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honor its cultivators? And how happens it, that in the case of Galileo alone, who broached no novelty, who brought out no new theory, she suddenly became a persecutor ? The fairer presumption would be, that Galileo, if condemned at all, was condemned for something extraneous to his simple promulgation of the heliocentric theory, so formally taught, eighty years, nay, a hundred years, before, by Copernicus, in Rome herself.
But Galileo was not condemned for teaching this theory, nor was the theory itself condemned, nor was Galileo ever imprisoned, or required to retract his doctrine. What, then, are the real facts in the case ? It appears, that Galileo, by the manner in which he proclaimed his theory, his intemperance in advocating it, and his attempt to reconcile it with the Scriptures, created him many enemies, who sought, in 1615, to get him cited before the Inquisition, but without effect. No censure was passed upon him or his doctrine ; he was simply required to speak as a mathematician, to confine himself to his discoveries and his scientific proofs, without meddling with the Scriptural question. But with this Galileo was not satisfied. He insisted on two things, - first, that his doctrine was demonstrated, and second, that it was supported by Scripture ; and he came of his own accord to Rome, in 1616, to obtain a decision of these two points in his favor. There was no charge against him, he was not cited to appear, but he came of his own accord, because he wished to obtain the sanction of Rome to his theories. The court of Rome was unwilling to interfere ; but, at length, yielding to the importunities of Galileo and his friends, the Pope finally referred the question to the Inquisition, who decided the two points against Galileo ; that is, they decided that the doctrine was not demonstrated and not supported by Scripture, -- for these were the simple points before them, and enjoined it upon Galileo not to teach it henceforth as a theory demonstrated, and to observe silence as to the Scriptural question. This would still have left him free to teach it as an hypothesis, and to have adduced every mathematical proof in its favor in his power. But Galileo was not content with this, which left him full liberty as a scientific man, and he was therefore forbidden to teach the doctrine at all. This, as nearly as we can seize it, is the purport of the decision of the Inquisition in 1616. But there was in this no positive condemnation of the doctrine, and no retraction of it required. Galileo was still honored at Rome ; and when his friend, Cardinal Bambarini, became Pope Urban the Eighth, he came to Rome again, was received with the highest honors, and the Pope bestowed a pension on him and his son.
For seventeen years after this decision in 1616, Galileo continued his mathematical pursuits, undisturbed, with the greatest success, receiving everywhere honor and applause, and nowhere more than at Rome. Cardinal Bambarini, who dissented from the decision of the Inquisition, became Pope Urban the Eighth. He was the friend of Galileo, and not opposed to the heliocentric theory. Galileo's friends under this Pope were everywhere encouraged and promoted, and it seemed that one needed only to advocate his doctrine to be sure of the Pope's favor. Galileo was elated, and published his Dialogues, in which he brings out the theory, contrary to the obligation he had taken, and in a manner the most intemperate, and the most satirical and contemptuous to authority. He was accordingly cited in 1633 to appear at Rome, and was condemned, - the question turning on his contempt for authority, and not at all on the truth or falsity of his doctrine. _What punishment was imposed upon him we do not know. But he was not imprisoned. While at Rome, he resided in the palace of his friend, the Tuscan ambassador, and during the trial was subjected, at most, to a nominal confinement, - as Mr. Drinkwater, in his Life of Galileo, and Mr. Whewell admit,- for four days, in a splendid apartment in the palace of the Fiscal of the Inquisition. Such are the main facts in the case, as simply and as briefly as we can narrate them. *
The whole treatment of Galileo, so far as Rome was cerned, appears to have been singularly lenient and respectful. All that was ever asked of him was, that he should be content to teach his doctrine as an hypothesis, not as a doctrine demonstrated, and confine himself to mathematical arguments and proofs of it, without meddling with the Scriptural bearings of the doctrine. Had be been content to pursue a straightforward course as a scientific man, no complaint would ever have been entertained against him, and no official action would ever have been taken. His troubles all arose from his rashness; from his insisting that authority should sanction, as demonstrated, what was as yet only a probable hypothesis ; for we must remember, that, in 1616, the heliocentric theory was very far
Our limits do not allow us to cite at length our authorities, but our readers will find them in a remarkable article in the eighth number of the Dublin Review, wbich has been republished separately in this country, in a pamphlet, entitled, “Galileo; the Roman Inquisition; a Defence of the Catholic Church from having persecuted Galileo for his Philosophical Opinions. From the Dublin Review, with an Introduction by an American Catholic.” Cincinnati: Catholic Book Society, 1844, 8vo. pp. 68.
VOL. II. NO. I.
from being demonstrated. It is true, Galileo's own discovery of the phases of Venus went far towards demonstrating it; but these he himself did not insist upon, and he relied for his demonstration almost solely on the flux and reflux of the tides. Bacon, the contemporary of Galileo, rejects the doctrine ; and Milton, at a later period, seems to entertain, to say the least, strong doubts of its truth. Tycho Brahe rejected it, and constructed another theory, on Scriptural grounds, in opposition to it, which was for a time very popular with Protestants, but is now universally exploded ; and the historians of astronomy will tell us, that it was nearly a hundred years after Galileo before any one had a right to say the theory was demonstrated.
