Roger Harty: Galileo Galilei – An All-Time Hero

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rsz_roger_hartyGalileo Galilei (15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642), was an Italian astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher, and mathematician who played a major role in the scientific revolution during the Renaissance.

It would be easy to write an article on the life of  Galileo, but in fairness there is so much information on Google and YouTube that there is very little that I could add to what is already available.

The point of this article really is why I believe he should be regarded as an all-time hero and in fact should be considered for canonisation as a saint (how about a sainthood for anti-bullying?).

It is not even what he discovered as a scientist it is more significant in my eyes how he defended the truth even in the midst of great adversity and also for withstanding the possibility of ex-communication from the Church and even death.

It is important to put this in context as 500 years ago the Catholic Church was a much more powerful institution than it is now (the Inquisition! – need I say more). Now that power is extremely useful if used properly but can be equally as destructive if not put to good use.

The Church felt under threat from the Protestant reformation and from such leaders as Martin Luther and John Calvin.

It was in this environment that Galileo determined that the earth was not the centre of the universe ( Geocentric law – as proposed by Aristotle, the Catholic Church also known as the Ptolemaic theory ) but in fact the sun was and that the earth revolved around the sun (Heliocentric theory – also influenced by Nicholas Copernicus, a Polish astronomer).

In simple terms – the earth is round instead of flat!!

For simply expressing his views, Galileo found himself in deep water with the Church in 1633 – By the end of his trial, Galileo was forced (by the Church inquisition) to recant his own scientific findings as “abjured, cursed and detested,” a renunciation that caused him great personal anguish but which saved him from being burned at the stake.

It took nearly 350 years for the Church to finally admit that Galileo was correct in his findings  that the earth was round.

In 1822 in Rome, The College of Cardinals finally concurred that the Heliocentric theory as proposed by Galileo was correct.

Finally in 1992 The Vatican saw it fit to issue a formal apology to Galileo by Pope John Paul II.

More than 350 years after the Roman Catholic Church condemned Galileo, Pope John Paul II  rectified one of the Church’s most infamous wrongs.

As an aside, the most important fact is not that Galileo was right or that the Catholic Church was wrong but the fact that the world is round – that is the truth.

You might well ask – what in God’s name has all of this got to do with Life Coaching? Well the answer to all recovery (Whether it be institutional or personal) is to base that recovery on Truth – not fallacy.

“An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie for an excuse is a lie guarded” – Pope John Paul II

Next week I am going to write about – The importance of Self Esteem

• Roger Harty is a life coach and can be contacted on 087-6128336, on twitter at @Innerjoyz1 or by email

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