What the Index, prefaced by papal bulls, binding its contents upon the consciences of the faithful, for two hundred years steadily condemned, was "all books which affirm the motion of the earth."
Not one of these condemnations was directed against Galileo "for reconciling his ideas with Scripture."
Having been dislodged from this point, the Church apologists sought cover under the statement that Galileo was condemned, not for heresy, but for contumacy, and for wanting in respect to the Pope.
There was a slight chance, also, for this quibble: no doubt Urban VIII, one of the haughtiest of pontiffs, was induced by Galileo's enemies to think that he had been treated with some lack of proper etiquette: first, by Galileo's adhesion to his own doctrines after his condemnation in 1616; and, next, by his supposed reference in the Dialogue of 1632 to the arguments which the Pope had used against him.
But it would seem to be a very poor service rendered to the doctrine of papal infallibility to claim that a decision, so immense in its consequences, could be influenced by the personal resentment of the reigning pontiff.
Again, as to the first point, the very language of the various sentences shows the folly of this assertion; these sentences speak steadily of "heresy," and never of "contumacy." As to the last point, the display of the original documents settled that forever. They show Galileo from first to last as most submissive toward the Pope, and patient under the papal arguments and exactions. He had, indeed, expressed his anger at times against his traducers; but to hold this the cause of the judgment against him is to degrade the whole proceedings, and to convict Paul V, Urban VIII, Bellarmin, the other theologians, and the Inquisition, of direct falsehood, since they assigned entirely different reasons for their conduct. From this position, therefore, the assailants retreated.
The next rally was made about the statement that the persecution of Galileo was the result of a quarrel between Aristotelian professors on one side and professors favoring the experimental
- See the original trial documents, copied carefully from the Vatican manuscripts; see the Roman Catholic authority, L'Epinois, especially p. 35, where the principal document is given in its original Latin; see, also, Gebler, Die Acten des Galilei'schen Processes, for still more complete copies of the same documents. For minute information regarding these documents and their publication, see Favaro, Miscellanea Galileana Inedita, forming vol. xxii, part iii, of the Memoirs of the Venetian Institute for 1887, and especially pp. 891 and following.
- The invention of the "contumacy" quibble seems due to Monsignor Marini, who appears also to have manipulated the original documents to prove it. Even Whewell appears to have been somewhat misled by him, but Whewell wrote before L'Epinois had shown all the documents, and under the supposition that Marini was an honest man.