Science and faith: relationship without conflict?
Fr. Dan Bădulescu

This article was inspired by a recent news item taken from international media. It sounds a bit like this: Pope Benedict XVI has cancelled a visit to a prestigious university in Rome where lecturers and students have protested against his views on Galileo.1 The Pope had been set to make a speech at La Sapienza University on Thursday. Sixty-seven academics had said the Pope condoned the 1633 trial and conviction of the astronomer Galileo for heresy.

Anti-Pope slogans have appeared at La Sapienza

The Vatican insists the Pope is not "anti-science" - but in light of the protests they have decided it would be better for him not to attend. Galileo had argued that the Earth revolved around the Sun. The Vatican says the Pope will now send his speech to La Sapienza, instead of delivering it in person. Landmark controversy Pope Benedict was in charge of Roman Catholic doctrine in 1990 when, as Cardinal Ratzinger, he commented on the 17th-Century Galileo trial. In the speech, he quoted Austrian-born philosopher Paul Feyerabend as saying the Church's verdict against Galileo had been "rational and just". Galileo's inquisitors maintained the scriptures indicated the Earth was stationary. Galileo, a devout Catholic, was forced to renounce his findings publicly.



An old controversy has come back to haunt the Pope

2 In 1992, Pope John Paul II expressed regret at the way Galileo had been treated. "The error of the theologians of the time, when they maintained the centrality of the Earth, was to think that our understanding of the physical world's structure was, in some way, imposed by the literal sense of Sacred Scripture," he said. The academics at La Sapienza signed a letter saying Pope Benedict's views on Galileo "offend and humiliate us". They said it would be inappropriate for the Pope to open their academic year on Thursday. "In the name of the secular nature of science we hope this incongruous event can be cancelled," said the letter addressed to the university's rector, Renato Guarini.
It's a good thing that someone in Italy has the courage to say no to the Pope. Stefano, Cuneo, Italy

In a separate initiative, students at La Sapienza organised four days of protest this week. The first revolved around an anti-clerical meal of bread, pork and wine, the BBC's Christian Fraser reports from Rome. The banner at their lunch read: "Knowledge needs neither fathers nor priests". Vatican Radio said the protest at La Sapienza had "a censorious tone".” Now, one could easiliy notice: the news are related to an event that happened in Italy and concerns the negative reaction of certain secular universitarians (secular, profane, free-thinkers, etc.) against the head of the Catholic Church, so an event which seems not to concern a Romanian Orthodox priest. But things are not really what they seem. First, through the channels of all media in Romania, the news get, albeit without being called, into the Romanian Orthodox ecclesiastic space. Secondly, the so-called "Galileo case" exceeded the boundaries of solely internal problems of post-Renaissance Italian Catholic area (17th century). This episode is up-to-date the emblem of overt confrontation between Church/religion/faith/dogma and science/free-thinking. In this equation it was imposed during the last 200 years at least the idea that the (Catholic) Church (the Inquisition) was the oppressor of the martyr of science, who courageously defended his ideas by the price of his life or at least of his freedom. Moreover, they say that time has confirmed the correctness of Galileo's ideas, and therefore, implicitly, the Church's deception. Let's see now how this problem is treated nowadays in our ecclesiastic space. Opinions may differ somehow, but the common perception is broadly as follows: - The Eastern Orthodox Church has never known such kind of conflicts with science, as with Galileo, Bruno, and later Darwin (Scopes); - The problem was likely astrophysics, where scientists will then have until today at least the last word, the confined Church being wise to take note of the latest findings and to receive them unconditionally. This is because that area is not dogmatic and does not affect in any way salvation and the revealed truth of faith; - Hence, the problem is secondary from religious point of view, and scientifically and legally closed: Galileo (and Copernicus) has (have) been right (and the Catholic Church was wrong), the Earth is a planet that is running a double rotation, one annual around the Sun, another daily around its axis.

