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    The Galileo Affair, Part 4: The trial and its development

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    • 06/28/2005 http://www.galilean-library.org/site/uploads/

    By Paul Newall (2005)

     

    The Trial and its Development

     

    Urban VIII and Politics

     

    The reception of the Dialogue among Galileo's friends was enthusiastic (XIV, 357), as could have been expected. Riccardi received a copy and made no complaint (Paschini, 1965: 501), which will prove relevant later. Meanwhile, political events were overtaking all other aspects to the affair.

     

    Urban VIII's attempts to sail a course between the French and the Hapsburgs during the Thirty Years War had come unstuck when he was accused by the Spanish of favouring the French. Galileo's friend Ciampoli became mixed up in the affair, having been befriended by Cardinal Gaspare Borgia, Ambassador to Spain, and the Spanish group in general. In March of 1632 Borgia, backed by another seven Cardinals, publicly criticised the Pope at a consistory, accusing him of favouring heretics and lacking apostolic zeal, leading almost to a brawl when the Pontiff's brother, Cardinal Antonio Barberini, took exception. (See Redondi, 1987: 227-232 for a full account of these events.) Stung by these and other accusations and unable to do anything against Borgia himself, Urban VIII acted against the group around him, expelling Cardinal Ludovisi for his support for Borgia and his threats to depose the Pope. Ciampoli, who had had Ludovisi as a patron and who was close to Cardinals Ubaldini and Aldobrandi, other members of the group, was dismissed for his association with the Spanish party. (Some, including Ambassador Niccolini, gave another reason for Ciampoli's fall: overconfident in his own abilities, he had taken a letter of the Pontiff's written in Latin and rewritten it, showing the result to friends. The Pope, being a man of letters and deeply proud of his own abilities, was stung to the quick. (Fantoli, 1996: 457-458))

     

     

     

    urbanviii.jpg

    Pope Urban VIII, Galileo’s friend and patron

     

    In April, the Protestant army of Adolphus reached Bavaria and began to loot the Jesuit Colleges. Urban VIII was caught between the demands of Philip IV and Ferdinand II to act against Adolphus and Cardinal Richelieu's suggestions to split with Spain. His indecision did not last long, however, because Adolphus reached the Alps in May and threatened to head for Rome. The Pope was forced to capitulate to the Spanish demands completely. With this political upheaval came a sea change in outlook, with many artists leaving Rome and the culture of patronage being stunted. Urban VIII took to sealing himself within Castel Gandolfo, suspecting everyone (Biagioli, 1993: 336).

     

    The Dialogue is a massive tome, running to 465 pages in Drake's 1953 translation. Copies began to arrive in Rome in July and August, but it is unlikely that the Pope had had the time or inclination to read it, with other problems on his mind. Nevertheless, it is likely that Galileo's enemies had succeeded in informing the Pontiff of its contents by July and he eventually saw for himself that his argument against interpreting astronomical theories as real put into the mouth of Simplicio, the simpleton (Fantoli, 1996: 459). Deeply upset at what he saw as his betrayal by Galileo, Urban VIII immediately ordered the book suspended, as Riccardi explained:

     

     

    ... it is the wish of Our Lord (but no more than my name is to be mentioned) that the book be withheld and that it not be sent here without there having been sent from here that which is to be corrected, nor should it be sent to other places. (XX, 571-572)

    In the same letter, Riccardi asked about the picture of three dolphins found on the frontispiece. This was merely the logo of the publisher, Landini, but the Pope suspected it was an insinuation about the way in which he was perceived to protect his nephews. Everything was piling up around him and the Dialogue was but the last straw. "Something had burned out in Urban VIII's heart: the admiration he had for Galileo..." (Fantoli, op cit: 394).

     

    In a long letter to Guidicci from Filippo Magaloti, a Florentine and relative of the Pontiff, the latter explained that the work was being recalled only to add the arguments that Urban VIII had used to convince Galileo "of the falsity of the Copernican theory". Having said this, he became more candid:

     

     

    This is the pretext; but the real fact is that the Jesuit Fathers are working most valiantly in an underhanded way to get the work prohibited. The reverend Father's [Riccardi's] own words to me were: 'The Jesuits will persecute him most bitterly.' (XIV, 370)

    Galileo protested the blocking of the distribution of the Dialogue in the strongest terms, but Ambassador Niccolini described the difficulties in a letter of August 1632:

     

     

