Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Holy Catholic Church is the Guardian of Science?

Every day in my ministry as a mission preacher for the New Evangelization, I meet the most amazing people.

Last evening, I had dinner with the producers of the very interesting movie called The Principle. Wow, what a powerful little movie.  I haven't been able to shake the feeling that these guys are on to something very big.

And with that, I can only say, that if indeed, science proves that the earth is at the centre of the universe, then holy cow, friends, that will call into question the whole shooting match … the Enlightment and everything with it!

So you should try to support this movie.

By happy coincidence, my homily for January 9th is nothing less then a big muscular shout that the Church is the Mother of the Scientific method.

Here is my little contribution to a more self-confident Catholicism!

The royal highway of the Magi, the glorious feast of the Epiphany embraces the Gentiles, (the non-Jewish people) into the Covenant of Abraham. It also reveals that the Holy Church is not opposed to science, that body of knowledge which studies the laws of creation. Instead, I argue that the feast of the Epiphany is a celebration of the Church as the mother of scientific method.

Did an athiest just spew coffee at his computer monitor? I thought I felt something hot hit my face.

No really, I really believe that the Catholic Church is the mother of the scientific method ... since no other culture, or peoples other then Christendom arrived at the scientific method.

In the splendor of the Eternal Word made flesh, and the revealed dignity of each human being made in the image and likeness of God, there is a soaring confession that the human creature is an invaluable work of art, and that each individual is patterned on the Logos, the Word.

And this foundation leads to investigation, to searching, to experiments ... to know more, to evaluate the order of creation.

The Eygptians built the pyramids, the Moslems conquered countries, and the Far East devolved into enbattled kingdoms. As great and praiseworthy their accomplishments were, they eventually settled with their answers, stagnated and collapsed.

However, the Church offered an unflinching quest for truth. This passion flowed from the religious conviction that all creation was created by an all powerful, providential Father, who arranged everything for the love of His creatures. And to that, the Word became flesh, and dwelt within His creation, thus ordering it to the summit of a divine indwelling.

It is even more true then you realize, wisemen still seek Him!


  1. Thanks Father! Shared on my Facebook page.

  2. Father, I like your "big muscular shout"!

    Unlike Rick, I think that it is not possible for us to prove by science that the Earth is (or is not) the center of the universe, just as it is not possible for us by science to prove that the electron exists (or doesn't exist). So far as theories are concerned, the only thing that science can prove is that one or another theory is false. This happens whenever a theory fails to save appearances. There will be many future theories of all kinds. Following Pope Urban VIII's point against Galileo, I note that God in His omnipotence could make things so that the Earth be not actually at the center of the universe even if the Earth appeared to us as though it be at the center.

    To *know* that the Earth is the center of the universe would require divine revelation, I think. In any event, I am not opposed to the idea.

    I'm happy that you folks had a nice meeting. There's been too much nastiness in the debate over this on both sides.

    1. Thank you Thomas, we agree that the nastiness has really been quite excessive, and frankly cannot fathom the degree of malice our project seems to have engendered in the Blogisterium.

      I also agree that "center" involves a relationship to perimeter and/or distribution of mass; we may not be able to determine either by means of scientific observation.

      The Copernican Principle is quite explicit, however, in postulating that Earth cannot be in any *special* location wrt large scale structure in the cosmos.

      That, I think, *can* be observationally tested.

      While there are differing opinions as to whether existing observations actually falsify the Copernican Principle, it is certainly the case that very prominent, very serious cosmologists such as George Ellis have been saying for years that observations now require a serious attempt to test, rather than merely assume, the CP.

      Of course, the Planck confirmation of the CMB Axis is a very big deal in that regard, although I must say that it is essentially *never* reported in the pop science press that this special direction in space is not joust any old direction: it is oriented with the ecliptic and equinoxes of Earth.

      We are, it seems to me, clearly on the verge of a paradigm shift in how we view our place in the cosmos. "The Principle" brings this information to the attention of the stakeholders; you know, the Tom Dick and Harrys who actually *pay* for all this stuff.

