works of Copernicus and Galileo and "all books which affirm the motion of the earth," a papal bull signed by himself, binding the contents of the Index upon the consciences of the faithful. This bull confirmed and approved in express terms, finally, decisively, and infallibly, the condemnation of "all books teaching the movement of the earth and the stability of the sun."
The position of the mother Church, then, was especially difficult. The first important move in retreat by the apologists was the statement that Galileo was condemned, not because he affirmed the motion of the earth, but because he supported it from Scripture. There was a slight appearance of truth in this. Undoubtedly, Galileo's letters to Castelli and the grand duchess, in which he attempted to show that his astronomical doctrines were not opposed to Scripture, gave a new stir to religious bigotry. For a considerable time, then, this quibble served its purpose; even a hundred and fifty years after Galileo's condemnation it was renewed by the Protestant, Mallet du Pan, in his wish to gain favor from the older Church.
But nothing can be more absurd, in the light of the original documents recently brought out of the Vatican archives, than to make this contention now. The letters of Galileo to Castelli and the grand duchess were not published until after the condemnation; and, although the Archbishop of Pisa had endeavored to use them against him, they were but casually mentioned in 1616, and entirely left out of view in 1633. What was condemned in 1616 by the Sacred Congregation held in the presence of Pope Paul V, as "absurd, false in theology, and heretical, because absolutely contrary to Holy Scripture," was the proposition that "the sun is the center about which the earth revolves"; and what was condemned as "absurd, false in philosophy, and from a theologic point of view, at least, opposed to the true faith," was the proposition that "the earth is not the center of the universe and immovable, but has a diurnal motion."
And again, what Galileo was made, by express order of Pope Urban, and by the action of the Inquisition under threat of torture, to abjure in 1633 was "the error and heresy of the movement of the earth."
What the Index condemned under sanction of the bull issued by Alexander VII in 1664 was, "all books teaching the movement of the earth and the stability of the sun."
- See Rev. William W. Roberts, The Pontifical Decrees against the Doctrine of the Earth's Movement, London, 1885, p. 94; and for the text of the papal bull, Speculators domus Israel, pp. 132, 133. See also St. George Mivart's article in the Nineteenth Century for July, 1885. For the authentic publication of the bull, see preface to the Index of 1664, where the bull appears, signed by the Pope. The Rev. Mr. Roberts and Mr. St. George Mivart are Roman Catholics, and both acknowledge that the papal sanction was fully given.