    ... I have not been able to see the Master of the Sacred Palace [Riccardi] in regard to the question of Mr. Galilei. However, because I hear that there has been set up a Commission of persons versed in his profession, all unfriendly to Galileo, responsible to the Lord Cardinal Barberini, I have decided to speak about it to his Eminence himself at the earliest opportunity. Furthermore, because they are thinking of calling a mathematician from Pisa, named Mr. Chiaramonti and rather unfriendly to Mr. Galileo's opinions, it will be necessary that His Highness have someone talk to him, to make sure he pursues the cause of truth here, rather than his emotional feelings... (XIV, 372)

    Secretary of State Cioli replied that the Grand Duke would "take it badly if persecution of his works by those who are envious of his learning continues" (XIV, 373). Unfortunately Galileo's enemies had succeeded in allying the Pope to their cause and it was too late, in spite of Cioli's and Niccolini's best efforts. The latter remarked on this when he wrote that "when his Holiness becomes obstinate, it is a lost cause, especially so if one has intentions of opposing or threatening or asserting oneself, because under those conditions he is hard to deal with and shows respect for no one" (XIV, 385). Nevertheless, we can see plainly that the machinations of these "envious" people had very little (if at all, even at the beginning) to do with religion or its purported conflict with science and everything to do with politics, jealousy and misunderstandings—in short, too many factors to make any generalised (mythical) account tenable.

     

    On the 5th of September, Niccolini again wrote to Cioli to give his account of the meeting he had had with Urban VIII the day before. It does not make for pleasant reading, except for the principled and dedicated way Niccolini stuck to his assignment and tried to defend Galileo in a situation he knew he could not hope to save. After stating his agreement with the Grand Duke that "the sky is about to fall", he went on to describe how things had gone from bad to worse:

     

     

    While we were discussing those delicate subjects of the Holy Office, His Holiness exploded into great anger, and suddenly he told me that even our Galileo had dared entering where he should not have, into the most serious and dangerous subjects which could be stirred up at this time. I replied that Mr. Galilei had not published without the approval of his ministers and that for that purpose I myself had obtained and sent the prefaces to your city. He answered, with the same outburst of rage, that he had been deceived by Galileo and Ciampoli, that in particular Ciampoli had dared tell him that Mr. Galilei was ready to do all His Holiness ordered and that everything was fine...(quoted in Finocchiaro, 1989: 229-232)

    Thus did the Pope associate Galileo with Ciampoli and allege a joint ruse, a charge he would repeat ("his complaint was to have been deceived by Galileo and Ciampoli"). When Niccolini begged for Galileo to have the chance to explain himself before a fair panel, the Pontiff declared that "in these matters of the Holy Office the procedure was simply to arrive at a censure and then call the defendant to recant". Urban VIII's responses became increasingly violent as the Ambassador pressed the issue, the latter summarising their discussion by remarking that "I feel the Pope could not have a worse disposition toward our poor Mr. Galilei" (op cit).

     

    Although Riccardi tried to assure the Ambassador that all that was required were some adjustments to the text (XIV, 389), matters came to a head when a document was discovered in the files of the Holy Office which apparently showed Galileo have been ordered not to "hold, teach or defend" Copernicanism "in any way". Since this injunction is so important to the subsequent trial, we shall quote it in full:

     

     

    At the palace of the usual residence of the said Most Illustrious Lord Cardinal Bellarmine and in the chambers of His Most Illustrious Lordship, and fully in the presence of the Reverend Father Michelangelo Segizzi of Lodi, O.P. and Commissary General of the Holy Office, having summoned the above-mentioned Galileo before himself, the same Most Illustrious Lord Cardinal warned Galileo that the above-mentioned opinion was erroneous and that he should abandon it; and thereafter, indeed immediately, before me and witnesses, the Most Illustrious Lord Cardinal himself being also present still, the aforesaid Father Commissary, in the name of His Holiness the Pope and the whole Congregation of the Holy Office, ordered and enjoined the said Galileo, who was himself still present, to abandon completely the above-mentioned opinion that the sun stands still at the centre of the world and the earth moves, and henceforth not to hold, teach, or defend it in any way whatever, either orally or in writing; otherwise the Holy Office would start proceedings against him. The same Galileo acquiesced in this injunction and promised to obey. (Finocchiaro, op cit: 147-148)

    Since it was plain to anyone who had read the Dialogue that Galileo had broken these terms, it seemed he was finished. Urban VIII's Commission inevitably decided that the Holy Office should investigate the work (XIV, 398) and on the 23rd of September the Congregation met to discuss the Commission's report. There he was charged with having "been deceitfully silent about the command laid upon him by the Holy Office, in the year 1616" (XIX, 279-280) and the Pope ordered that Galileo be brought to Rome by October to appear before the Commissary general.