  3. Hi Father, Thomas, and Rick,

    Challenging the Copernican principle might be controversial in some quarters, but isn't problematic by itself IMO. I actually don't think that there would any controversy in Catholic circles over just that. I think the difficulties start when certain individuals claim that the Church teaches a strict geocentrism, with an immobile earth at the center of the whole universe, as a matter of faith. That assertion, combined with the whole panoply of special pleading and conspiracy theories that go toward propping up such a notion, are problematic IMO.

    As Karl Keating recently wrote on his Facebook page: "I noted the real cause for concern: not that some people will subscribe to an erroneous astronomical theory but that those pushing that theory are claiming that Scripture and Tradition (particularly in the form of the Fathers of the Church) demand that loyal Catholics subscribe to that theory.” I would add that the view that the Church herself has for over three centuries been derelict in her duty to teach the supposedly revealed truth of geocentrism can do nothing but undermine the faithfuls' trust in the integrity of the Magisterium.

    I invite you to check out my web site: It's going to get a facelift in a few days, so check back a little later too! ;o)

    God bless,


    1. Why do I have to dig through a mile of "discredits" at your web site? That's not scientific. Your headline claims to "debunk" geocentrism. Please. Just debunk it. Have some consideration for the reader's time.

    2. David:

      I must object to your obstinate mischaracterization of what you well know I have stated both to you personally, and repeatedly on other websites.

      It is ridiculous to deny that the Church taught ands enforced geocentrism; any literate English speaker will notice that this is the case by a review of the papal sentence against Galileo.

      The question is, was the Church wrong?

      The answer is: No. She was not wrong. No demonstration of a motion of the Earth around the Sun has ever been obtained.

      If Relativity is true, no such demonstration is possible.

      The anomalous case of the abandonment de facto of this teaching requires, in my view, a charitable assumption that a liberty of conscience exists for sincere Catholics seeking to hold and profess the Catholic Faith on this matter.

      I insist that you cease misrepresenting me on this.

      Thank you; I found Bob's response to you on Joshua 10 quite effective, and will await your reply with interest.

      The calibre of this debate could seriously benefit from a cessation of willful mischaracterizations of the positions involved.

    3. Rick, you've said many things that could be challenged, but I’m a guest here and don’t want to turn this into a free-for-all. But I do renew my invitation for a formal, on-line debate on the resolution: “The Catholic Church does not teach an immobile earth at the center of the universe to the faithful as a matter of divine revelation.” I’ll take the affirmative. Won’t you guys debate me on this?

      I'm glad you're admitting that your contention that the Church has abandoned one of her teachings is "anomalous". I have shown that in every counter-example you and Bob have proposed, the Church has continued teaching that doctrine right up to this day. Rick, I submit that this shows that the Church does *not* abandon her teachings. She teaches 100% of her doctrines, even in these difficult times. IMO, your position not only undermines the trust the faithful should have in the integrity of the Magisterium, but runs you smack into a real dogma of the Church, her indefectibility.

      I’m not sure what my alleged misrepresentation is. Sungenis wrote just a few days ago on Karl Keating’s FB page that, "What is required is that Catholics *understand and teach* that geocentrism was officially taught by the Church". In your article to me you insisted that the 1633 decree represents a, "papal sentence officially defining and condemning an heresy” and that a strict geocentrism represents part of the Church's "*crucial* teachings". Sungenis wrote in GWW that, "*anyone* who would adopt heliocentrism would automatically open themselves up to the judgment of formal heresy, based on this 1633 sentence" and “The 1633 Holy Office’s decision stated that *any cosmology* that claims the sun is fixed or the Earth moves is *formally heretical* and erroneous in faith”.

      You both expend great effort telling us how very important this issue is. It lies at the very heart of modernity. You insist that the Church was perfectly clear in allegedly condemning any other cosmological view as a "formal heresy". And you know your theology well enough to know that heresy is poison to the souls of the faithful.

      But then you turn around and say that, because the Church has been so derelict in her duty that for centuries she has failed to teach this “doctrine” or warn the faithful away from “formal heresy”, there’s “liberty of conscience” on the matter. But where has the Church ever used *that* phrase with respect to her doctrines? I think what has happened is that you’ve recognized that the hard line isn't selling in Peoria, so you’ve tried to soften it.

