This is why I don't want theologians in charge of creating the science curriculum of our schools. It took them 359 years to get it right. Now, if they will only admit that you won't "go blind doing that."
Vatican admits Galileo correct
by the Los Angeles Times, October 31, 1992
VATICAN CITY -- It's official: The Earth revolves around the sun, even for the Vatican.
The Roman Catholic Church has admitted erring these past 359 years in formally condemning Galileo Galilei for entertaining scientific truths it long denounced as anti-scriptural heresy.
Pope John Paul II himself turned up Saturday for a meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences to help set the record straight on behalf of the 17th century Italian mathematician, astronomer and physicist who was the first man to use a telescope and who is remembered as one of history's greatest scientists.
"The underlying problems of this case concern both the nature of science and the message of faith," the pope said. "One day we may find ourselves in a similar situation, which will require both sides to have an informed awareness of the field and of the limits of their own competencies."
Thirteen years after he appointed it, a commission of historic, scientific and theological inquiry brought the pope a "not guilty" finding for Galileo, who, at age 69 in 1633, was forced by the Roman Inquisition to repent and spent the last eight years of his life under house arrest.
The commission found that Galileo's clerical judges acted in good faith but rejected his theories because they were "incapable of dissociating faith from an age-old cosmology" -- the biblical version of the Earth as the center of the universe.
"God fixed the Earth upon its foundation, not to be moved forever," says one Bible verse contradicted by Galileo's pioneering notion that the Earth spins daily on its axis and makes and annual journey around the sun.
Unable to comprehend a non-literal reading of Scripture, according to the commission, the judges feared that if Galileo's ideas were taught, they would undermine Catholic tradition at a time when it was under attack by Protestant reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin.
"This subjective error of judgment, so clear to us today, led them to a disciplinary measure from which Galileo 'had much to suffer,'" Cardinal Paul Poupard, the commission chairman, told the pope. "These mistakes must be frankly recognized, as you, Holy Father, have requested."