Please check out an article written by Br. Guy and me and published in the October 2020 issue of America: The Jesuit Review of Faith and Culture. It is called “The Galileo Myth”. They published it on-line with a different title, “What the story of Galileo gets wrong about the church and science”. And just like America provided two titles, they also provide access to the two versions of the article:
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A PDF of the October 2020 print issue (you will find our article on page 52).
If you have been reading “Sacred Space Astronomy” for a while you will no doubt recognize stuff from this blog in that article—lots of stuff, probably. You will probably recognize each of us in parts of it. For example, you will probably see, in the emphasis on Christina of Lorraine as a central player in the Galileo story, a couple of my posts.
You may notice also some comments from a handful of readers. A few items from the commenters stood out to me. One person did not like our reference to racism and slavery—that person seems to have thought we were trying too hard to be “current” or “political”. If I was going to rebut any of the comments (hey, I’m glad some people cared enough to comment), I would rebut that one. The intent of that reference was to highlight the Galileo story’s infamy versus so many other stories involving even greater sins on the part of the Church: the mistreatment of one well-connected man versus much worse treatment of many others across history. Slavery and Jesuits was not a political example, but an example relevant and recognizable today to readers of a Jesuit publication, showing specific contrast with Galileo (enslaved people having had no connections among the Tuscan royalty). Why exactly is the Galileo case so infamous when there is so much more egregious behavior in the Church’s history? Because it is about “science”, I suppose, but as we show in the article (and as you have read on this blog), the “science” side is not so clear-cut. So again, why is the Galileo case so infamous?
The artwork is nice (if you see the print edition—some page shots are below). Guy and I cannot take credit for that. America provided the image.
So, check out our America article and give us your own feedback in the comments section below! By that I mean the Sacred Space Astronomy comments section here on the blog, not America’s comments section (it is closed.) There is also a Portuguese translation (click here for that, from the Jesuit-related outlet DomTotal) for the Portuguese reader!