      The problem is that it’s no passive “failing” on the part of the Church. Quite the opposite. The Holy Office issued a ruling (signed by the Pope, with penalties attached) that non-geocentric views *must* be allowed to be published. A papal encyclical presented the centrality of the earth as a matter of doctrinal indifference. And Popes Leo XIII and Pius XII officially enshrined the very hermeneutical principles espoused by Galileo (and Sts. Augustine and Thomas, of course) and laid out rules of interpretation that fit the geocentrism controversy to a tee.

      This "formal heresy" has been openly taught in the Church, is believed by the overwhelming majority of the Catholics of the world, and the Magisterium has given the faithful not one hint that there is any problem in believing this allegedly dangerous, "formal heresy".

      Basically, Rick, I don’t think you can have it both ways. You can’t play up the importance of this “doctrine” and claim that its denial has been clearly condemned as “formal heresy”, while at the same time having to acknowledge that the Church has not just passively but actively promoted the understanding that geocentrism is *not* a doctrinal matter, and then claim that there is some sort of “liberty of conscience” on the matter. There is no liberty of conscience with respect to the Church’s teachings.

      I do think you’ll find my upcoming response on Joshua 10 to be interesting.

    4. David:

      You say "The Holy Office issued a ruling (signed by the Pope, with penalties attached) that non-geocentric views *must* be allowed to be published."

      You neglect to say: "The Holy Office issued a ruling (signed by the Pope, with penalties attached) that non-geocentric views *must not* be allowed to be published."

      It is precisely this that is anomalous.

      It is because this anomaly has never been resolved, either ecclesially, *or scientifically*, that "The Principle" is by far the coolest, most interesting, and yes, the most dangerous film you will see this year.

      Looking forward to your Joshua 10 response.

    5. Hey Rick, it seems to me that your “anomaly” isn’t real, it just appears so to a few. Let's suppose, for example, that the 1633 decree really was a doctrinal document, rather than a disciplinary one. Let’s suppose that it was a doctrinal definition, rather than the outcome of a canonical trial of an individual Catholic. Let’s suppose that it really was a papal document, rather than coming from a Roman congregation. Let’s say that it really was approved by the pope in forma specifica (explicitly), rather than merely in forma communi (implicitly). Let’s suppose that it really did define Copernicanism as a formal heresy. And let’s even suppose that this decree really was sent by the pope to the bishops of the Catholic Church in order to serve as a doctrinal norm for the whole Church.

      As I showed in "Geocentrism and Strict Canonical Interpretation" ( none of those conditions actually hold with respect to the 1633 decree. But even if each and every one of them did hold, if we read that decree strictly according to the Catholic Church’s own perennial standards of canonical interpretation, the most that could be said is that the decree committed the Church to condemning Copernicanism *as a unity*, with *both* an immobile sun at the center of the universe *and* a mobile earth. But strict Copernicanism is held by no one and never will be again. And since it must be applied strictly, there is no canonical warrant for it to be applied to any cosmological view other than a strict Copernicanism. More could be said, of course. But that, at least, is why the Holy Office was perfectly free in 1822 to insist that non-geocentric views must be allowed to be published in the Church and why every Catholic is perfectly free to hold non-geocentric views of the universe.

      As I mentioned to Alex below, my new piece is up: "Sungenis Looses What He Has Bound on Joshua 10" ( I hope you find it interesting.

    6. thepalmhq -

      I believe what Rick and Sungenis are getting at and what is demonstrably observable by the behavior of our Church leaders, is that despite the clear teachings of the Church in areas of faith and morality, that these teachings have been 'abandoned' by virtue of refusing to enforce them, refusal to condemn them, refusal to preach them, and adopting positions of silence in favor of positions of 'pastoralism.' The majority of Catholics today use contraceptives, favor homosexual marriage, and the vast majority of them don't even believe the Eucharist is the actual Body and Blood of Christ. Of course many of these aren't of course regular Church-goers, after all, for them there's nothing important about the Eucharist.

