So it goes ...
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While others – not necessarily Catholic – regard the treatment of Galileo as 'enlightened' compared to the mores of the day.I really have only to point to Galileo to make my case ...
I'm not trying to refute, the Church got itself into 'an unholy mess' here and should have been better led. Still, today, we're wrangling over whether this document or that is binding, whether this or that is ex cathedra. That so much wrangling and apologia goes on does suggest we're making excuses and does not shed a good light ...
But here I would like to distinguish between the Reformation and the Enlightenment, much later.
"There is talk of a new astrologer who wants to prove that the earth moves and goes around instead of the sky, the sun, the moon, just as if somebody were moving in a carriage or ship might hold that he was sitting still and at rest while the earth and the trees walked and moved. But that is how things are nowadays: when a man wishes to be clever he must . . . invent something special, and the way he does it must needs be the best! The fool wants to turn the whole art of astronomy upside-down. However, as Holy Scripture tells us, so did Joshua bid the sun to stand still and not the earth."
Copernicus published De Revolutionibus in 1543. It had been finished in 1530, but not published until the year of his death – because of fear of backlash from the Church. He dedicated the book to Pope Paul III. The published book contained an unsigned preface by Osiander – a Lutheran reformer – defending the system as useful for computation even if its hypotheses were not necessarily true. An escape clause.
Preached a sermon denouncing those who "pervert the order of nature" by saying that "the sun does not move and that it is the earth that revolves and that it turns".
Pope Urban VIII encouraged Galileo to publish the pros and cons of heliocentrism. Galileo's response, Dialogue concerning the two chief world systems (1632), follows a common model of a supposed dialogue between master and student. Some ecclesiastics interpreted the book as characterising the Pope as a simpleton – a fact not challenged by later scholarship – Galileo was many things, but gracious he was not.