[Desperately battling a looming academic deadline but having been soothed by repeated listenings of these two formidable women's tribute to Galileo, I shall bow to necessity and take this opportunity to (re-)share my own:]
What is it?
Nicolaus Copernicus, the “heretical” 16th-century astronomer who was buried in an unmarked grave nearly 500 years ago, was rehabilitated by the Roman Catholic Church this weekend as his remains were reburied in the Polish cathedral where he had once been a canon.The ceremonial reburial of Copernicus in a tomb in the medieval cathedral at Frombork on Poland’s Baltic coast is seen as a final sign of the Church’s repentance for its treatment of the scientist over his theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun, declared heretical by the Vatican in 1616.
"Heretical?" Copernicus wasn't a "heretical" astronomer; he was a heretical astronomer. The Pope being the Infinite's mouthpiece, presumably when he declares something a heresy he means it. Whatever god is speaking to the current Pope doesn't get to play "backsies" with the one who spoke to Paul V.
The Times doesn't note the year the Vatican finally proclaimed heliocentrism the truth: 1992.
376 years later.
But no matter.
Hand-wringing over religious heresy (in Christendom anyway) has gone the way of the dodo. Why dredge up this dreadful word?