Bloggers on Bruno on Cosmos

When I watched the first episode of the Cosmos reboot, I wondered how defensive Catholics would take the treatment of Giordano Bruno. I noticed a bit of spout and fussing at a few Patheos sites. But I think Becky Ferreira had the most balanced commentary here.

But the truth is that Bruno’s scientific theories weren’t what got him killed. Sure, his refusal to recant his belief in a plurality of worlds contributed to his sentence. But it’s important to note that the Catholic Church didn’t even have an official position on the heliocentric universe in 1600, and support for it was not considered heresy during Bruno’s trial.

If churchmen were concerned about Galileo in the 1610’s, it might have been more a case akin to Liturgiam Authenticam. Think 1998, when MR2 was deep-sixed, and only a few years later the theological reasoning behind the shutdown was written up, post facto.

That said, we probably need our own documentary maker (Robert Barron, anyone?) to make the case for the Church supporting the search for truth. There is a strong case to be made, I believe. But like Giordano Bruno, it’s hard to peg institutional Catholicism into any single description.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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2 Responses to Bloggers on Bruno on Cosmos

  1. Honestly Todd, I had my own fussy issues about it. For example, I was formed by Dominicans, so I was a bit upset – that seems too strong a word – about the common-enough friar-monk mix up.

    The Bruno thing was glaring to me however. Honestly, I know that Neil de Grasse Tyson is not doing his own research, but there should be some level of fact checking about it The literal “cartooning” of the Church also had me irritated.

    All that said, I’m not sure that I would choose Robert Barron, but there must be someone out there. Maybe the Paulists?

  2. Todd says:

    Thanks for your perspective, Fran. I do remember the writers being rather hamfisted on the Dominicans, too. I confess I found that part of the program rather weak compared to segments 1 and 3. The cartoony thing seemed to go on way too long. I never watched the original when it came out–didn’t own a tv until 1994. I think Carl Sagan did something on Hypatia of Alexandria, but botched the burning of the library then.

    What about the Paulists? Sure. Do they do video these days? There was that nifty video the Dominicans did on “Come My Way.” Not really documentary stuff, though.

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