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.