      It has been typical of Church leaders, intimidated by the onslaught of secularism from science to sexuality to politics to shrink away in the face of such assaults. So it is not surprising that despite that the Church has condemned Galileo's position as being formally heretical, ordering him to recant, and issuing orders that what he and Copernicus promoted was not to be taught as anything more than an entertaining an opposing hypothesis, much like any other heresy and its positions and arguments could be openly studied and critiqued by academics so as to gauge the truth, for the Church had nothing to be afraid of.

      So in that, there is nothing 'anomalous' going on here. We're witnessing nothing more than the cowardice and lack of faith by the members of the Church intimidated by the sophistry of modernists and liberals. From science to sexuality to politics, our Churchmen became increasingly silent on every topic, from Geocentrism to 6 day instantaneous Creation to Contraceptives to the Eucharist to homosexuality etc etc. and overtime ignorance builds amongst the general Catholic populace who have been led into error. So overtime it is easy to see why the Church could lose touch with many truths and likewise the majority of Catholics couldn't even tell you why only men can be priests nor what the Immaculate Conception refers to. This is thanks to poor instruction, no sermons, no family instruction, and also due to the efforts of heretical clergymen and theologians themselves.

    7. But as others who've studied the Galileo affair concluded, the Church condemned Galileo for more than just poor scientific arguments, and more than just to rightfully preserve the constant teaching Traditions of the Church Fathers. The Popes and Inquisition of the 16th century saw prophetically what the seeds of this 'revolution' would produce in the minds of godless men, who used heliocentrism to attack the Church, to advance Protestantism and then the Enlightenment, and further erode in the minds of men the authority of the Church and replace it with their own vain thinking and interpretation. If the Church Fathers, who are held to be inerrant when they are in a consensus about interpreting Scripture are wrong about the movements of the celestial bodies, then perhaps they are wrong about many other interpretations from Mary's perpetual virginity to the Eucharist, and therefore the Church's Tradition is destroyed, because the Catholic Church relies on what has always been taught and held by the Christians since the time of Christ's Ascension. We use the Fathers to show continuity. If the Fathers have been wrong about this, then perhaps they are wrong about a great many other things, and thus the Protestants have suitable grounds to deny the authority of the Catholic Church and the Pope.

      Furthermore, as Christ said that by ones fruits we should know what it is, we have Relativity to thank for the current climate of moral relativism because apparently no one can tell what is going up, down, left, right or wrong anymore and it's all a matter of perspective. If one does not understand Earthly things, then the Heavenly things are likewise lost. It has never been in the character of God to be deceptive or illusive, neither in the things He says, nor in the things He creates. Experimental evidence indicates that the Earth does not move at 30km/sec around the Sun. If that is so, then everything else must therefore revolve around it if we are to make sense of what we observe, and this therefore couldn't occur by random chance. But like the atheists, one is free to grasp at other straws or invent an entirely new kool-aid producing apparatus to preserve ones religious worldview, no matter how farfetched.

    8. Jonathan, your two replies above encapulate and illustrate the things that concern me most about the new geocentrism. I want to reiterate that there’s a stark difference between what I'm saying and what Sungenis, Rick and now you are saying.

      These are difficult and even confusing times in some ways, everyone can agree on that. But what I am saying is that even during difficult times, the Magisterium has never stopped teaching her solemn doctrines. Period.

      In every counter-example that you new geocentrists cite -- contraception, biblical inerrancy, usury, etc. -- I have shown that the Magisterium continues explicitly to teach those things right up to the present day. I rejoice and take great comfort in that fact. It should make every Cathlic's heart glad that the Church continues to teach even the hard teachings. I’m sure you know that many converts have been made from that fact alone.

      But you can make no such claim about geocentrism. It is in a totally different category. There is not a single valid parallel for what you are claiming in this case, that the Church simply stopped teaching for almost 4 centuries something that she allegedly formerly advanced as solemn doctrine. There is a simple reason that you can’t find a single valid parallel. It’s because the Church does not stop teaching her solemn doctrines!

      That is a problem you need to face squarely.