3 So thought we too for a while, but looking closer to the problem it seemed that the things are not quite so, but just the contrary. Therefore we dared to set the question mark in the title, contradicting an opinion as taught today, that science and faith are fitting wonderful together and they are supplementing each other harmoniously, as two different domains. Moreover, in 1992 even the institution in question, the Vatican, has started Galileo's rehabilitation in a university realm. We will return to it later. We, the orthodox followers, are not followers of the medieval Catholic scholastic, with its Aristotelian foundation, nor followers of Ptolemy, and therefore can not be suspected of a pro-Jesuit medieval propaganda or alike. Not only that, but we have no plan to defend the "Pope", whether present or its predecessors. That being clarified, we will strive to bring a few lines from orthodox opinion on this issue, which, here's proof, it is far from being solved. In order to do this we must return to its origin. On Wednesday, 24th February 16162: The eleven theologian-qualifiers of the Holy Office meet to consider the theological qualifications proper to be attached to the following propositions: 1) The sun is at the center of the world and hence immobile in regards to local motion. 2) The Earth is not the center of the world and is not immobile, but moves according to the whole of itself, and also with diurnal motion. Five days later, February 24, the Holy Office issued these censures: Regarding the first proposition: All agreed that this proposition is foolish and absurd in philosophy and is formally heretical, because it explicitly contradicts sentences found in many places in Sacred Scripture according to the proper [literal] meaning of the words and according to the common interpretation and understanding of the Holy Fathers and of learned theologians. Let's see what Scripture says: "Then spoke Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the men of Israel; and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand thou still at Gibeon, and thou Moon in the valley of Aijalon.” And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord hearkened to the voice of a man…" (Joshua 10:12-14)




"Let us see and another thing, more wonderful of these small ones. All creation remained astonished when Joshua Nun commanded the sun to stand still in the sky, until he overcomes his enemies; but the more strongly think that would be great when this Jesus would say to the sun not to stand still, but to come down from heaven to earth." (St. Anthemios of Iviron Didachies) "The sun and moon stood still in their habitation at the light of thine arrows as they sped, at the flash of thy glittering spear." (Habakuk, 3:11) The confrontations between Galileo and the Jesuits, in fact completely unknown to the general public, were held under the sign of Galileo's great pride who expressed himself as follows: "But how can I do something (to prove the truth of the Copernican system), without waisting my time, if these peripatetic to be convinced prove themselves unable to follow even the simplest and most easily understandable things. You have no chance..." But how did Galileo argue in these disputes?: "I know they will answer Yes, and that the one who supports the true side will be able to provide a thousand experiments and a thousand necessary demonstrations for his side, whereas the other person can have nothing but sophisms, paralogisms, and fallacies. But if they know they have such an advantage over their opponents as long as the discussion is limited to physical questions and only philosophical weapons are used, why is it that when they come to the meeting they immediately introduce an irresistible and terrible weapon, the mere sight of which terrifies even the most skillful and expert champion?" (Galilei, Letter to Benedetto Castelli 1613)3 We agree to "master", of course those thousand… experiments which are placed here only as a figure of speech. He had no way to perform them! But to what kind of irresistible and terrible weapon does he refer to? Obviously to the scriptural weapons which terrify "the most skillful and expert champion. Then who's champion might he be? Who is terrified by the Scripture? But by the Cross? But by the incense?... So, isn't poor Galileo and with him all of the same mind confined to just sophisms, paralogisms, and fallacies? They entangle introducing philosophical notions of minds contaminated by passion of the pagan philosophers and heretical beliefs: "Let us then assume and concede to the opponent that the words of the sacred text should be taken precisely in their literal meaning, namely that in answer to Joshua's prayers God made the sun stop and lengthened the day, so that as a result he achieved victory; but I request that the same rule should apply to both, so that the opponent should not pretend to tie me and to leave himself free to change or modify the meanings of the words. Given this, I say that this passage shows clearly the



