Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was in 1616 summoned by [Pope] Paul V. to Rome, where his statement that the earth revolved round the sun was condemned by the Inquisition: whereupon he ostensibly acquiesced in the falseness of his theory, and promised not to republish this doctrine. In 1633 he was charged with having gone back from his promise of 1616, and summoned to appear before the Inquisition in Rome, to answer for his writings which, in maintaining the fixed position of the sun and the movement of the earth round it, propounded a doctrine which was declared by the Pope to be in flat contradiction to the Bible. … At Rome, Galileo, now 70 years old and broken in health, was threatened with torture by the Inquisition; his theories were formally condemned, he was made to recant on his knees his so-called errors, and especially to declare his doctrine as to the movement of the earth false, and was kept a prisoner until the Pope Urban VIII’s will regarding him should be made known. ... Galileo having thus recanted his “errors” was condemned by the Inquisition to perpetual imprisonment, but the Pope commuted the sentence to residence in retirement in the gardens of S. S. Trinità al Monte, and after a short time there he was allowed to remove to Florence, where after residing for a little space under the personal charge of the Archbishop he was permitted, though still a prisoner of the Inquisition, to move to his villa at Arcetri on condition that he lived in retirement and received no visitors; but he never published anything more. In 1634 he lost his only daughter, a nun, Maria Celeste, who had been his chief comfort in his troubles; and in 1637 was allowed by the Inquisition to move to his house in the Costa San Giorgio, but on condition that he did not go out into the city. There Ferdinand [II. de' Medici (1610-1670), Grand Duke of Tuscany] ... visited the old man [who was once his teacher] and condoled with him on the unjust treatment he had received. Galileo soon afterwards became blind ... later he retired again to Arcetri, and consecrated to science the last remains of his energies, with a heart full of remembrance of his beloved daughter,“who,” he wrote, “calls me, calls me continually; while I wait to change my present prison for that community august and eternal.” He died at Arcetri in January 1642 without any enmity against those who had spoilt his life. Ferdinand [II. de' Medici] was anxious to erect a monument to him, but the Jesuits opposed this, and as usual prevailed, and Ferdinand had to content himself with giving Galileo burial in the chapel of the Medici family in the church of Santa Croce. (in: G. F. Young: The Medici, Vol. 2, London 1930, pp. 405-408).
Galileo Galilei and the Catholic Church
Against the forgetting
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