Galileo: Science, Faith, and the Catholic Church

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Galileo: Science, Faith, and the Catholic Church

  • Vatican Observatory
12 Lectures (5 Discs) Including Electronic Study Guide
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What can Galileo’s extraordinary life and profound legacy teach us today?

Galileo's story is a touchstone in debates about science and religion, but our preconceptions inevitably color the way we see the issues. To understand who Galileo was, what he accomplished, and what you can learn from his triumphs and failures, you need a great teacher to place him in context by exploring the cosmologies, political and religious and historical events, and famous people of his generation. You also need to get a sense of the man himself: from his family background and early ambitions to the person he grew into as he became a father, rising celebrity, literary lion, and ultimately an infirm but unbroken old man.

In Galileo: Science, Faith, and the Catholic Church, you will explore the context and implications of the Galileo affair—the events that culminated in his condemnation by the Roman Catholic Church. You can take no better guide than Dr. Guy Consolmagno, a renowned astronomer, Jesuit brother, and popular writer.

The Galileo affair resonates with our own times. Although the debate about an earth or sun-centered universe is long past, the ways we react to new ideas hasn't changed at all. All of the hopes, fears, and misunderstandings that surrounded Galileo and his opponents, we still face today in our encounters with science and religion.

By spending time with Galileo and his story, you will enrich your own faith and increase your understanding of science and religion.

Learn about downloadable programs.

Your Free Electronic Study Guide! When you order this course, we will send you a free electronic study guide that you can access in 3 convenient ways:

1) You can check your order confirmation email. It will include a link that enables you to download your guide.
2) The back of your program package also contains a copy of this link. You can access your guide by simply entering this URL into your browser.
3) Your case of CDs or DVDs will contain a copy of your electronic guide on CD. Simply insert this disc into your computer's CD/DVD drive to access your guide.

Topic Titles
Topic Titles
  • The Galileo Problem
  • The Discarded Image
  • Galileo’s Life
  • Galileo’s Times
  • Protestants and Catholics, Jesuits and Dominicans
  • Galileo Triumphant
  • Galileo on Trial
  • Galileo and the Thirty Years’ War
  • Galileo and the Change in Science
  • After Galileo
  • Galileo Today
  • The Galileo Mysteries
About Your Presenter

Dr. Guy Consolmagno, S.J., is Director of the Vatican Observatory, a leading astronomer and meteoriticist, and a Jesuit brother. He earned undergraduate and master’s degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona. Before entering the Jesuits in 1989, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard and MIT, served in the US Peace Corps, and taught university physics at Lafayette College. He has worked as a Vatican Observatory astronomer since 1993.

Br. Consolmagno’s research explores connections between meteorites, asteroids, and the evolution of small solar system bodies. The author of a monthly science column for The Tablet, he has written more than 200 scientific publications and a number of popular books, including Turn Left at Orion (with Dan Davis), and Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? (with Paul Mueller). He has also hosted science programs for BBC Radio 4, appeared in numerous documentary films, and served as chair of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences. In 2000, the small bodies nomenclature committee of the International Astronomical Union named an asteroid, 4597 Consolmagno, in recognition of his work. In...