5 falsity and impossibility of the Aristotelian and Ptolemaic world system, and on the other hand agrees very well with the Copernican one. I first ask the opponent whether he knows with how many motions the sun moves. If he knows, he must answer that is moves with two motions, namely with the annual motion from west to east and with the diurnal motion in the opposite direction from east to west. Then, secondly, I ask him whether these two motions, so different and almost contrary to each other, belong to the sun and are its own to an equal extent. The answer must be No , but that only one is specifically its own, namely the annual motion, whereas the other is not but belongs to the highest heaven, I mean the Prime Mobile4; the latter carries along with it the sun as well as the other planets and the stellar sphere, forcing them to make a revolution around the earth in twenty-four hours, with a motion, as I said, almost contrary to their own natural motion. Coming to the third question, I ask him with which of these two motions the sun produces night and day, that is, whether with its own motion or else with that of the Prime Mobile. The answer must be that night and day are effects of the motion of the Prime Mobile and that what depends on the sun's own motion is not night or day but the various seasons and the year itself. Now, if the day derives not from the sun's motion but from that of the Prime Mobile, who does not see that to lengthen the day one must stop the Prime Mobile and not the sun? Indeed, is there anyone who understands these first elements of astronomy and does not know that, if God had stopped the sun's motion, He would have cut and shortened the day instead for lengthening it? For, the sun's motion being contrary to the diurnal turning, the more the sun moves toward the east the more its progression toward the west is slowed down, whereas by its motion being diminished or annihilated the sun would set that much sooner; this phenomenon is observed in the moon, whose diurnal revolutions are slower than those of the sun inasmuch as is own motion is faster than that of the sun… Add to this that it is not believable that God would stop only the sun, letting the other spheres proceed; for He would have unnecessarily altered and upset all the order, appearances, and arrangements of the other stars in relation to the sun, and would have greatly disturbed the whole system of nature. On the other hand, it is believable that He would stop the whole system of celestial spheres, which could then together return to their operations without any confusion or change after the period of intervening rest… For I have discovered and conclusively demonstrated that the solar globe turns on itself, completing an entire rotation in about one lunar month, in exactly the same direction as all the other heavenly revolutions; moreover, it is very probable and reasonable that, as the chief instrument and minister of nature and almost the heart of the world, the sun gives not only light (as it obviously does) but also motion to all the planets that revolve around it; hence, if in conformity with Copernicus's position the diurnal motion is attributed to the earth, anyone can see that is sufficed stopping the sun to stop the whole system, and thus to lengthen the period of the diurnal illumination without altering in any way the rest of the mutual relationships of the planets; and that is exactly how the words of the sacred text sound. Here then is the manner in which by stopping the sun one can lengthen the day on the earth, without introducing any confusion among the parts of the world and without altering the words of the Scripture." (Galilei, Letter to Benedetto Castelli 1613) Here then, Galileo introduces an astrophysics innovation to explain the scriptural passage in the Copernican model: the sun is the center of the universe, yet not fixed and still, but moves around its axis, pulling after itself all the planets in motion.

"Astronomers and philosophers have discovered a very high sphere free of stars, which has the daily rotation as it's own motion. It was called primum mobile; it renders with it all the lower spheres, contributing to their movement and sharing with them this movement. "Dialogue concerning the two major cosmological systems” by Galileo Galilei (1632)

6 St. John Damascene lived in the 8th century, and Matthew Blastaris in the first half of 14th century, so Galileo would have encountered no problem in consulting them, especially on astronomical issues directly related to Scripture. He would have found the following patristic arguments rendered below: Galileo - "Then, secondly, I ask him whether these two motions, so different and almost contrary to each other, belong to the sun and are its own to an equal extent. The answer must be No, but that only one is specifically its own, namely the annual motion, whereas the other is not but belongs to the highest heaven, I mean the Prime Mobile; the latter carries along with it the sun as well as the other planets and the stellar sphere, forcing them to make a revolution around the earth in twenty-four hours, with a motion, as I said, almost contrary to their own natural motion." Following is the text of the Vulgate Bible, as Galileo would have read it: "tunc locutus est Iosue Domino in die qua tradidit Amorreum in conspectu filiorum Israhel dixitque coram eis sol contra Gabaon ne movearis et luna contra vallem Ahialon steteruntque sol et luna donec ulcisceretur se gens de inimicis suis nonne scriptum est hoc in libro Iustorum..." Sol et luna, so, the moon that moves differently acording to Copernicus ("Only the moon is making it's course around the earth") stopped too: St. John Damascene: "There are, we are told, seven planets amongst these luminaries, and these move in a direction opposite to that of the heaven: hence the name planets. For, while they say that the heaven moves from east to west, the planets move from west to east; but the heaven bears the seven planets along with it by its swifter motion."5 This view was received by the Holy Fathers, and not that of Galileo who, as we have seen, makes the sun to impart movement of other planets. Matthew Blastaris: "Therefore, both lights were moving together in the same time or rather unchanged in the same time with the universe as they would expected the end of creation. And on the sixth day man is formed by God's hands, the equinox still blooming beautifully and the moon being almost as the sun in the fullness of brightness… surrounding now for the first time as some satellites the one who should reign over creation… and then after the seventh day the ligts started to run as from open barriers and being made to move by different speed, anomaly was introduced." Galileo: "Add to this that it is not believable that God would stop only the sun, letting the other spheres proceed; for He would have unnecessarily altered and upset all the order, appearances, and arrangements of the other stars in relation to the sun, and would have greatly disturbed the whole system of nature. On the other hand, it is believable that He would stop the whole system of celestial spheres, which could then together return to their operations without any confusion or change after the period of intervening rest" These heretical statements received a sound theological answer from the greatest Catholic theologian of the time, Cardinal Bellarmino, answer from which we retain the following passages of surprisingly orthodox apologetics: "…But to want to affirm that the Sun, in very truth, is at the centre of the universe and only rotates on its axis without traveling from east to west, and that the Earth is situated in the third sphere and revolves very swiftly around the Sun, is a very dangerous attitude and one calculated not only to



