Church Denies Galileo and Science in General, 1600s-1992
For those who despair over the Catholic Church’s opinion on birth control, there is historical precedent for reversing science—and even apologizing centuries later. Take Galileo Galilei, the 16th-century scientist who declared that Earth is a planet in the solar system and orbits around the sun. This, of course, went against church teachings at the time, which saw Earth as the center of God’s universe. When Galileo published his findings, the church banned the book, ordered him to appear before the Inquisition in Rome, and threatened him with torture. It doesn’t take a Zero Dark Thirty fan to guess what happened next: Galileo, age 68 and sick, publicly recanted his findings. Unfortunately, he didn’t live until 1822, when the Church finally lifted its ban on his book. (He made it until 1642). The Vatican in the 1960s endorsed Galileo’s findings, and in 1992, Pope John Paul II apologized for the actions taken against Galileo.