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Customer Reviews (0)
Summer 2018 Survey
It treats a topic over which there has been much confusion and myth and brings clarity to the topic.Ed Review by Ed Speegle, Gold River, CA USA (Posted on 7/3/2018)
2018 Spring Survey
The course puts the controversy into perspective. Review by Edward Speegle, Rancho Cordova, CA, USA (Posted on 4/9/2018)
Summer Survey: July 2017
It is an excellent discussion of the compatibility of science and religion. It dispels the myth of the church's rejection of the sun centered universe, and the big bang theory. Review by Ed Speegle, Gold River, California, USA (Posted on 7/22/2017)
Winter Survey: January 2017
Speaker was engaging. Information was largely new to me. Insight was amazing. Speaker managed to connect with practical life Review by Robert Prokop Baltimore, MD (Posted on 1/6/2017)
Winter Survey: January 2017
This is an excellent course that sets the Galileo controversy in perspective. A must for all believers. Review by Ed Speegle, Gold River, CA, USA (Posted on 1/5/2017)
Easy to understand
Guy is a very good teacher. Even when explaining esoteric content, he makes it easy to understand. Every high school religion and science teacher should have both of Guy's courses in his or her school. Review by Marianne (Posted on 10/19/2016)
Fall Survey: October 2016
The historical background provided light on the science and politics surrounding Galileo and the Church. The church embroiled in politics but knew Galileo was right and an honest man was comforting but still inexcusable for what it did and I fear what it continues to do today. It is all too human and of the world. Review by Edward Alten Loveland, Ohio USA (Posted on 10/17/2016)
Amazing and engaging speaker
Amazing and engaging speaker. Learned a great deal that was totally new to me. Review by Robert (Posted on 4/28/2016)
I very much appreciated the time that was taken to portray the "times" of Galileo.
The "Galileo" CD gave a very good insight into the environment in which the controversy took place and why it played out the way it did. I very much appreciated the time that was taken to portray the "times" of Galileo.
Review by Fr. Frank (Posted on 11/23/2015)
Excellent course!
Excellent course! One learns not only about Galileo´s life, but also about the way science, history, and the Church work.
Review by Carlos (Posted on 11/23/2015)
It was refreshing to hear an objective voice on the subject.
I've heard so much falsehood over the years about the supposed conflict between science and religion. It was refreshing to hear an objective voice on the subject without an ax to grind. Review by Robert (Posted on 9/3/2015)
The Galileo series was scholarly, balanced and had a touch of humor
The Galileo series was scholarly, balanced, had a touch of humor and presented, appropriately, the complexity of Galileo and the Church in historical context. Review by David (Posted on 9/3/2015)
Winter Survey: January 2017
Brother Consolmagno places the Galileo controversy in its historical context, and thereby refutes much of the contemporary foolish. His personal life as a religious brother who is a astronomer refutes the foolishness that the Catholic Church is anti-science. Review by Fr. Sinclair Oubre, J.C.L. Port Arthur, Texas USA (Posted on 1/7/2017)
Worth reviewing
This is worth reviewing occasionally to arm us with some answers to questions we may have or others who might offer to challenge the interdependence of faith and science. Review by Martha (Posted on 10/19/2016)
Broad overview, but with significant holes
Br. Consolmagno’s presentations covered a wide range of the Galileo controversy and included many details about his life and times that shed much light on the situation. He also presented the material well and was generally easy to follow. This is a good overview for those unfamiliar with the details of the Galileo controversy.

I felt, however, there were some significant issues that were passed over or neglected or were otherwise not given adequate attention. First, the controversy is portrayed as between the Church and Galileo. In actuality, the controversy was as much between Galileo and the current scientific community as between Galileo and the Church. The Church, in fact, was upholding the current scientific consensus as much as it was upholding traditional biblical interpretations. The heat of the debate between the various scientists of the time regarding heliocentrism was not covered well in my opinion. Nor was the significant fact pointed out that the idea of heliocentrism as described by Galileo was simply wrong. The universe does not revolve around the Sun any more than it revolves around the Earth, nor were the major points of evidence presented by Galileo in defense of his teaching correct.

Secondly, Consolmagno did not address the issue of science encroaching upon religion. The presentation of the Galileo controversy often focuses upon religion imposing its views upon science, whereas one of the major concerns of the Church was that Galileo, as a scientist, was insisting the Church change its interpretation of Sacred Scripture based on nothing more than his highly questionable evidence. In other words, Galileo the scientist was pontificating in academic areas outside his field of competence.

These two concerns stood out for me because I purchased the presentations specifically because I was hoping he would address these issues in detail. Otherwise, I enjoyed the presentations very much.
Review by Mark (Posted on 8/26/2015)
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