The admonition of 1616

Galileo Galilei at his trial

Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images (external link)

As early as 4 February 1615 the Dominican priest Niccolò Lorini (1544–1617) had denounced Galileo's theories about the rotation of the Earth as false at the congregation of the Holy Office. Thereupon the congregation declared on 16 February 1616 that the following two assertions by Galileo were to be censured:

  • that the Sun was in the centre of the world […]
  • that the Earth was not in the centre of the world and was also not immobile but moved in a daily rotation […]

Galileo, who had at that time gone to Rome to represent Copernican doctrine, was on 26 February 1616 exhorted by Cardinal Bellarmino to desist from this doctrine and to stop supporting, teaching or in any way disseminating it orally or in writing. In the seventh charge of 1632, the committee accused Galileo of having failed to heed this exhortation.

Roberto Francesco Romolo Bellarmino (1542–1621)

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Cardinal Roberto Francesco Romolo Bellarmino (1542–1621) was a Jesuit, theologian, adviser to the Holy Office and General Inquisitor. He was one of the most important defenders of Roman Catholicism and fought heresies and particularly the Reformation. Even in his youth he had shown an interest in astronomy and formulated a cosmology of liquid heavens that was compatible with the history of creation but that differed from Aristotelian cosmology.