But was not the doctrine condemned as heresy? No. The words “heretical," "heresy," in the condemnation of 1633, are, says the Dublin Review, but the stylus curiæ ; the evidence is most decisive, that of the Pontiff in whose name it issued, and of the person condemned addressing his very judges. “ No !" says Urban, “ the Church has not condemned that system, nor is it to be considered as heretical, but only as rash.” Galileo himself, standing before the Inquisition in 1633, speaks of it with the approbation of the court, as of a doctrine condemned ad interim, that is, not to be taught in its absolute form till proved to be true. Moreover, the Inquisition which uses the terms heretical, &c., in their decision in 1616, which is merely recited in the condemnation of 1633, is not an institution supposed by Catholics to be infallible, and its decisions have no promise of exemption from error. It is merely a court of inquiry. It has no power to make the law, nor even to declare what the law is, but simply to inquire whether, in a given case, the preexisting law has been violated. Its having termed the doctrine heretical would not have made it so, unless it had been previously declared to be a heresy by the authority of the Church, which it had not been; because heresy never consists in maintaining a false scientific theory, but in wilfully departing from the faith. It was never an article of faith in the Church, that the earth is at rest and the sun moves. Consequently, to maintain the contrary never was and never can be a heresy. Furthermore, if the doctrine had been condemned as a heresy, the teaching of it as a mere hypothesis, even, could not have been permitted ; for the Church does not permit what she has declared to be heresy to be taught at all. Yet the teaching of the doctrine as an hypothesis was permitted, as we have seen, in the case of Cusanus ; as a scientific theory, in the case of Copernicus ; and at the very moment Galileo was condemned, it was taught by the professor of astronomy, we believe, in the Pope's own university of Rome. Evidently, therefore, it was not condemned as a heresy. The sole difficulty concerning the question grew out of Galileo's insisting on interpreting the passages of Scripture, which seem to teach the geocentric theory, so as to make them harmonize with the heliocentric. This was deemed by his judges to be premature, to say the least, for it was unnecessary to disturb the received interpretation of these passages, till the theory itself was fully demonstrated on scientific grounds; and the attempt to do it could only scandalize those who rejected the theory, as they supposed, for scientific reasons. I'hey said to Galileo, Go on and establish your theory on scientific grounds, and when you have succeeded in demonstrating it as a science, it will be time enough to consider the Scriptural question ; but till then, let the Scriptural question alone.
Had he followed this advice, which was recommended by his friends, and was all that his enemies asked, no difficulty would have occurred. The troubles Galileo had did not, then, grow out of his advocating his scientific doctrine, but from the manner in which he advocated it, and the extraneous questions he mingled with it. This condemnation by the court of Rome is, then, no evidence of hostility on the part even of the court of Rome, much less of the Church of Rome, to sci
With these remarks, referring for details, and references to authorities, to the pamphlet which we have cited, we dismiss the case of Galileo. Had we room, we would retort the charge upon Protestants, which they have brought against Catholics. Kepler was a Lutheran priest; but the Lutheran University of Tübingen, as Menzel informs us, condemned his doctrine as repugnant to the language of Scripture, and he was obliged to flee his country; and where did he find refuge ? As professor of astronomy, all Lutheran as he was, in a Catholic university. The devotion of Protestants to science, and their readiness to adopt scientific discoveries, are admirably evinced in the case of the reformed calendar of Pope Gregory the Thirteenth, in 1582. England refused to adopt it for one hundred and seventy years, until 1752; Sweden adopted the new style one year later, in 1753; and the German States not until 1776; preferring, as some one says, “warring with the stars to agreeing with the Pope.
The Review adds, “Except painting and sculpture, no one of the arts or sciences has escaped the anathemas of Rome.” When and where has Rome ever anathematized any art or science ? Music is both an art and a science; has Rome ever anathematized it ? Architecture, whether as an art or a sci
ence, when has Rome ever anathematized it? We have heard of the Gothic architecture, the admiration and despair of our modern architects, which sprang up in the Middle Ages, and which we have been accustomed to regard as Catholic. Perchance the glorious old cathedrals, of which European tourists tell us so much, were all built by Protestants, and our modern meeting-houses have been designed by Catholic architects ! Mechanics is a science; has Řome ever anathematized it? According to the confession of Mr. Whewell, it was completed, so far as it remained for moderns to complete it, by Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo, - for Da Vinci anticipated the discoveries of Stevinus, — both Catholics, and honored at Rome, and the latter a pensioner of the Church. Astronomy, we have seen, owes to Rome its principal discoveries and encouragement. Metaphysics is almost exclusively a Catholic science. Bacon is more than matched by Campanella or Des
Leibnitz owed his eminence to his acquaintance with the Scholastics, and St. Thomas Aquinas alone will weigh down the whole race of modern German metaphysicians. Italy and France early took the lead in history, and still keep it. In poetry, the Catholics are more than successful rivals of the Protestants. Shakspeare is no Protestant. Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Tasso, Ariosto, are all Catholics and Italians. The Spanish and Portuguese poetry is not to be despised; and take away from the poetry of Germany and England what is not Protestant, and neither surpasses France in this department, in which France is poorest. Has Rome ever anathematized logic? If the reviewer believes it, we ask him to read a Catholic course of theology, no matter what one, but any one prepared for young theological students, — and he will very soon change his mind. The truth is, all the great, leading scientific discoveries and inventions of which we boast, Christendom owes to Catholics. Parchment and paper, printing and engraving, improved glass and steel, gunpowder, clocks, telescopes, the mariner's compass, the reformed calendar, decimal notation, algebra, trigonometry, chemistry, counterpoint, equivalent to a new creation in music, are all possessions inherited from our Catholic ancestors. The great maritime discoveries, the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope, and the New World, were all made by Catholics before Protestantism was born. The principle of the steam-engine was discovered by Roger Bacon, and the application of steam to navigation was first made by a Spanish Catholic in the early part of the seventeenth century. The application of the sciences to the industrial arts