Tuesday, January 15, 2008

La Sapienza University protest at Pope's visit

It seems very odd that university staff are protesting at the visit of the Pope. On the one hand they condemn the Church for denying free speech to Galileo and then deny the same thing to the Pope.
However, this debate isn't about the Pope's views on the trial of Galileo, it is about intolerance of any view which doesn't agree with them.

I strikes me that there is a new fundamentalism and dogmatism abroad. It refuses to accept that there could be an alternative to a particular set of narrow views. Essentially, they believe that everything must be provable: intuition, memory, experience have nothing to offer. Nothing that cannot be expressed in rational scientific terms actually exists. This vision has no place for the larger vision of humanity, everything creeps along in tiny steps. Their vision of humanity lacks humanity, it is primarily about reducing man to at best to the bestial, at worst to the mechanical.
Their objection to the Pope, is an objection to religion. Religion introduces a joker into the pack. Religion says, "yes there is the rational, that is a good thing but there is also in the equation something which is unknownable."
The scientific view, if it can be termed that way, sees the world through a microscope, it is always pessimistic and pragmatic: the religious view looks through a telescope and is ultimately optimistic and puts forward ultimate principles.


Anonymous said...

It's sad to see the cynical outlook many adopt in the name of education and secularism.

At least this is shining a light on the little dark creature in the corner...

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden." Matt 5:14

Anonymous said...

The BBC did its usual spin on the Pope & the Church - by claiming that the Church had only recognised the world to be round when Pope John Paul II revoked the judgement on Galileo!

Today they mentioned that today is New Year's Day for the Russian Orthodox who follow the Julian Calender - but failed to mention that the Gregorian Calender (resulting from astronomical observations)was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII!

In Galileo's "Lettera a Madama Cristina di Lorena, Granducessa di Toscana" (1615), he had advocated a liberal use of the principle of accomodation in interpreting biblical passages seemingly inconsistent with the motion of the earth.

This book was placed on the Index, pending correction. Galileo apparently aquiesced in this decision.

Galileo then went back on this gentleman's agreement in 1632 with his "Dialogo sopra i Due Massimi Sistemi del Mondo" in which he again used biblical aguments to justify his scientific theory and insulted Pope Urban VIII.

So Galileo was placed under house arrest more for his ideas on biblical interpretation, going against the previous agreement and perhaps especially (like Mr Toad) for cheek.

Anonymous said...

Fr Z has just found out that the Pope's visit to the university has been cancelled.

Anonymous said...

Has anybody read Arthur Koestler's book "The Sleepwalkers" for a view of the trial of Galileo contrary to that popularly conveyed and believed by Italian professors of physics? I expect Benedict has read it, he seems to have read everything else.

Dr. Peter H. Wright said...

So, the papal visit has been called off, for fear of violence !

I see the Italian journalist, Luigi Accatoli, says on his blog that there has been nothing like it since 1994 when John Paul II was forced to cancel visits to Beirut and Sarajevo.

Which means The Sapienza is now on the same level as war torn Beirut and Sarajevo !

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