Galileo and the Church
Galileo is obvious that he wishes to promote the ideas of Copernicus without condemning or alienating the Church. This is evident from his many references regarding the holiness of the Church, the learned nature of its leaders, and the many truths he believes the scriptures hold. However, he also demonstrates distrust in man’s ability to think beyond the literal teachings of the Bible and formulate ideas about his physical surroundings. Galileo challenges not only the Church but the Grand Duchess to seek truth and study the writings of Copernicus as well as other scholars. An important concept of his case is that he identifies the Grand Duchess as a woman of learning with the ability to comprehend matters beyond the Bible’s literal interpretations.
Galileo is very persuasive. He utilized a few different techniques that could have convinced the Duchess that his theories were accurate. Most importantly he never outright condemned the Church or its teachings. It is notable, in fact, that he made reference to Copernicus’ position as a priest and canon. In this way he circumvents any discussion that he does not respect the men of the Catholic Church or the Grand Duchess’ religion. This gives the opportunity to point out to the Duchess that some religious men have taken advantage of the scriptures and utilize them to disguise and distort truth. He contends that these men hide behind the Bible when they are unable to understand ideas and facts not readily interpreted by the Bible. Also, he urges the Grand Duchess to use caution in condemning either side in the argument and to turn to the holy men who are most capable of understanding the theories of Copernicus for counsel.