Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Saturday, June 21, 2014

21 June 1632 AD. Galileo, Church Censures, & Italian Inquisitors

21 June 1632 AD.  Galileo threatened with torture, yields to Vatican, and agrees that earth is motionless with the sun moving around it.

Dr. Rusten tells the story. 

Rusten, E. Michael and Rusten, Sharon. The One Year Christian History. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003. Available at:

Galileo was born 18 Feb 1564 in Pisa, Italy, the same year that Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon.  As an astronomer, he was granted lifelong tenure as a Professor at the University of Padua.  

In 1610, he was working with his telescope with a magnification—1000 times. He noted 4 moons going around Jupiter.  The theorized that planets moved around the sun.

He left for Florence, but in 1615, protests were lodged against him.  He was cited to appear before the famous Inquisition officers ( = IOs) of that famed tribunal set up to oppose heresy.

Galileo went to Rome hoping to convinced leaders of his views, but the IOs ordered silence.

The IOs stated, “The view that the sun stands motionless at the center of the universe is foolish, philosophically false and utterly heretical.”  We would add that the IOs (renamed these days as the Congregatio Doctrina and once headed by Mr. Joseph Ratzinger, AKA, Benedict XVI), still hubristically claim an ecclesiastical equivalent, to wit, “We, Rome, are the center of the ecclesiastical universe.”

Galileo submitted to the IOs.  He stayed out of the limelight until 1632.

In 1632, he published a major book on astronomy.  It got wide press in the academic world.

The IOs pulled him back in and accused him of violating his 1616 submission.  He was threatened with the usual IO tools—torture.

On 21 June 1632, Galileo submitted.  The next day, he was adjudged “guilty of heresy” and was remanded to jail “for an indefinite time.”  He was penalized with imprisonment, but also the penance of reciting 7 penitential Psalms 4 times daily for 3 years.

3 days later, on 25 June 1632, the Pope allowed Galileo to be a prisoner at his own villa.  As scholars do, Galileo continued his leisurely scholarly inquiries.  Galileo’s daughter, a nun, recited the penitential Psalms for her father.


Acworth, R. J. P. “Galileo.” EC. 4: 294-5.

Clouse, Robert. “Galileo Galilei.” NIDCC. 399-400.

Durant, Will and Ariel. The Age of Reason Begins. Vol. 7 of The Story of Civilization.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 1961. 600-612.

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