      What's more, you claim that non-geocentric views have been clearly condemned as "formal heresy". Please carefully consider the implications of that claim. You are saying that for the last many decades, indeed for centuries, all of the bishops and the popes themselves have been at least complicit in allowing and even *promoting* the spread of this supposed heresy and have been at least material heretics themselves. Official, magisterial acts of the Church have actively promoted the spread of this supposed "formal heresy".

      You fellows go to great lengths to play up the supposed importance of geocentrism. You continue to insist that its denial is a veritable cancer that will gut the entire Christian message. You insist that it’s through weakness, malfeasance, and cowardice that the Magisterium of the Church has ceased for centuries to teach one of her solemn doctrines.

      Ironically, by so doing, you’re all running headlong into a violation of a **real** dogma of our Faith, the indefectibility of the Church.

      Surely, a sound Catholic mindset would immediately reject such extreme claims as you are making. This is especially true since there are other explanations, grounded in the Church's own perennial standards of canonical interpretation, that sweep away these extreme and ultimately self-defeating claims.

  4. Hey Hugh, thanks for the feedback. The matter of credibility carries different weight with different people. Many people, when confronted with sweeping, multi-disciplinary revisionist claims, want to see evidence of genuine competency and an established credibility before they give the claims further credence. But those who don't find such information useful or interesting are free to click past that section. And as I mentioned, the site is getting a facelift, so check back in a few days and see if you like that better.

    1. You are probably already aware of this, but for the sake of others reading this, the "Galileo Was Wrong" site now offers "Phase 1" of its response to your so-called "debunking" website:
      I look forward to reading your responses to these rebuttals.

    2. Thanks, Alex. Yes, I had seen Bob's reply. And thanks for your interest in my own response -- I'll let you know when it's up. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. I love this line from Dr. Robert Sungenis' "Debunking David Palm, Phase 1":
    "It is precisely this kind of hypocrisy in dealing with biblical revelation that makes liberal Catholics a laughingstock among the world’s atheists and agnostics. The atheists know what the Bible says, but refuse to believe it. Liberal Catholics also know what the Bible says, but seek to skirt around its language with ad hoc theories."

    1. Alex, I've just posted my reply to Bob, "Sungenis Looses What He Has Bound on Joshua 10". I hope you find it interesting and useful:

    2. David:

      The theologians of the time including Bellarmine saw Joshua 10 as very significant in this regards. I think you are glossing over the logical inconsistencies. I do not think you necessarily need to find a physical explanation for the stopping, but you need a logical explanation as to why the sun stopped and the moon stopped, and there are physical significances and differences for each of these that need to be considered. To just accept it as a miracle and go on with your life is fine. But to claim that no further understanding is possible because it does not support your case is shameful. The universe stopping is possible, sure, but the Holy Spirit would have directed the writer to say this, not the sun stopped and the moon stopped (or the earth stopped, which is where most heliocentrists start).

    3. Mark, I showed that those scientific details you imagine simply don’t exist in Scripture or the Fathers. So you’re going to have to make your case from science alone. I understand that you’re heavily invested in geocentrism, but I urge you to step back and think. In the process of condemning me as “shameful” for holding that 1) neither Joshua 10 nor the Fathers commentary on it teaches us something about the essential nature of the visible universe and 2) the Holy Spirit inspired the sacred writer to use figurative language that described matters as they appeared to the human eye, you’re likewise condemning Providentissimus Deus and Pope Leo XIII:

      "[T]he Holy Ghost “Who spoke by [the writers of Scripture], **did not intend to teach men these things (that is to say, the essential nature of the things of the visible universe)**, things in no way profitable unto salvation.” Hence they did not seek to penetrate the secrets of nature, but rather described and dealt with things in more or less figurative language, or in terms which were commonly used at the time, and which in many instances are in daily use at this day, even by the most eminent men of science" (Providentissimus Deus §18).

