“Are you sure about that? There are some scholars who have worked on proving that the Church’s original position on Geocentrism is right and Galileo was wrong.” (emphasis mine)
So a friend of mine, who I love in the most full and fraternal manner, responded to my throwaway comment about Copernican Heliocentrism. Having seen the Michael Voris interview with Robert Sungenis (more on these gentlemen later), this devout Catholic – who holds a very conservative semi-Ultramontine view mixed with genuine orthodoxy and a dash of Ecclesia Dei Traditionalism – was excited at the prospect of rushing to defend the Church against everything he had been taught in school. This of course would would include the same basic Physics that helped take man to the moon and made the utilization of nuclear power possible.
It is peculiarity of Traditionalist (not to be confused with Traditional or Orthodox) Catholicism to excuse, reject, forget, or rewrite any historical event that paints Catholics in a bad light (the slaughter at Jerusalem, the Fourth Crusade, the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, the Knights Templars, bad popes before the year nineteen-sixty-whatever, and the factual pre-Protestant Revolt buying and selling of indulgences). This is understandable, considering the many slanders levelled at the church by popular “historians” with an axe to grind.
Unfortunately, the Galileo Affair is precisely that. The common perception of incident that is believed by Catholics and non-Catholic alike is steeped in myth and lacks any historical basis. It is just another case of “Repeat a lie enough and eventually the lie becomes the truth” and all that.
I will need to take a brief tangent from the main point I want to discuss so I can put Geocentrism to rest for good.
The Galileo Affair
The popular story: Galileo comes out with the “Groudbreaking Discovery” that the sun is the center of the solar system. This angers the Church authorities who call a trial on Galileo for heresy – complete with silly hats and flowing robes – when he refuses to recant (“No one expects the
Spanish Italian Inquisition!”). They torture, humiliate, and condemn him as he goes down as a martyr for “scientific progress” (or, if you subscribe to the fringe minority opinion, the “Anti-Catholic Heresy”)
This is wrong on so many levels. I urge the readers to educate themselves on the matter, but Galileo’s condemnation at the hands of Urban VIII was an entirely personal affair that had nothing to do with the theories being discussed. What did Galileo expect when he made a character in The Dialogue named “Simplicio” and put the pope’s words in said character’s mouth?
Even Bellarmine’s “cease and desist” to Galileo does not rule out Heliocentrism as a scientific possibility, but instead claims that it would cause a massive headache. He states the theory is “a very dangerous thing, likely not only to irritate all scholastic philosophers and theologians, but also to harm the Holy Faith by rendering Holy Scripture as false.”
He then goes on to say if Heliocentrism is proved, “then one would have to proceed with great care in explaining the Scriptures that appear contrary; and say rather that we do not understand them, than that what is demonstrated is false.”
Personally, I would say let the scholastics hang for all I care!
As for these new geocentrists, a nice little link here will tell you all you really need to know about them. http://www.geocentrismdebunked.org/some-background-on-the-new-geocentrists/
That Sungenis holds a phony scientific degree from a non-accredited institution which makes his ability to talk about the issue shaky at best. My Bachelors of Science in Computer Science are more scientific credentials than the man likely will ever have. End of discussion.
To sum the matter up concisely, I put Geocentrism on the same level as I do the Flat Earth Society, homeopathic remedies, astrology, or neoscholasticism.
Back to the main topic…
What is the Church’s approach to science? Has it ever dogmatically made a declaration over a scientific theory? Must it update itself with every passing theory?
To put it bluntly, the Church does not concern itself with scientific discoveries so there is practically no chance of ever being proven wrong. It is the pinnacle of human arrogance – the cause of the Tower of Babylon – to ever believe that we can understand absolutely everything about the known universe. Scientific theories fluctuate with every new major discovery (for a concrete example, look into atomic theory and how many models were created to explain the atom) and sometimes what was universally believed to be true comes crashing down, disproven by a new contradiction.
So it was with Geocentrism. So shall it be one day with Darwinism, the totalitarian structures currently enforcing it notwithstanding.
The private opinion of a bunch of cardinals at one point in history does not equate to Church Doctrine. Neither does the church claim to be the authority in the field or devote too much time into it (even though many of the Jesuits of the 17th centuries were such accomplished scientists and astronomers that the Kangxi Chinese Emperor valued them highly at his court). The first goal of the Church is the salvation of souls and everything else – even the authority of the prelates – must be secondary.
In fact, it is the Modernists who held that the Church should attach itself to the exploding scientific theories of the early 20th Century (Chardin was the most obnoxious of them with his “God of Evolution” mantra). Consider the following from Psalm 103 (sung in every standard Byzantine Vespers). The original Jewish view of the world was a flat plane on a rock foundation (“You settle the Earth on its firm foundations, it shall stand unmoved from age to age”) the sky covered it in the shape of a great dome and the stars hung within like ornaments (“The abyss covers it like a garment, waters stand over the mountains”). Imagine how stupid we would have looked if we had dogmatically decreed that this was the true cosmology and anything contradicting it was rubbish and heresy!
Scientific theories will come and go. The Communion of the Saints is eternal.