Published online by Cambridge University Press: 03 November 2010
Among the most persistent popular misperceptions of Galileo is the image of an irreligious scientist who opposed the Catholic Church and was therefore convicted of heresy–was even excommunicated, according to some accounts, and denied Christian burial. In fact, Galileo considered himself a good Catholic. He accepted the Bible as the true word of God on matters pertaining to salvation, but insisted Scripture did not teach astronomy. Emboldened by his discovery of the Medicean Moons, he took a stand on Biblical exegesis that has since become the official Church position.
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