Galileo’s support of a heliocentric theory (the planets revolved around the sun) was seen by the Roman Catholic Church as contradicting various scriptural passages.
In 1616, Galileo first defended himself against the Church. Galileo was ordered not to “hold or defend” the idea that the Earth moved and the Sun remained stationary at the center. For several years, Galileo was able to discuss heliocentric theory hypothetically without arousing undue ire from the Church.
In 1632, Galileo published Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems with the permission of Pope Urban VII, who had supported Galileo in the earlier conflict (as Cardinal Barberini). Urban had two conditions:
Galileo was to include arguments for both heliocentric and geocentric viewpoints. Urban’s own views on the matter were to be included
Unfortunately, the book turned out to be biased in favor of heliocentrism and the Pope did not appreciate the perceived public ridicule.
Galileo was ordered to stand trial for suspicion of heresy in 1633.
The 1633 hearing did not go as well as the one in 1616, and Galileo was found guilty of heresy. His sentence had three parts: He was required to recant his heliocentric views
He was imprisoned (though this later got commuted to house arrest at his estate near Florence)
His Dialogue was banned, and all other works written by him (or to be written by him) were forbidden, though this latter part was not enforced.
While under house arrest, Galileo wrote Two New Sciences , which outlined his earlier work in kinematics and the strength of materials. This book was praised by both Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein . Galileo died of natural causes in 1642, after having gone blind.
He was reburied at Santa Croce, sacred ground, in 1737. I
n 1741, Pope Benedict XIV authorized publication of Galileo’s complete works. Heliocentrism was formally rescended as heresy in 1758.
It was not until October 31, 1992, that the Church under Pope John Paul II expressed regret over how Galileo had been treated, in response to a Pontifical Council for Culture study.