Strange Musings *hyuk*
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
  11:19 AM — Heretics!
Surfing the web, I actually learned something today.

Galileo wasn't the only one tried and found guilty by the Inquisition for believing in the heliocentric (Copernican) universe. Giordano Bruno was a contemporary of Galileo, and was primarily a philosopher, but also believed in heliocentrism. Additionally though, he believed that Jesus never had a physical body and all people who thought they saw him during his lifetime instead were experiencing visions. That, of course, was the more heretical of his beliefs, but either one could've led to his eventual burning at the stake with a bag of gunpowder tied around his neck (that was a mercy, so he'd be decapitated before he was burnt or suffocated to death). Galileo himself would've faced death if he hadn't recanted his beliefs. Instead he only got house arrest, which was the equivalent of life imprisonment without parole.

For both, Pope John Paul II eventually apologized for the church's actions. It's not clear to me whether he exonerated them (that is, said they weren't guilty of heresy) and admitted that the solar system is indeed heliocentric. Other things Pope John Paul II apologized for were the crusades, burning Protestants at the stake, the Crusades, missionaries, and the Holocaust. I admittedly gloss over the details of some of those in the name of humor.

Guess the Church is fallable after all. What's next, premarital sex, birth control, abortion, or stem cells? I guess there aren't any prominent figures who've been excommunicated, put under house arrest, or burned at the stake for these, so maybe we'll never get an apology.

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