The ruling helped fuel accusations that the church was hostile to science — a reputation the Vatican has been trying to shed ever since.
In 1992, Pope John Paul II declared that the ruling against Galileo was an error resulting from “tragic mutual incomprehension.”
The exhibit, and other Vatican initiatives to mark the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s telescope and the U.N.-designated International Year of Astronomy, is part of the Vatican’s continuing rehabilitation effort.
My first reaction to this news was to suspect the Catholic Church of being hypocritical. Their pope celebrates a man who the church had condemned as a hypocrite and excommunicated?! There are plenty of examples of this religious organization suppressing and condemning beliefs that are not theirs as “blasphemy“.
But I took a step back, and thought about it again. The way the article presents it, and knowing that the previous Pope apologized for how the church had treated Galileo in the past, I now perceive this act of spending money, and effort, on promoting Galileo’s ideas as an apology. For hundreds of years there was the belief that the Pope (and thus the church) couldn’t be wrong; and that’s changing – for the better I think.
There are still cases of intolerance for other points of view in that particular religion, and it is something we must all guard against, but I think this is one positive step forward.
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