Vatican Archives Present New Galileo Volume

VATICAN CITY, JULY 2, 2009 ( A new edition of the investigations into the Galileo case has been released by the Vatican Secret Archives.

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The volume, “I ducomenti vaticani del processo di Galileo Galilei” (Vatican Documents From the Galileo Case), has a 208-page introduction, one of the novelties with respect to the last edition of the work, published in 1984.

That edition was released before Pope John Paul II’s statements at the close of the 1981-1992 investigation into the Church’s handling of the Galileo case.

The prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives, Bishop Sergio Pagano, oversaw this newest volume, which was presented today in a briefing at the Vatican press office. Its publication comes in the context of the International Year of Astronomy, declared by UNESCO.

Bishop Pagano offered his perspective on the Galileo case, saying that “it teaches science to not presume to teach the Church in matters of faith and sacred Scripture. And at the same time, it teaches the Church to approach scientific issues — also those related to, for example, modern investigation on stem cells — with a lot of humility and circumspection.”

The prelate noted the testimony offered by Galileo himself: “He died as a Catholic and a penitent. After having heard his sentence, Galileo said, ‘I ask two things: to believe in my upright faith and in the Catholic faith.'”

The new volume includes documents uncovered from the archives of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as well as new bibliographic material spanning from the denunciation to the condemnation.

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