Saturday, May 22, 2010

Here's the link: The Headline: "Copernicus Reburied as a Hero--500 Years After the Fact." The first two paragraphs read as follows:

"Nicolaus Copernicus, the 16th-century astronomer whose findings were condemned by the Roman Catholic Church as heretical, was reburied by Polish priests as a hero today, nearly 500 years after he was laid to rest in an unmarked grave.

"His burial in a tomb in the cathedral where he once served as a church canon and doctor indicates how far the church has come in making peace with the scientist whose revolutionary theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun helped usher in the modern scientific age."

All of which leads the casual reader to believe Copernicus was condemned as a heretic by the Church, persecuted, defamed, scourged, dropped in a vat of boiling yak oil, and then buried in a pauper's grave. Stupid, Evil, Dogmatic, Corrupt, Venal, Obscurantist, Backward, Bloody Whore of Babylon! Buried (not reburied!) deep in the report, however, the not-so-casual reader will come across this not entirely irrelevant tidbit:

"Copernicus' burial in an anonymous grave in the 16th century was not linked to suspicions of heresy. When he died, his ideas were just starting to be discussed by a small group of European astronomers, astrologers and mathematicians, and the church was not yet forcefully condemning the heliocentric world view as heresy, according to Jack Repcheck, author of Copernicus' Secret: How the Scientific Revolution Began.

"The full attack on those ideas came decades later when the Vatican was waging a massive defense against Martin Luther's Reformation."

Yes, and that "full attack against Martin Luther's Reformation" had something to do with Vatican defensiveness in the face of the Reformation's Sola Scriptura innovations. Protestants accused the Church of playing fast and loose with Holy Writ, permitting "human accretion" to undermine the essentials of the Christian faith, and it so happens the Bible implied--see, for instance, Joshua 10:12-14--that the sun revolved around the earth. Only irrefutable scientific evidence could trump a biblical precept, and neither Copernicus nor Galileo was able to attain it. That they failed to attain it was not the Church's position but that of their peers in the scientific community.

The article concludes as follows:

"Copernicus had, however, been at odds with his superiors in the church over other matters.

"He was repeatedly reprimanded for keeping a mistress, which violated his vow of celibacy, and was eventually forced to give her up. He also was suspected of harboring sympathies for Lutheranism, which was spreading like a wildfire in northern Europe at the time, Repcheck said.

"Copernicus' major treatise--'On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres'--was published at the very end of his life, and he only received a copy of the printed book on the day he died--May 21, 1543."

This is a remarkable, though very much par for the course, piece of journalism. In our politically correct age, you can't go wrong slamming Catholics, evangelicals, Germans, southern whites, the Euro-Christian tribes in general, heterosexual males or Muslims. Let's hear it for enlightenment and sensitivity!



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