Giuseppe Settele and the final annulment of the decree of 1616 against Copernicanism

Pope Pius VII
Pope Pius VII
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  • Level: university

In 1820  Fr. Giuseppe Settele requested an imprimatur on his book Elementi di ottica e di astronomia (Elements of Optics and Astronomy), which referenced Earth’s motion. The request was denied; Settele appealed to Pope Pius VII. This article by Fr. Juan Casanovas, an astronomer with the Vatican Observatory, provides a brief historical background on and summary of the actions surrounding this event. Casanovas writes:

It is a merit of Settele that he insisted on obtaining the imprimatur. If he had just rewritten his textbook to say: supposing or in the case the earth moves around the sun… there would have been no difficulty. However he insisted and his insistence earned freedom for all subsequent writers of astronomy. Settele didn’t give in to the requests of the Pope’s palace “maggiordomo”.

Click here to access this article, published in Memorie della Società Astronomia Italiana, Vol. 60, p.791 (1989) via NASA ADS.

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