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June 22, 1633

Galileo Sentenced


For the Holy See, Florentine sage Galileo represented a double threat. He taught heliocentricity, which would demolish the pillars of Roman theology that placed Earth and man in the center of the Divine Creation. Besides that, Galileo was the preceptor of the medicos, whose ambition of Italy vied with that of the popes. In 1619, an inquisitorial decree condemned his work for the first time. Heedless of it, Galileo published in 1629 his Dialogue about maximum systems, that is, the Ptolemaic and the Copernican systems. He was then tortured by the Inquisition, made to recant his heresy, sentenced as a heretic and given a home prison sentence on June 22, 1633. The Medicos, after having left him to chance, quit representing the emancipation of reason thus losing the intellectual influence they had had in those days.
It was not until 1757 that the Catholic Church authorized to teach heliocentricity, and in 1822 lifted the censure from Galileo’s work. Yet it took long before John Paul II took care of reinstating the sage in 1983. Still refusing to admit its own mistake, Rome was however satisfied with overturning Galileo’s sentence by omission.

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