     

    Galileo received this command from the Florentine Inquisitor on the 1st of October and agreed to follow it (XIX, 331-332). He could do little else. Even so, he wrote to Cardinal Francesco Barberini to ask for his help, suggesting that an alternative to the long journey to Rome would be to appear before the Inquisitor in Florence (XIV, 410). Galileo was seventy years old at this stage and did not think he had any significant amount of his life remaining. Meanwhile, Galileo's friends tried to assist him as best they could, with Castelli talking to Riccardi and Vincenzo Maculano, the Commissary of the Holy Office. The Grand Duke himself became involved, instructing Niccolini to do "everything that might ever be possible to help him" (XIV, 413). The Ambassador met with Urban VIII in November and attempted to appeal to Galileo's age and ill health, but the Pope could not be swayed. The latter did, however, grant that the conditions of Galileo's quarantine would be eased as far as possible. Cardinal Francesco Barberini apologised for not being able to offer an opinion other than that of his uncle, the Pontiff, but he also pledged to do whatever he could to see that Galileo did not suffer (XIV, 427). Nevertheless, the Pope insisted that Galileo be forced to come to Rome (XIX, 280) in spite of the latter being so sick that he was confined to his bed. It was clear that Urban VIII was still bitter at having been deceived, as he put it (XIV, 428-429). When Galileo at last sent word of his poor health, certified by three doctors, the Pope "commanded that we [the Holy Office] write to the inquisitor that his Holiness and the Sacred Congregation cannot and absolutely must not tolerate subterfuges of this sort" (XIX, 281-282). Eventually it was decided that doctors from Rome would visit Galileo at his own expense to determine the extent of his illness, particular since "he is the one who has reduced himself to this state of affairs" (ibid).

     

    Thus it was that Galileo finally left for Rome in January of 1633, the Grand Duke having offered him a carriage to travel in and accommodation with Ambassador Niccolini, who treated him with "indescribable kindness" from his arrival in February. The wheels of the Holy Office moved slowly, however, and Galileo struggled to find out what was going on, still supposing that his honesty and faith could save him. He remained ignorant of the sheer extent of the forces arrayed against him, even as others were very clear that he "suffer[ed] from the envy of those who s[aw] in him the only obstacle to their having the reputation of the highest mathematicians" (Holste to de Peiresc, XV, 62). Niccolini spoke again with the Pope in March, finding this time that Urban VIII made specific reference to his own argument of the omnipotence of God and His power to make the world in any way He chose. When the Pontiff began to lose his temper in response to the Ambassador's objections, the matter had to be dropped (XV, 68). At last, in April, Galileo was called before the Congregation of the Holy Office to be interrogated.

     

    The Trial and Verdict

     

    Galileo appeared before Commissary Maculano on the 12th of April and was interviewed on the same day (XIX, 336-342 and Finocchiaro, 1989: 256-262). After some preliminaries, Maculano focused on what Galileo had been told by Bellarmine in 1616, the former knowing of the document quoted above. Galileo replied that

     

     

    Lord Cardinal Bellarmine told me that Copernicus's opinion could be held suppositionally, as Copernicus himself had held it. His Eminence knew that I held it suppositionally, namely in the way that Copernicus held it, as you can see from an answer by the same Lord Cardinal to a letter of Father Master Paolo Antonio Foscarini, Provincial of the Carmelites; I have a copy of this, and in it one finds these words: "I say that it seems to me that Your Paternity and M. Galileo are proceeding prudently by limiting yourselves to speaking suppositionally and not absolutely." (Finocchiaro, op cit)

     

     

     

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    Galileo’s Trial

     

    Then came the decisive issue: asked what he had been told by Bellarmine in 1616 at the time of being informed of the decree of the Index, Galileo said that "Lord Cardinal Bellarmine told me that since Copernicus's opinion, taken absolutely, was contrary to Holy Scripture, it could neither be held nor defended, but it could be taken and used suppositionally" (ibid). He then produced a copy of a signed note from Bellarmine, stating to this effect. This was obviously a surprise to Maculano, but he pressed the main issue of whether Galileo had been enjoined upon not to "teach, hold or defend in any way". Galileo answered that

