Dialogue with Kira Binkley on Quora about Galileo Case · With James Hough on Same Question (quora) · With Earl Wajenberg, on same question · With Achyuthan Sanal on Same Question
- Why was Copernicus not persecuted by the church, but Galileo was?
- Answer requested by
- Eric Mathew
- Earl Wajenberg
- M.A. History and Philosophy of Science, Indiana University (1980)
- Answered April 12
- The big reason is that Copernicus waited until he was dying to publish his book. He knew it would cause a row—with the academics. He wasn’t worrying about the church. He was himself a priest and his bishop urged him to publish.
As you can see, Copernicus was all for playing it quiet. Galileo was a very different personality. He loved a good fight, and he had one with his fellow academics. Unfortunately, they used some passages from his books to make it look like Galileo had mocked the Pope—a former friend/patron of his. And, to be fair, he probably had. This brought the attention of the Inquisition to bear on him, and things went down hill from there.
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- Just now
- You are forgetting that Galileo had defended an earlier book before the Inquisitor St. Robert Bellarmine.
Inquisitors had come to look at his earlier book, because in it, he had treated his idea so much as a fact, that he had considered it as having a bearing on Biblical exegesis. Unfortunately for him, all Church Fathers who had commented on Joshua 10 had done so with a Geocentric view on what actually happened in fact.
You are also forgetting that a merely personal backstabbing of a Pope is not in Catholic canon law anything like a motive for a lifetime of house arrest. Especially since Simplicio could not be identified as voicing positions of Pope Urban VIII beyond some few close acquaintances, and therefore would not be taken as attacking even the then Pope, let alone the papacy.
As you mentioned Inquisitors, Galileo lived in Italy, where there were some, Copernicus and his bishop in Poland, where they were scarce or non-extant.