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            The reason I feel especially privileged to present this work of Annibale Fantoli is found in the fact that it responds in my opinion in an exemplary way to the wish of John Paul II in his 1979 address on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of Albert Einstein, when he spoke of desiring to establish a commission to restudy the Galileo Affair: I hope that theologians, scholars, and historians, animated by a spirit of sincere collaboration, will study the Galileo case more deeply and in a loyal recognition of wrongs from whatsoever side they came, will dispel the mistrust that still opposes in many minds a fruitful concord between science and faith, between the Church and the world. Fantoli is already well known among Galileo scholars for his extensive volume, originally in Italian: Galileo: For Copernicanism and for the Church. That book is already in its third edition in English and has been translated into Russian, Polish, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Japanese . In fact, the revisions appearing in the third English edition of 2003, many of them quite significant, inspired Fantoli to prepare this new publication, which offers to the general educated public, who are not necessarily Galileo scholars, a clear updated synthesis of the many complex cultural factors that have shaped the history of the Galileo Affair. It is one of the best presentations available to the general public. Fantoli has the rare talent of combining a profound respect for the Church ix Fantoli-00FM_Layout 1 1/19/12 2:34 PM Page ix with an equally deep respect for historical truth; and he does that without assuming an apologetic posture. This talent of his is particularly evident in the final part of this volume where he describes the history following the condemnation of Galileo up to our own times. It is the history of a Church that continues to bear the heavy burden of the Galileo Affair because of its constant preoccupation with saving its good name, while unwilling to accept , without shadowy compromise and veiled formulations, its own responsibility in the affair. We have the good fortune to live in times when the dialogue among science, philosophy, and theology is heartily encouraged. Galileo did not have that good fortune. He had to battle from more than one trench. With the passage of time he has been proved correct. After having been defeated temporarily, he has triumphed, as history has subsequently confirmed, on his own merits on all fronts. It is a tribute to Fantoli to have shown clearly the special significance of this posthumous triumph of Galileo by dramatically showing that, in fact, it was precisely the lack of true dialogue that led to the tragic errors that caused such great suffering to Galileo and so much damage to the Church. Fantoli’s work makes a significant contribution to this much sought after dialogue by teaching us that only humility and a sense of freedom can create in the human spirit the propensity to recognize the truth from whatever side it comes, an essential condition to avoiding future cases such as that of Galileo. George V. Coyne, S.J., Director, Vatican Observatory Castel Gandolfo, Rome, September 2005 x ✦ Presentation Fantoli-00FM_Layout 1 1/19/12 2:34 PM Page x ...


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