     

     

    I do remember that the injunction was that I could not hold or defend, and even that I could not teach. I do not recall, further, that there was the phrase in any way whatever, but maybe there was; in fact, I did not think about it or keep it in mind, having received a few months thereafter Lord Cardinal Bellarmine's certificate dated 26 May which I have presented and in which is explained the order given to me not to hold or defend the said opinion. Regarding the other two phrases in the said injunction now mentioned, namely not to teach and in any way whatever, I did not retain them in my memory, I think because they are not contained in the said certificate, which I relied upon and kept as a reminder. (ibid)

    The discrepancy between the document of the Holy Office and the one signed by Bellarmine was such that Maculano had to ask Galileo for more detail on who was present at the 1616 meeting at Bellarmine's residence. Using the former piece of evidence, the Commissary tried to jog Galileo's memory but was told the same thing: Bellarmine had said that he could not hold or defend Copernicanism, but Galileo did not recall any additional remarks about not teaching in any way whatever. Notwithstanding the context of Bellarmine's certificate, Galileo was stood over while the Holy Office appointed three theologians, Oreggi, Inchofer and Pasqualigo, to examine the Dialogue (again, in the case of the first two) in order to determine if Galileo had transgressed the order he was given in the first formulation. The result (op cit, 262-276) was a foregone conclusion, of course, and thus constituted (at this time) an aggravating circumstance—that is, Galileo's apparent dishonesty on this matter.

     

    Many Galileo scholars have attempted to explain the existence of these two—seemingly contradictory—pieces of written evidence. Perhaps the most interesting were Stillman Drake's (1999, 1:142-152) and Guido Morpurgo-Tagliabue's (1963: 14-25; they are similar in almost all respects), which suggested that Michael Seghizzi, then Commissary General, was present when Galileo went to visit Bellarmine to receive his injunction in 1616. As a Dominican, Seghizzi may not have trusted Bellarmine to explain Galileo's error in strict terms. According to Drake, "by the time the Cardinal had finished his admonition, the Commissary was ready. Without allowing Galileo time for any reply, he proceeded to deliver his own stringent precept not to hold, defend, or teach Copernicanism in any way, orally or in writing, on pain of imprisonment" (ibid: 145). This was duly recorded by a notary and became the (unsigned) document that Maculano questioned Galileo about. Upset with the way Seghizzi had behaved, Bellarmine then met with Galileo subsequently following the latter's complaints that people were gossiping about his having been silenced. Telling him to discount what he had been told by Seghizzi, who had overstepped his bounds (although Fantoli, 1996: 260 disagreed on this point), Bellarmine wrote a certificate of exactly what he had said to Galileo and then signed it (XIX, 348). This is the second document, which Galileo produced at his interrogation and which no one but he knew of until that time.

     

    On this version of events, Galileo had indeed been ordered not to "hold, teach, or defend [Copernicanism] in any whatever, either orally or in writing", but in an extrajudicial manner. His instructions from Bellarmine, on the other hand, did allow him to treat of Copernicanism in a suppositional way. In any case, the coexistence of these two statements caused a great deal of consternation for Maculano and the Commission. It was easy to see that the signed certificate from Bellarmine outweighed the unsigned notary's paper but it was simply not possible to leave Galileo unpunished because the "Holy Office had itself brought the charges, and in theory at least, a false charge of heresy carried the same penalty as heresy itself" (ibid: 149). There was also the matter of whether Galileo had transgressed the instructions given to him by Bellarmine, irrespective of which of the papers was an accurate record of what had occurred on that day in 1616. In spite of Galileo's protestations of innocence, which he later dropped (XIX, 361-362), it was obvious that he had written the Dialogue in such as way as to leave the reader in no doubt as to which was the more reasonable worldview. There was a case to answer.