7 arouse all Scholastic philosophers and theologians but also to injure our hold faith by contradicting the Scriptures…. Second, I say that, as you know, the Council of Trent forbids the interpretation of the Scriptures in a way contrary to the common agreement of the holy Fathers. Now if your Reverence will read, not merely the Fathers, but modern commentators on Genesis, the Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Joshua, you will discover that all agree in interpreting them literally as teaching that the Sun is in the heavens and revolves round the Earth with immense speed and that the Earth is very distant from the heavens, at the centre of the universe, and motionless. Consider, then in your prudence, whether the Church can support that the Scriptures should be interpreted in a manner contrary to that of the holy Fathers and of all modern commentators, both Latin and Greek… …In case of doubt we ought not to abandon the interpretation of the sacred text as given by the holy Fathers. I may add that the man who wrote: The Earth abideth for ever; the Sun also riseth, and the Sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place whence he arose6, was Solomon, who not only spoke by divine inspiration but was wise and learned, above all others, in human sciences and in the knowledge of created things. As he had all this wisdom from God Himself, it is not likely that he would have made a statement contrary to a truth, either proven or capable of proof. If you tell me that Solomon speaks according to appearances, inasmuch as though the Sun seems to us to revolve, it is really the Earth that does so, just as when the poet says: “The shore is not receding from us,” I answer that, thought it may appear to a voyager as if the shore were receding from the vessel on which he stands rather than the vessel from the shore, yet he knows this to be an illusion and is able to correct his judgment, for his experience tells him plainly that the Earth is standing still and that his eyes are not deceived when they report that the Sun, Moon and stars are in motion."7 (Letter from Bellarmino to father Foscarini 1615) "To maintain that the earth turns around the sun is just as wrong as saying that Jesus Christ was not born of the Virgin" (Cardinal Bellarmino 1615, during Galileo's trial) How many of us, lukewarm Orthodox of today, can take a firm stand in delivering such a confession of the faith? That is why we find ourselves that we hear confessions of the orthodox faith from others' mouths. Take note! Instead, let's hear what the spirit of pride and vainglory drove Galileo to say: "In science, the authority of thousands people is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual." It is knowned the Galileo's rehabilitation work carried by the Catholic Church under the patronage of Pope John Paul II between 1979 and 1992. Here it is the same Vatican's ecumenical flagrant attitude, this time applied to relations with science. From this attitude it is clear that the classic "church", at least in the perspective of popes before Vatican II, and "science" before Einstein would have "two opposing and partial perceptions", to whom there is "a broader understanding which includes and surpass both of them "- is this not really a new world order in which the Vatican is engaged with all its forces? Sad is that in this gear are dragged not a few "orthodox" theologians promoting exactly the
6 7

Ecclesiastes 1:4 http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/galileo/letterbellarmine.html

