Pope Benedict XVI has postponed a visit to a prestigious university in Rome where lecturers and students have protested against his views on Galileo.That's the ostensible reason that some of the scientists have claimed for their objections... but really, who gets that upset about such an off-hand remark?
"After the well-noted controversy of recent days... it was considered appropriate to postpone the event," a Vatican statement said.
The Pope had been set to make a speech at La Sapienza University on Thursday.
Sixty-seven academics had said the Pope condoned the 1633 trial and conviction of the astronomer Galileo for heresy.
Pope Benedict was in charge of Roman Catholic doctrine in 1990 when, as Cardinal Ratzinger, he commented on the 17th-Century Galileo trial.
In the speech, he quoted Austrian-born philosopher Paul Feyerabend as saying the Church's verdict against Galileo had been "rational and just".
Anyway, the BBC's reportage gets worse:
Fifteen years ago Pope John Paul II officially conceded that in fact the Earth was not stationary.WHAT? Does someone at the BBC seriously believe that (pace Robert Sungenis) the Catholic Church has been teaching geocentrism until 15 years ago? Granted, some Fundamentalist Protestants have some pretty wacky things to say about biology and dinosaurs, but it takes a serious lack of understanding of mainstream Christian belief to think that it wasn't until John Paul II came along that the Church denied that the earth moved. Sheesh!
Fr Z has a franker and (alas) more accurate take on the situation:
These narrow-minded little brats are probably being pushed by aging hippies, communists, and sexual deviants. Much of the protest seems focused on how "homophobic" Pope Benedict is. Also, apparently the Pope and the Chuch are against science and truth, etc.
Basically, this whole thing is driven by two things: stupidity and lust.
The Church in Italy has been very involved in some matters in the public square. After decades of having no real opposition, the Left is freaking out now because the Church and the Italian bishops are no longer being filtered through the monumentally mediocre and now defunct Christian Demoncrat party. The Church is weighing in on matters like assisted fertilization, civil unions for homosexuals, euthanasia, abortion, etc. The Left and the deviants don’t like this new development at all. Their reactions? Level death threats against the new president of the Bishops Conference and then behave like snotnosed delinquents when faced with opposing views.
The authorities were worried about what image would be created by televising students involved in civil disobbedience confronting the Pope.
Incidentally, this protest against the Pope is said to be based on the 'secular' nature of science. Why aren't the students protesting the presence of politicians at the inauguration of the academic year? Isn't science also non-political?