Vatican to Publish New Volume on Galileo

To Include 20 Documents Discovered Since ’91

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 2, 2009 ( The Vatican Secret Archives will publish a new edition of the documents regarding the Galileo case as part of the celebrations marking this International Year of Astronomy.

The volume is expected at the end of next month, and has been directed by the prefect of the archives, Bishop Sergio Pagano, according to L’Osservatore Romano.

The volume has a better selection of information from those who intervened in Galileo’s case — «each of them specified in the notes, and many of them inquisitors,» according to Bishop Pagano.

It will also include, in addition to all of the letters regarding the case, 20 new documents found in the Vatican since 1991, critiques of various documents that require an edition faithful to the original, as well as an extensive introduction on the historical circumstances and development of the case.

The new volume will have 550 pages and 1,300 notes.

Various errors

Bishop Pagano reflected on the Galileo case, affirming that «the theologians’ attitudes could have been more comprehensive and elastic.»

«Taking into account that the historical context was not ripe for receiving the scientific studies of the great scholar of Pisa, it is undeniable that in this matter various errors were committed, also on the part of Galileo himself,» he continued.

The bishop noted that in a culture dominated by the Ptolemaic perspective, which considered the Earth as the center of the universe, the Copernican system «systematically went against Scripture.»

The bishop also noted «Urban VIII’s firm and resolved decision of wanting the investigation and the condemnation, entrusting the letters and the studies of Galileo to the screening of limited scholars and not always up to par.»

«Among the Jesuits — who were left out of the investigation — there wouldn’t have been a lack of attitudes ready to be more indulgent with the scholar from Pisa,» Bishop Pagano contended.

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