St. Bellarmine: Geocentrism and the Virgin Birth

You know, looking back, he was right. Both are just as erroneous as each other.

  • JohnMWhite

    Is there a reason somebody’s comment from a couple of hours ago pointing out that Bellarmine died in 1621 and the trial of Gallileo didn’t take place until 1633 was removed?

    • JohnMWhite

      Looking back, this comment seems kind of accusatory – I don’t mean I suspect shenanigans, I’m just curious what happened. I’m sure it was here, and it certainly wasn’t the sort of thing that would be deleted for breaking any rules.

      • Kodie

        I didn’t see that comment but the spam filter has been over-active (at least where my posts are concerned – I didn’t write the post you’re talking about but hey).

        • TrickQuestion

          I saw it. It seemed to be up for me about 2 minutes. But,the “recent comments” thing on the side has been fluxing like crazy all day. Could be a problem with the service.

    • Ron

      Admonition of Galileo
      (February 26, 1616)

  • busterggi

    Maybe because the 1633 trial was the second one while Bellarmine gave that opinion for the first one in 1616?

    • JohnMWhite

      I’m not concerned about the accuracy, I just find it odd the comment itself vanished.

  • PsiCop

    That’s called “Church logic.” Another example of the same kind of reasoning would be, “We can’t defrock or stop priests we know are pedophiles, because doing so might suggest a priest could do something so egregious as to invalidate his ordination; but because we long ago declared the Donatists … who believed precisely that … were horrific, vile heretics, we can’t do that, because it might set a precedent that would appear to agree with that heresy.”

    If you look hard enough at Church history, and even at how the Church works today, you see a lot of that exact same kind of thinking going on behind the scenes. It’s not really very hard to find if you just know enough to look for it.

    • Elemenope

      Quite so. It is amusing (and a bit sad) looking back on all the theological ideas the Church decided to make heresies, and noting that not a few of them would have allowed them to avoid some practical and philosophical pitfalls they seem to trip into these days.

      • PsiCop

        You’re right about that. But in addition, people’s efforts to combat heresies, sometimes ironically led them into territory that was, itself, viewed as heresy. For example, Nestorianism had been Nestorius’s attempt at reconciling approaches to christology which had been problematic since the Arian heresy had erupted; but his solution ended up being condemned by Cyril of Alexandria and others as a heresy of its own. What’s more, another line of christological thinking called Monophysitism, which had been a response to the heresy of Nestorianism, ended up being condemned as a heresy as well.

        What’s more, Justinian’s effort to suppress Monophysitism in turn led him to stumble into the ridiculous and laughable escapade surrounding the so-called “Three Chapters.” These were three documents which had been used to support Monophysitism; but ironically they happened to contain passages that also supported the orthodox position. Thus, in trying to pull the legs out from under the Monophysites, the Emperor ended up debunking orthodoxy! (He also was in the position of having to triangulate against his own wife who was a Monophysite sympathizer. But I digress.)

        Eastern Christians were, to put it bluntly, incredibly hard to please. It also explains the ridiculous nature of the modern “Trinity” notion. It’s not an explanation of God’s nature, rather it’s a statement about what he isn’t. This ended up being the only way to steer clear of saying anything that might be labeled “heresy.”

        Having studied the ecclesiastical period in question in great detail, I can tell you the real problem was just a generalized reflexive hatred of any kind of theological idea that appeared novel. Any theology which includes enough details, can be mined for offensive-looking notions and thus be condemned as “heresy.” It’s trivial to do it. If ogrish intellectual lightweights like Sts Athanasius and Cyril could do it to the Arians and to Nestorius, then pretty much anyone could do it to anyone else without even batting an eye.

        The R.C. Church has inherited this tradition from their late-classical era eastern forebears, even if the Eastern Church went its own way in the Middle Ages. It’s entirely too easy for them to paint themselves into corners, as Justinian did with the “Three Chapters.” And it’s all because of their irrational fear of theological innovation.

        • PsiCop

          Uh oh. I misstated the nature of the “Three Chapters” affair. The documents had been used to support Nestorianism, not Monophysitism. By condemning them Justinian had been trying to convince Monophysites they were closer in their thinking to the orthodox position and to abandon their “sect” (for lack of a better term).

          • Elemenope

            I like to describe the homoousion/homoiousion controversy as a fight that literally started over one iota. For all I know that’s the actual origination of the idiom ‘I wouldn’t give one iota…”, though Matthew 5:18 is probably a more plausible candidate.

  • Paul

    Regardless of any date issues, it is a wonderful example of irony that probably wasn’t noticed for a few centuries, or at least not publicly stated as being ironic.

  • vasaroti

    Oh, dang, now I’ll have to go look up what this schnoz was sainted for.

  • Jim Hudlow

    It appears he did admonish Galileo (in 1616) against putting forth a sun centered solar system as other than a hypothesis as it went against the bible but I cannot verify this quote regarding that admonishment.

    • Kodie

      I looked up on google “St. Bellarmine” and subsequently looked at two Catholic references, as opposed to “possibly” unkind or accusatory sites that might be making more of it than what it was! It’s my assumption that they had of course put him in the best light possible, considering, while still admitting that he opposed heliocentricism.

      I do not want to accuse Catholics of revisionism, but that does seem likely also. It could also be a case of St. Bellarmine felt like not making a decision and went off because he was dying. I don’t want to be such an asshole because he just wanted to die in peace and not have to make a decision, but it left Galileo on the hook. My idea here is that maybe he was “persuaded” but he didn’t make a stand; or he didn’t feel confident that what persuaded him was not the devil. He just said, aw fuck it, and in the scheme of religious thinking, and letting truth be decided by important people instead of smart people, even in this day and age, religious people get special preference. This looks like it might be persuasive! I’m’a just retire instead. St. Bellarmine: unofficial patron saint of moderate Christians.