     

    Maculano explained the dilemma the Congregation was faced with late in April:

     

     

    In compliance with the commands of His Holiness, I yesterday informed the Most Eminent Lords of the Holy Congregation of Galileo's case, the position of which I briefly reported. Their Eminences approved of what has been done thus far and took into consideration, on the other hand, various difficulties with regard to the manner of pursuing the case and of bringing it to an end. More especially since Galileo has in his examination denied what is plainly evident from the book written by him, as a consequence of this denial there would result the necessity for greater rigour of procedure and less regard to the other considerations belonging to this business. (XV: 252-253)

    He was alluding here to the difficulty caused by the two conflicting documents and the fact that Galileo's denial of defending Copernicanism would have to lead to his trial focusing on this apparent lie to the exclusion of the matter of publishing without permission (according to Urban VIII, at any rate). However, Maculano proposed an alternative:

     

     

    Finally, I suggested a course, namely, that the Holy Congregation should grant me permission to treat extrajudicially with Galileo, in order to render him sensible of his error and bring him, if he recognises it, to the confession of the same. (ibid)

    Such an out-of-court settlement would allow the Church to save face in the light of Galileo's certificate from Bellarmine while Galileo himself would be let off with a lesser sentence. Since Galileo was one of the most famous people in Europe and Philosopher and Mathematician to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, it would also be a prudent way to deal with the issue. The latter was pleased with the idea, as Maculano explained:

     

     

    That no time might be lost, I entered into discourse with Galileo yesterday afternoon, and after many and many arguments and rejoinders had passed between us, by God's grace, I attained my object, for I brought him to a full sense of his error, so that he clearly recognised that he had erred and gone too far in his book. And to all this he gave expression in words of much feeling, like one who experienced great consolation in the recognition of his error, and he was also willing to confess it judicially. (ibid)

    As a result of this discussion, Galileo was interrogated for a second time on the 30th of April. Having reconsidered the matter, he said, he had re-read his Dialogue, checking whether "against my purest intention, through my oversight, there might have fallen from my pen not only something enabling readers or superiors to infer a defect of disobedience on my part, but also other details through which one might think of me as a transgressor of the orders of the Holy Church" (quoted by Finocchiaro, 1989: 277-279). Of course, it turned out that "it appeared to me in several places to be written in such a way that a reader, not aware of my intention, would have reason to form the opinion that the arguments for the false side, which I intended to confute, were so stated as to be capable of convincing because of their strength, rather than being easy to answer" (ibid). Galileo's explanation for this conduct was that he had "resorted to that of the natural gratification everyone feels for his own subtleties and for showing himself to be cleverer than the average man, by finding ingenious and apparent considerations of probability even in favour of false propositions" (ibid). Shortly thereafter he added that he would gladly write a sequel to the Dialogue in which he would confute Copernicanism thoroughly.

     

    This was not what Maculano had hoped for and certainly not enough to satisfy the Congregation. Nevertheless, Galileo was given leave to return to the Tuscan Ambassador's residence owing to his ill health, where he would prepare his defence for the eventual trial at which his plea bargain would be entered. Declining the eight days he was allowed for this purpose, he presented the story of his discussions with Bellarmine and the events leading to the presentation of his signed certificate.

     

    Nothing seemed to happen for many days thereafter, but behind the scenes the situation was deteriorating rapidly. On the 16th of June a document was provided to the Congregation called Contra Galileo Galilei (XIX, 293-295). It contained the accusations of Lorini and Caccini of 1615 and 1616 respectively, together with "grossly inexact" (Fantoli, op cit: 438) details of many of the important events we have covered. It is doubtful that the trial could have been concluded any other way, however, even without these deceitful tactics on the part of some unknown persons. At the meeting of the Congregation on the same day the Pope's decree was

     

     

    that said Galileo being interrogated on his intention, even with the threat of torture, and, si sustinuerit ["thereafter", according to Fantoli (ibid: 478)], he is to abjure [under vehement suspicion of heresy] in a plenary session of the Congregation of the Holy Office, then is to be condemned to imprisonment at the pleasure of the Holy Congregation, and ordered not to treat further, in whatever manner, either in words or in writing, on the mobility of the Earth and the stability of the Sun; otherwise he will incur the penalties of relapse. The book entitled Dialogue of Galileo Galilei the Lincean is to be prohibited. (XIX, 283)

    Niccolini again met with Urban VIII to try to achieve some form of compromise but was told that the decision had been made. Maculano's attempt at a plea bargain had extracted a "confession" that was not considered adequate, so the only concession that Niccolini could win was a promise that the Pontiff would discuss later how to minimise the suffering Galileo would have to endure (XV, 160).

