Catholic Church Seemingly Reverses Apology to Galileo

February 22, 2014 by  
Filed under Libs & Trads

Twenty two years after the historic “apology” of Pope John Paul II to Galileo in 1992, astronomers are beginning to question the apology’s sincerity. “The beauty of the Copernican solar system, and following it, that of Galileo, was its simplicity,” said one astronomer, “you put the sun in the middle, and the whole mess is cleared up. That’s what made it so convincing against the Ptolemaic system.” The system of Ptolemy, placing earth, and therefore mankind, in the center of the universe, had to become more and more complicated in order to justify itself. “You had circles within circles, spirals, unnatural motions, and nobody knew where to look, what the middle was, or what was really going on,” said a historian of early renaissance thought. “The worst part of it all was that all this was being done just so we could make ourselves the most important thing in the solar system, rather than the Sun. It required mental acrobatics that seem, in retrospect, simply embarrassing, though at the time they had convinced almost everyone.” He concluded, “At some point, the system just stopped making sense, and had to be thrown out.”

  • TJPW

    I don’t get it.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      It’s the observation that in many parishes, the focus is all on the people instead of on God (similar to how Ptolemaic theory placed the Earth at the center of the universe).

      • TJPW

        I see… thanks!

      • Ok now I get it. Whew I was worried for a minute…

  • Paul Schumann

    Tabernacle = Sun … no longer center of attention.
    Priest isn’t united with congregation facing the Blessed Sacrament, he’s looking at them.
    Clever stuff.

    • Nick the Californian


  • Jude Keck

    Except the band was left off. At the three churches around here the musicians, choir, and all their paraphenalia (instruments, microphones, amps, music stands, etc…) are just to the left of the priest as he faces his audience. Yes, it’s an audience, because there is always clapping at the end.

  • The scandal, or problem with the Ptolemaic system, and the anomaly which astronomers struggled with until Copernicus and Kepler came up with answers, was a problem with the orbit of Mars, which seemed to speed up and slow down at different times, which was kind of contrary to the idea of eternal and perfect circular motion, an idea which unified theological and astronomical theories. And Ptolemy’s mathematical solution, the equant, was considered a scandal. Hence–Copernicus, Kepler, and ellipses. But I don’t get where this post is going. In early astronomy science and theology were the same thing. that was very elegant, and nice. I sense the regret,but not much more….

  • Douglas Beaumont

    Actually, being at the center of the system made us the least important – as the outer spheres were the highest in glory.

  • I just read an article in “The New New Scientist” that argues that scientists now think that Copernicus was on happy juice and that Ptolemy was right all along.