Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Columnist obsessed with hating the Pope

Edgar Ross writes:
In 1992, 359 years after the fact, the Catholic Church recognized that Galileo was correct in suggesting that not all heavenly bodies circle the earth. (They didn't change his status from "heretic" to "hero of faith and science" until 2008, suggesting that the Vatican would remain anything but a fast-reacting organization.)
No, Galileo was not declared a heretic, and was never punished for making any scientific suggestions. The Pope even asked Galileo to publish arguments for and against heliocentrism. See Galileo Affair. According to relativity, the choice of a frame of reference determines wheter those bodies go around the Earth.
Nevertheless, Pope Francis has now declared that the church has been excessively obsessed about abortion, birth control and homosexuality. This is really astonishing.
No, he did not say that. See the interview. And the Pope Francis is still
denouncing abortion. The basic teachings have not changed.

Jeremy Brown writes in the Wash. Post:
That theory was proposed by a Polish church official and astronomer named Nicholas Copernicus in 1543 and it suggested that the Earth was not the center of the universe, but rather only one of several planets that orbited the sun.

The Copernican model was a threat to both Jewish and church teachings of the time, because they held that the Earth was the fixed and unmoving center of the universe. This theological position was based partly on a literal understanding of some biblical verses, but mostly on the fact that Greeks had taught the geocentric model and it had been accepted for well over fifteen centuries. ...

It was not until 1835 that the Catholic Church lifted the ban on Copernicus’s book and in that century at least eighteen pro-Copernican Hebrew books were published, but opposition from a minority still remained. In 1898 for example, one rabbi in Jerusalem wrote that the earth was most certainly stationary, and that those who thought otherwise were motivated by “a desire to destroy religion.” A tiny minority of ultra-Orthodox Jews share this belief even today, but such views are fringe indeed, and are not shared by their rabbinic leadership.
The Copernicus book was not banned. It was originally published with the official endorsement of the Catholic Church. Decades later, after the book had been obsoleted by other models, the church revoked its endorsement because of nine sentences sentences. With those sentences omitted, the church had no objection.

Brown blames the Church for accepting Greek teachings, but the more accurate statement is that it was following the accepted scientific teachings of the day. Galileo's main argument for heliocentrism was based on the tides, and the Church was correct in rejecting the fallacious argument. And anyone complaining about a Copernicus ban should really explain the merits of those nine sentences, and no one ever does.

A companion op-ed says:
Bishop Fulton Sheen, the earliest and perhaps best known Catholic televangelist, once famously said, “There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing.”
Some of this criticism is strange. No other major religion has as good a record of accepting scientific advances. Meanwhile, there is news everyday of Mohammedans killing infidels all over the world.

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