Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/161

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149
NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE.

they should be published. In 1850, after various delays on various pretexts, the long-expected publication appeared. The personage charged with presenting them to the world was Monsignor Marini. This ecclesiastic was of a kind which has too often afflicted both the Church and the world at large. Despite the solemn promise of the papal court, the wily Marini became the instrument of the Roman authorities in evading the promise. By suppressing a document here, and interpolating a statement there, he managed to give plausible standing-ground for nearly every important sophistry ever broached to save the infallibility of the Church and destroy the reputation of Galileo. He it was who supported the idea that Galileo was "condemned, not for heresy, but for contumacy," and various other assertions as groundless.

The first effect of Monsignor Marini's book seemed useful in covering the retreat of the Church apologists. Aided by him, such vigorous writers as Ward were able to throw up temporary intrenchments between the Roman authorities and the indignation of the world.

But some time later came an investigator very different from Monsignor Marini. This was a Frenchman, M. L'Epinois. Like Marini, L'Epinois was devoted to the Church; but, unlike Marini, he could not lie. Having obtained access in 1867 to the Galileo documents at the Vatican, he published fully several of the most important, without suppression or piously-fraudulent manipulation. This made all the intrenchments based upon Marini's statements untenable. Another retreat had to be made.

And now came the most desperate effort of all. The apologetic army, reviving an idea which the popes and Church had spurned for centuries, declared that the popes as popes had never condemned the doctrines of Copernicus and Galileo; that they had condemned them as men simply; that therefore the Church had never been committed to them; that the condemnation was made by the cardinals of the Inquisition and Index; and that the Pope had evidently been restrained by interposition of Providence from signing their condemnation. Nothing could show the desperation of the retreating party better than jugglery like this. The facts are, that in the official account of the condemnation by Bellarmin, in 1616, he declares distinctly that he makes this condemnation "in the name of his Holiness the Pope."[1]

Again, from Pope Urban downward, among the Church authorities of the seventeenth century, the decision was always acknowledged to be made by the Pope and the Church. Urban VIII spoke of that of 1616 as made by Pope Paul V and the Church, and of that of 1633 as made by himself and the Church.


  1. See the citation from the Vatican manuscript given in Gebler, p. 78.