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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Vatican's Extreme Galileo Makeover

It looks like the Vatican is really pushing the transformation of Galileo's image—from a symbol of the conflict between science and religion to a symbol of their collaboration and compatibility. Over the weekend, according to the Associated Press, Pope Benedict XVI said that Galileo helped believers "contemplate with gratitude the Lord's work." (Back in June, the pope canceled a visit to La Sapienza, Rome's oldest and largest university, after students and academics protested his views on science and said they believed he condones the trial and conviction of Galileo for heresy.)
At a Vatican conference last month, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said Galileo was an astronomer who “lovingly cultivated his faith and his profound religious conviction," and Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture, told Vatican Radio that Galileo “could become for some the ideal patron for a dialogue between science and faith." —Heather Wax