8 same ideas of "reconciling science and religion at the end of the millennium." These and many theologians-engineers, or theologians-biologists seem to be guided in relation to science by the last trends from the Vatican. For them especially, but also for other readers, we quote here the "terrifying" condemnation of Galileo condemnation, as it was issued by the Inquisition8: "We say, pronounce, sentence and declare that you, Galileo, by reason of these things which have been detailed in the trial and which you have confessed already, have rendered yourself according to this Holy Office vehemently suspect of heresy, namely of having held and believed a doctrine that is false and contrary to the divine and Holy Scripture: namely that Sun is the center of the world and does not move from east to west, and that one may hold and defend as probable an opinion after it has been declared and defined contrary to Holy Scripture. Consequently, you have incurred all the censures and penalties enjoined and promulgated by the sacred Canons and all particular and general laws against such delinquents. We are willing to absolve you from them provided that first, with a sincere heart and unfeigned faith, in our presence you abjure, curse and detest the said errors and heresies, and every other error and heresy contrary to the Catholic and Apostolic Church in the manner and form we will prescribe to you. Furthermore, so that this grievous and pernicious error and transgression of yours may not go altogether unpunished, and so that you will be more cautious in future, and an example for others to abstain from delinquencies of this sort, we order that the book Dialogue of Galileo Galilei be prohibited by public edict. We condemn you to formal imprisonment in this Holy Office at our pleasure. As a salutary penance we impose on you to recite the seven penitential psalms once a week for the next three years . And we reserve to ourselves the power of moderating, commuting, or taking off, the whole or part of the said penalties and penances. This we say, pronounce, sentence, declare, order and reserve by this or any other better manner or form that we reasonably can or shall think of. So we the undersigned Cardinals pronounce: F. Cardinal of Ascoli B. Cardinal Gessi G. Cardinal Bentivoglio F. Cardinal Verospi Fr. D. Cardinal of Cremona M. Cardinal Ginetti Fr. Ant. s Cardinal of. S. Onofrio [Three judges did not sign the sentence: Francesco Barberini, Caspar Borgia, and Laudivio Zacchia.]




What do you think about this text, does this look like torture and burning on stake, as most people having only a vague idea about it know? Here we have a "spell of fairy tales" used by the enemy to deceive and lose a lot of people. Then followed Galileo's abjuration in 1633, and for apologetics of the "free thinkers" a new "martyr" or at least "confessor" of truth on the altar of science was born, "persecuted for righteousness". To make him even more impressive, the scientific "hagiography" had put into Galileo's mouth the famous words Eppur si muove. It is clear therefore that Galileo never uttered this memorable phrase, but it is a myth fabricated later in time of the Enlightenment. For its enthusiasts, it was shown that the expression was circulated as an anti-Catholic propaganda invented by journalist Giuseppe Barretti in 1757 in an anthology published in London, the Italian Library, the British public as intended. The evidence of the fact that Galileo did not face the church tribunal is that he was later buried in a church, or a banned sinner would never have taken part of such treatment. Those famous words have been attributed to the scientist probably by those who wanted him to have said something like this. These free thinkers wished they could pronounce these words in their own time and later on, communist atheists have used them as a motto of their victory over religion. And then here is the following dialogue: - "Galileo" (humanists, free thinkers, masons, atheists, communists, socialists, globalists, science, philosophy...): "And yet it moves" - GOD (Church, Prophets, Holy Fathers): "And yet it stands" ("The Earth abideth for ever") That beind said, here are the final appropriate conclusions:

10 - Galileo was rightly condemned for heresy, and not only disciplinary for to have dared to interpret of the Scriptures; - His and Copernicus' theory are both heretical theological and false science; - His condamnation was, as we have seen, much more gentle than it is claimed by the atheist/enlightenment propaganda. Eppur si muove is an invention of the antiecleziastic self-thinking mythology, Masonic and atheistic defiance of Holy Scripture and Church tradition; - The oscillations that led to the withdrawal and Galileo’s rehabilitation (by John Paul II) shows only a Jesuit diplomacy and inconsistencies, seeking other purposes than the Church dogma; - Those academics from Italy are no right at all, but they maintain an open anti-ecclesiastical position, and ultimately, antichristical.

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