Galileo Exhibition at the Vatican

A portrait of Galileo, looking like he's just answered the door to find an inquisitor standing there

A collection of Galileo's instruments and papers are to be put on display at the Vatican, to 'celebrate' the 400th anniversary of his confirmation that the Sun does not, in fact, go around the Earth.

What a great way for the Catholic church to show that it is no longer hostile to science. Yeah right.

Is that the plan? 'Look! look everyone! Not only are we a big friendly welcomimg Church, we're so accommodating of science that we can exhibit the work of a heretic we literally brought to his knees before the might of Mother Church, and came within a whisker of burning for allowing his observations of reality to contradict official doctrine. A man whom we finally decided was telling the truth in 1992, by which time his theories and observations had been superseded by extremely advanced theories about the nature of reality. Unfortunately for us though, these theories were developed by people we couldn't cow into submission with the explicit threat of torture and execution. Aren't we all nice and modern?'

It occurs to me that these papers and instruments are probably the same ones the Church seized at the time of his trial for heresy, so how thoughtful the Vatican is for allowing these artefacts to go on general display.

Cynical bastards.

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Sarah Trachtenberg said...

I realize it may be wrong for us to blame the Catholic Church now when all the people who were responsible for apprehending Galileo are long dead, but if the church really is all for science, they should put their coffers where their mouths are.
Just as when the church apologized to Jews for, you know, collaborating with the Nazis, I have this to say: too little, too late.

Maggie said...

I would almost have to say that the church deserves a little credit for this fairly clever and rather shrewd attempt to recycle materials and appear worldly.

However, the key word is "almost," because it doesn't take much to see the irony in it.

Almost funny, actually.