Pope Alexander VII in 1664, in his bull "Speculatores," solemnly sanctioned the condemnation of all books affirming the earth's movement.
When Gassendi attempted to raise the point that the decision against Copernicus and Galileo was not sanctioned by the Church as such, an eminent theological authority, Father Lecazre, rector of the College of Dijon, publicly contradicted him, and declared that it "was not certain cardinals, but the supreme authority of the Church," that had condemned Galileo; and to this statement the Pope and other Church authorities gave consent either openly or by silence. When Descartes and others attempted to raise the same point, they were treated with contempt. Father Castelli, who had devoted himself to Galileo, and knew to his cost just what the condemnation meant and who made it, takes it for granted in his letter to the papal authorities that it was made by the Church. Cardinal Querenghi, in his letters; the ambassador Guicciardini, in his dispatches; Polacco, in his refutation; the historian Viviani, in his biography of Galileo—all writing under Church inspection and approval at the time, took the view that the Pope and Church condemned Galileo, and this was never denied at Rome. The Inquisition itself, backed by the greatest theologian of the time, Bellarmin, took the same view. Not only does he declare that he makes the condemnation "in the name of his Holiness the Pope," but we have the Roman Index, containing the condemnation for nearly two hundred years, prefaced by a solemn bull of the reigning Pope binding this condemnation on the consciences of the whole Church, and declaring year after year that "all books which affirm the motion of the earth" are damnable. To attempt to face all this, added to the fact that Galileo was required to abjure "the heresy of the movement of the earth" by written order of the Pope, was soon seen to be impossible. Against the assertion that the Pope was not responsible we have all this mass of testimony, and the bull of Alexander VII in 1664.
This contention, then, was at last utterly given up by honest
- For references by Urban VIII to the condemnation as made by Pope Paul V, see pp. 136, 144, and elsewhere in Martin, who much against his will is forced to allow this. See also Roberts, Pontifical Decrees against the Earth's Movement, and St. George Mivart's article, as above quoted; also Reusch, Der Index verbotenen Biicher, Bonn, 1885, vol. ii, pp. 29 et seq.
- For Lecazre's answer to Gassendi, see Martin, pp. 146, 147. For the attempt to make the crime of Galileo a breach of etiquette, see Dublin Review, as above. Whewell, vol. i, p. 283. Citation from Marini: "Galileo was punished for trifling with the authorities, to which he refused to submit, and was punished for obstinate contumacy, not heresy." The sufficient answer to all this is that the words of the inflexible sentence designating the condemned books are "Libri omnes qui affirmant telluris motum." See Bertrand, p. 59. As to the idea that "Galileo was punished, not for his opinion, but for basing it on Script-