Haven't we all been told time and time again that Galileo was condemned for proving the heliocentric theory, since the big bad mean ol' Church was anti-science and didn't want people to know the truth? Lol...that's what I was taught, anyway! And you know, I guess people tend to think if something is repeated enough, it must be true! So it's amazing to me when self-proclaimed skeptics buy things like this without even being skeptical about whether or not they have the real story...they've heard the same thing all their lives, so it MUST be true! But I don't blame them, we often don't realize that we've never actually made sure things are true, it's easy to just accept something without checking out the facts, especially when we've heard it repeated dozens of times without question.
Well, the facts are this. It was not the heliocetricism that was the problem, it was Galileo's arrogance and broken promises that got him in trouble.
He was asked to write a fair book portraying both ideas (heliocentricism, geocentricism, and the pope's personal view that perhaps the heavenly bodies move in ways that are not understood on Earth.) Well...he basically wrote the book in a discussion format, with one propenent of geocentrism, one propenent of heliocentrism, and an interested bystander...the person talking about the geocentric view, and stating the Pope's view he named "Simplicius," an obvious insult. Simplicius was portrayed as slow witted and stupid, while the proponent of Heliocentrism was quick witted and clever. The book was completely one-sided, and completely NOT what he promised he would write. This is why he got in trouble, not because he was a propenent of heliocentrism.
It's also interesting to note that there were other scientists (including Kepler) who were openly teaching Heliocentrism with no problem.But all this is in this article, which, by the way, was written by a non-Catholic.
It's really quite clear historically that the Church did not have a problem with science, not in the least, some of the most important scientific discoveries were made by priests and monks. There's no reason to be afraid of science, as it is merely in search of truth. This article puts it best, I think:
The Catholic Church has always taught that "no real disagreement can exist between the theologian and the scientist provided each keeps within his own limits. . . . If nevertheless there is a disagreement . . . it should be remembered that the sacred writers, or more truly ‘the Spirit of God who spoke through them, did not wish to teach men such truths (as the inner structure of visible objects) which do not help anyone to salvation’; and that, for this reason, rather than trying to provide a scientific exposition of nature, they sometimes describe and treat these matters either in a somewhat figurative language or as the common manner of speech those times required, and indeed still requires nowadays in everyday life, even amongst most learned people" (Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus 1.
As the Catechism puts it, "Methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things the of the faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are" (CCC 159). The Catholic Church has no fear of science or scientific discovery.
This same view was also espoused by Cardinal Bellarmini during the Galileo controversy:
"I say that if a real proof be found that the sun is fixed and does not revolve round the earth, but the earth round the sun, then it will be necessary, very carefully, to proceed to the explanation of the passages of Scripture which appear to be contrary, and we should rather say that we have misunderstood these than pronounce that to be false which is demonstrated."
Science and religion are certainly not incompatible, and we shouldn't be afraid to explore both.