A Catholic Hero

Maurice A. Finocchiaro

in Retrying Galileo, 1633-1992

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780520242616
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520941373 | DOI:
A Catholic Hero

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In the early 1940s, the tricentennial of Galileo's death occasioned a series of reassessments of Galileo's trial that may be regarded as a semi-official rehabilitation. Agostino Gemelli had no hesitation in admitting that the condemnation of Galileo was a theological error. Gemelli was also claiming that Galileo's tragedy embodied a great positive lesson: that faith and religion are harmonious with reason and science. Pio Paschini found the opportunity to show that he was not idle by accepting an invitation to write a short article on Galileo. For Filippo Soccorsi, Galileo's retraction was a sincere, indeed admirable, act of religious heroism. Although Soccorsi's argument is not completely convincing, he was right to stress that the sincerity of Galileo's abjuration depends on the meaning of the word abjuration, and that its meaning is not obvious.

Keywords: Galileo; Agostino Gemelli; Pio Paschini; Filippo Soccorsi; tricentennial rehabilitation

Chapter.  10228 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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