Vatican Debates Paying Tribute to Galileo

Heretic remains a touchy subject in Catholic Church
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2008 12:58 PM CDT
Vatican Debates Paying Tribute to Galileo
Galileo Galilei   (Getty Images)

Galileo Galilei is riling the Catholic church yet again, the Wall Street Journal reports, as an anonymous donor has offered to pay to erect a statue in the Vatican of Catholicism’s most famous heretic. But though the church has come around on science, Galileo remains a touchy subject. He’s “like a Mexican soap opera,” said one Vatican official. “It never ends.”

Even when Pope John Paul II reopened Galileo’s case, the commission ended up issuing only a wishy-washy finding that avoided apology or blame. As a cardinal, Pope Benedict gave a speech that seemed to defend the conviction. Now, the church worries the statue will look like a too-late apology, reviving its biggest PR nightmare. There’s also a logistical concern: Where in the art-packed Vatican would you put it? (More Vatican stories.)

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