     

    On the 21st of June Galileo arrived again at the Holy Office for his final interrogation. He repeated that he did not hold the Copernican opinion and that he had "not held it since the decision of the authorities" (XIX, 361-362). When it was pointed out to him, again, that his Dialogue gave a contrary impression, he repeated his disavowal. Finally, warned that if he did not speak the truth then recourse might be made to torture, Galileo stated once more that he had not "held this opinion of Copernicus since the command was intimated to me that I must abandon it; for the rest, I am here in your hands—do with me what you please" (ibid).

     

     

     

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    An excerpt from the abjuration of Galileo Galilei

     

    The next day, Galileo was led to the convent of Minvera to another plenary session of the Holy Office, clad in penitential clothes. After reviewing the circumstances of the case, the closing section of the condemnation read thus:

     

     

    We say, pronounce, sentence, and declare that you, the said Galileo, by reason of matters adduced in trial, and by you confessed as above, have rendered yourself in the judgement of this Holy Office vehemently suspected of heresy, namely of having believed and held the doctrine which is false and contrary to the sacred and divine Scriptures—that the Sun is the centre of the world and does not move from east to west and that the Earth moves and is not the centre of the world; and that an opinion may be held and defended as probable after it has declared and defined to be contrary to the Holy Scriptures; and that consequently you have incurred all the censures and penalties imposed and promulgated in the sacred canons and other constitutions, general and particular, against such delinquents. From which we are content that you be absolved, provided that first, with a sincere heart and unfeigned faith, you abjure, curse, and detest before us the aforesaid errors and heresies and every other error and heresy contrary to the Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church in the form prescribed by us for you.

     

    And, in order that this your grave and pernicious error and transgression may not remain altogether unpunished and that you may be more cautious in the future and an example to others that they may abstain from similar delinquencies, we ordain that the book of the "Dialogue of Galileo Galilei" be prohibited by public edict.

     

    We condemn you to the formal prison of this Holy Office during our pleasure, and by way of salutary penance we enjoin that for three years to come you repeat once a week the seven penitential Psalms. Reserving to ourselves liberty to moderate, commute, or take off, in whole or in part the aforesaid penalties and penance. (XIX, 402-406)

    His hopes crushed completely, Galileo could do no more than read the required abjuration:

     

     

    I, Galileo, son of the late Vincenzio Galilei, Florentine, aged seventy years, arraigned personally before this tribunal and kneeling before you Most Eminent and Reverend Lord Cardinal Inquisitors-General against heretical pravity throughout the entire Christian commonwealth, having before my eyes and touching with my hands the Holy Gospels, swear that I have always believed, do believe, and by God's help will in the future believe all that is held, preached, and taught by the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. But, whereas—after an injunction had been judicially intimated to me by this Holy Office to the effect that I must altogether abandon the false opinion that the Sun is the centre of the world and immovable and that the Earth is not the centre of the world and moves and that I must not hold, defend, or teach in any way whatsoever, verbally or in writing, the said false doctrine, and after it had been notified to me that the said doctrine was contrary to Holy Scripture—I wrote and printed a book in which I discuss this new doctrine already condemned and adduce arguments of great cogency in its favour without presenting any solution of these, I have been pronounced by the Holy Office to be vehemently suspected of heresy, that is to say, of having held and believed that the Sun is the centre of the world and immovable and that the Earth is not the centre and moves.

     

    Therefore, desiring to remove from the minds of your Eminences, and of all faithful Christians, this vehement suspicion justly conceived against me, with sincere heart and unfeigned faith I abjure, curse, detest the aforesaid errors and heresies and generally every other error, heresy and sect whatsoever contrary to the Holy Church, and I swear that in future I will never again say or assert, verbally or in writing, anything that might furnish occasion for a similar suspicion regarding me; but, should I know any heretic or person suspected of heresy, I will denounce him to the Holy Office or to the inquisitor or Ordinary of the place where I may be. (XIX, 406-407)

    Fantoli (op cit: 446-450) has shown that the juridical position taken against Galileo "can be viewed as fully justified according to the regular practice of the Inquisition at that time, on the basis of the doctrinal and disciplinary decisions of 1616" (ibid: 450). He had denied that he wished to defend Copernicanism when it was plain that he had done so, even if only showing it to be probable; he had defended in the Dialogue a theory that had been declared contrary to Holy Scripture by the decree of 1616; and he had disobeyed the orders given to him by both Bellarmine and Segizzi. "Vehemently suspected of heresy" (but not heretical, a considerably worse charge that, quite correctly, was not brought because it could not be sustained), the only option for the Congregation was to impose an abjuration.

     

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