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Galileo Galilei Vs Catholic Church Essay

706 words - 3 pages

Galileo GalileiGalileo Galileo was born on February 15, 1564 in Pisa. He was an Italian scientist and scholar famous for his discoveries in astronomy. He is also widely considered as the father of modern science. Galilei was the first of six children. His father was a well-known musician. Galilei was educated in a monastery in Vallombrosa before he studied medicine at the University of Pisa. But he never finished his medical degree. Instead he chose to study mathematics which he was really passionate about. After constructing a strong telescope which he turned towards heaven he made some fundamental discoveries which questioned previous beliefs and theories. After a life fully dedicated to science he died on January 8, 1642, at the age of 77.Unlike many of his colleagues Galilei supported the Copernican theory of the heliocentric model of the Universe which means that the earth and planets revolve around the sun. This theory was ...view middle of the document...

The geocentric model was strongly related to the view that the human beings are the masters of the Universe and questioning that model meant questioning the whole traditional doctrine established by Aristote and the Catholic Church.The roots of the conflict between Galileo and the Catholic Church lay in a deep misunderstanding of the interpretation of the Bible. The Church was still attached to a literal interpretation of the holy scripture and therefore believed that the heliocentric model would challenge its doctrine and make people lose faith in the Church and the Bible. They considered for exemple the following words as a proof that the earth didn't move: "Tremble before him, all the earth; yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved." (1 Chronicles 16:30) Moreover, the Catholic Church feared that Galileo following in the footsteps of Martin Luther would give a private interpretation of Scripture although the Bible was the book of the Church and could only be rightly interpreted by its representatives. So the Catholic Church forced Galileo to make an abjuration of his beliefs and writings that considered the sun as the centre of the universe and put his books on the index of forbidden books.Galileo, however, didn't want to challenge the established doctrine let alone prove that the Bible or Christianity were wrong. He was a faithful Catholic and remained a strong believer until his death. In a letter he wrote to the grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany he admits that the Bible can never be wrong but that its true meaning must be understood properly which means that things may be "quite different from what its bare words signify." According to him investigations in science should be an appropriate way to explain the meaning of certain passages in the Bible. Moreover, he strongly believes that God has credited humans with intelligence in order to use it and not to hide truths which are evident. So, in his point of view the words in the Bible and the discoveries in science are not contradictory, but complementary in order to establish the truth.It was only in 1992 that Pope John Paul II officially acknowledged the errors the Catholic Church had made regarding Galileo's approach to science and religion.

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