    4. There's more in the larger context of this passage of Providentissimus Deus that ties directly in to what we're discussing--namely, phenomenological language (the language of how things appear to human beings) and accommodation to the ordinary speech of men, rather than scientifically precise verbiage--so here's a longer citation:

      "[W]e must remember, first, that the sacred writers, or to speak more accurately, the Holy Ghost “Who spoke by them, did not intend to teach men these things (that is to say, the essential nature of the things of the visible universe), things in no way profitable unto salvation.” Hence they did not seek to penetrate the secrets of nature, but rather described and dealt with things in more or less figurative language, or in terms which were commonly used at the time, and which in many instances are in daily use at this day, even by the most eminent men of science. Ordinary speech primarily and properly describes what comes under the senses; and somewhat in the same way the sacred writers-as the Angelic Doctor also reminds us – `went by what sensibly appeared,” or put down what God, speaking to men, signified, in the way men could understand and were accustomed to."

      This contradicts your assertions about what, "the Holy Spirit would have directed the writer to say".

    5. thepalmhq -

      With regard to 'Providentissimus Deus', it doesn't really make any case other than to say that yes, Scripture does contain phenomenological and poetic language or that the Fathers 'MAY' read into Scripture the ideas of their day, which also applies to us and our potential follies in our day. Pope Leo however never proclaims that everything is phenomenological language (which would be absurd), nor does Pope Leo provide a list of examples that need to be understood that way. Certainly not with regards to Joshua. Pope Leo is only speaking generally. So how do you know that Joshua 10 does not explicitly teach us something real about the Sun and Moon? The only reason to doubt that it doesn't is because you wish to accomodate heliocentrism and synthesize it with Joshua 10 because you have already adopted the position of the Heliocentrists. But given that heliocentrism with respect to the Earth is not proven, and experimental evidence fails to measure the Earth's supposed 30 km/sec movement around the Sun suggests that it is false, then there is no reason to interpret Joshua 10 as being phenomenological other than because of ones prior commitment to an unproven view of the Universe. Otherwise we are obligated to read Scripture in the literal sense and not to depart from it. And especially to hold the consensus of the Church Father's interpretations as correctly preserving the traditional sense of it; something the Church already ruled authoritatively on when it condemned Galileo's positions of the Earth moving and of interpreting Scripture contrary to the Fathers as being formally heretical. This is because Joshua 10 was not interpreted in a vacuum, but is also supported by others such as Job which declares the Earth does not move except internally in the form of earthquakes, and relating the Earth's stability to a God who does not change and it always faithful, and all this together accumulatively contributes to the Jews and the Father's understanding of the cosmos and why God's creation is geocentric.

    6. Jonathan, regarding Leo XIII and Providentissimus Deus, the difficulty you face is precisely that the Holy Father spoke "generally". That is, he laid out principles which by their very nature apply broadly. And everybody can see that of all the areas in which there is an apparent conflict between science and revelation (that, of course, is the very topic he's addressing) these principles fit the matter of geocentrism best of all: "[the authors of Scripture] described and dealt with things in more or less figurative language, or in terms which were commonly used at the time, and which in many instances are in daily use at this day, even by the most eminent men of science."

      The burden then is entirely on the geocentrists to justify their numerous attempts to do *exactly the opposite*, to insist that matters pertaining to the "essential nature of the things of the physical universe" are commonly found in Scripture, when two Popes (Leo XIII and Pius XII) have taught that these matters are *not* there at all!

      As we have seen, the exercise becomes all the more ridiculous when the primary passages to which the new geocentrists appeal are poetic or, even more problematic, descriptions of miracles where, as even Bob Sungenis admits, the very laws of nature have been set aside. The only way you could use Joshua 10 to argue for a particular cosmology is if you knew for certain exactly how God accomplished the miracle. But as even Sungenis admits we don't and can't know this.

      And the Fathers cannot derive from sacred Scripture what the Holy Spirit did not put there in the first place, nor do the Fathers provide additional details that they claim are from sacred Tradition. Rather, it is exactly as I argued in "Geocentrism and the Unanimous Consent of the Fathers"; they do not present geocentrism as a matter of divine revelation but rather as a matter of natural philosophy (i.e. science).

      The whole last part of your reply is just private speculation. Neither the Fathers nor the Magisterium support this supposed theological importance of the physical centrality or "stability" of the earth. See for example, "The Fathers Don’t Support an Immobile Earth" at


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