgia, and Laudivio Zacchia.]
Source:  Giorgio de Santillana, The Crime of Galileo (University of Chicago Press 1955), pp. 306-310

Eventually, after being interrogated for many long hours, and threatened with the possibility of torture, Galileo recanted his convictions that the earth and planets revolved around the sun and confessed to doctrinal error.

It was a false confession made under duress. By then, he was an old man going blind and he was in poor health, being weak and frail he could not fight any longer. He signed the confession.

Recantation of Galileo (June 22, 1633)

Concluding portion of Galileo's Recantation (or Abjuration)

"I, Galileo, son of the late Vincenzo Galilei, Florentine, aged seventy years, arraigned personally before this tribunal, and kneeling before you, Most Eminent and Reverend Lord Cardinals, Inquisitors-General against heretical depravity throughout the entire Christian commonwealth, having before my eyes and touching with my hands, the Holy Gospels, swear that I have always believed, do believe, and by God's help will in  the future believe, all that is held, preached, and taught by the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. But whereas -- after an injunction had been judicially intimated to me by this Holy Office, to the effect that I must altogether abandon the false opinion that the sun is the center of the world and immovable, and that the earth is not the center of the world, and moves, and that I must not hold, defend, or teach in any way whatsoever, verbally or in writing, the said false doctrine, and after it had been notified to me that the said doctrine was contrary to Holy Scripture -- I wrote and printed a book in which I discuss this new doctrine already condemned, and adduce arguments of great cogency in its favor, without presenting any solution of these, and for this reason I have been pronounced by the Holy Office to be vehemently suspected of heresy, that is to say, of having held and believed that the Sun is the center of the world and immovable, and that the earth is not the center and moves:

Therefore, desiring to remove from the minds of your Eminences, and of all faithful Christians, this vehement suspicion, justly conceived against me, with sincere heart and unfeigned faith I abjure, curse, and detest the aforesaid errors and heresies, and generally every other error, heresy,  and sect whatsoever contrary to the said Holy Church, and I swear that in the future I will never again say or assert, verbally or in writing, anything that might furnish occasion for a similar suspicion regarding me; but that should I know any heretic, or person suspected of heresy, I will denounce him to this Holy Office, or to the Inquisitor or Ordinary of the place where I may be. Further, I swear and promise to fulfill and observe in their integrity all penances that have been, or that shall be, imposed upon me by this Holy Office. And, in the event of my contravening, (which God forbid) any of these my promises and oaths, I submit myself to all the pains and penalties imposed and promulgated in the sacred canons and other constitutions, general and particular, against such delinquents. So help me God, and these His Holy Gospels, which I touch with my hands.

I, the said Galileo Galilei, have abjured, sworn, promised, and bound myself as above; and in witness of the truth thereof I have with my own hand subscribed the present document of my abjuration, and recited it word for word at Rome, in the Convent of Minerva, this twenty-second day of June, 1633.

I, Galileo Galilei, have abjured as above with my own hand."


[Galileo's Recantation excludes two points included in the original formula for abjuration presented to him by the Cardinals.  These two points, objected to by Galileo, would have had him declare that he was not a good Catholic and that he deceived others in publishing his book.]

Source:  Giorgio de Santillana, The Crime of Galileo (University of Chicago Press 1955), pp. 312-313.

And so, Galileo spent the remainder of his life under house arrest until he died

Thus ends the story of Galileo.

I remember when I was about 9 years old when I read about the life of Galileo for the very first time, and I broke down in tears.

He was a very outspoken individual, sometimes known to be a real loudmouth. Yes, in his younger days, he was a real intellectual bad-ass who didn't take any Papal Bull-shit from anyone!

But eventually, as an old man in frail health, he was slowly going blind and his spirit was broken, and he just could not fight anymore.

Reading about him stirred up a spirit of rebellion within me, and it was because of what I had read about Galileo, the more I read about him, the more I had read about the so-called Holy Office and the Inquisition, the more rebellious and anti-establishment I became in my teenage years, and the more I resented anybody around me with an authoritarian attitude.

In later years, when I was in my late 20s, I was in another library when I came across an old looking book about the Inquisition. When I opened it, I noticed that the book was indeed very old because it had a 1900 copyright date on it and the pages were yellow with age.

The book was written by someone named Ingersoll. It was titled A SHORT HISTORY OF THE INQUISITION, yeah, like, short my ass!!! The title was a misnomer because it was anything but a "short" history. The book had over 2000 pages!

It took me over a week to finish reading it. Yes, it gave me nightmares! I would be reading for about an hour, then I had to put the book down, but then after about 10 or 15 minutes later, I had to go back to that book again. It kept drawing me back. It was the most disturbing, the most revolting, and at the same time, the most addictive book I had ever read.

Sometimes when you read a book, the book reads you!

It was the most disturbing book I had ever read. It exposed some of the most gruesome details of the Inquisition from the years 1100 to about 1830 which is about how long the Inquisition lasted, over 700 years of pure Hell on earth.

The book also went into the history of slavery in the USA during the Civil War years, and I learned stuff I was never taught in school, the really gruesome details of how slaves were punished.

I'm glad I got a chance to read that book, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is seeking the whole truth behind the Inquisition. But be warned! That particular book will draw you into it, and won't let you go until you have finished reading it, and long after you have finished it and returned it to the library, that book will stay with you for the rest of your life. I should know, because I'll never forget it. I'll carry that book within me for the rest of my life.

Incidentally, the book was published by THE TRUTH SEEKER COMPANY.  

Anyway . . . . .

Sometime after Galileo had died, somebody cut off a couple of fingers from his corps, his thumb and middle finger, which is now on display in a museum in Florance Italy.

His middle finger is on display in a glass case, and it's almost as if his middle finger is raised in a gesture of defiance.

Well, out of respect for Galileo, I'm not going to post an image of it. I feel that it was highly disrespectful for anyone to cut off pieces of his corps.

Why couldn't they just let dear gentleman rest in peace!!!

Anyway . . . . . . . once again, I post the YouTube link to the music video with the song about Galileo.

Galileo Galilei (Lyrics by Jugnutgut aka Rob)

Galileo Galilei

He was a man of science
A giant of his day
He unraveled mysteries
Galileo . . . Galileo Galilei

He looked thru the looking glass
And saw a new display
He saw the moons of Jupiter
Galileo . . . Galileo Galilei

Oh Oh Galileo
Oh Oh Galilei
Oh Oh Galileo
Galileo Galilei

He studied spots on the Sun
His knowledge, he'd convey
He told us how and why things moved
Galileo . . . Galileo Galilei

He said the Earth was not the center
That was not the way
It was the Sun and not the Earth
Galileo . . . Galileo Galilei

Oh Oh Galileo
Oh Oh Galilei
Oh Oh Galileo
Galileo Galilei

Some did not approve
Of all he had to say
They said he must be silent
Galileo . . . Galileo Galilei

He was a man of science
A giant of his day
He unraveled mysteries
Galileo . . . Galileo Galilei

Rest in peace dear Galileo
Big Fat Heretic
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