.- In an interview this week with the Peruvian daily El Comercio, physics expert Fr. Manuel Carreira clarified numerous and often misunderstood details about the life of Galileo, also touching on the relationship between faith and science.
The priest confirmed to El Comercio that Galileo âwas a believerâ and that, despite assumptions to the contrary, âhe did not spend one minute behind bars â¦ nor was he excommunicated.â Fr. Carreira added that Galileo âdied professing the faith under the care of a religious sister and with a papal blessing.â
Fr. Carreira, who was in Lima for the Second Congress on the Holy Shroud of Turin, said that during Galileoâs time, there was no proof that the Earth moved around the sun. âHis supposed evidence was invalid,â the physicist noted, as well as dismissed by other astronomers.
Galileoâs correct idea, he explained, was that âthe Bible does not teach science.â However, the famed astronomer âalso wanted theologians to change their interpretation of the text according to his theory.â Although the theologians of his day âwere mistaken in thinking that the Bible teaches astronomy,â the priest added, âthey were correct in saying that as long as there was no evidence, Galileo should have presented his ideas as a theory and not ask them to change their opinions.â
âIn both cases,â Fr. Carreira said, âthey went outside their fields and entered that of the other. From this lesson, we have learned that there must be mutual respect.â
Fr. Carreira then addressed the topic of creation, noting that âscience is limited.â He explained that while there are many theories about the creation of the world, âto speak of nothing turning into something is a concept of creation that goes beyond what science can handle: a non-material Creator is necessary.â
Philosophy and theology respond to this, he said, âbut the details about the beginning are not told to us by the faith nor should they be taken from Genesis, which,â he noted, is ânot an astronomy text.â
âTo deny the beginning is unscientific and to say that the universe exists âbecause it doesâ is ridiculous and naÃ¯ve,â Fr. Carreira underscored.