Rev Sam points out that Galileo acknowledged there was a lack of proof for the heliocentric model. I reply...
Sam - you raise an interesting point, but what is its relevance to the issue here? Are you drawing a conclusion?
The issue I am discussing, remember, is: was Galileo indeed hauled before the inquisition for his scientific views (though no doubt his comments on the interpretation of scripture etc. would have provoked ire too)?
And was he shown the instruments of torture and imprisoned for life for , among other things, daring to claim the heliocentric model was literally true?
The answer is "yes" twice, isn't it?
True, G was wrong about some things, and some of his arguments were faulty. And yes he could be less than tactful, and indeed may have lampooned the Pope. Possibly he had bad breath too. Conservative Catholics love to point these things out. But this is all smoke-screen.
It seems to me that, whether or not G's scientific position was fully justified, and indeed whether or not he was a cantankerous old git, the Catholic Church did ban him from expressing it, and then did threaten him with torture and imprison him for life for continuing to express it. It was wrong to do so.
Those are the facts that some Catholics (like McAvearey and www.catholiceducation.org) simply deny, while others attempt to excuse or obscure by banging on about G's lack of proof, his disagreeable personality traits, trickiness, etc.
I should add, of course, that very many Catholics will rightly be embarrassed by McAvearey's revisionist history. Don't wish to tar all Catholics with this brush.
Letter was published - go here.