It happened on FEBRUARY 26


Going by the date on the decree from the Holy Office, at the time headed by Cardinal Robert Bellarmino, Galileo Galilei was formally asked to teach heliocentrism only ex suppositione (that is, as a mathematical hypothesis) rather than as the actual cosmological reality, in the absence of proof that could demonstrate it. Galileo obeyed but remained convinced that heliocentrism represented the true state of things.


Father Angelo Secchi died in Rome. He was a Jesuit priest and astronomer. Formed in England and the United States, in 1849 he assumed direction of the Observatory at the Roman College in Rome. With Pietro Tacchini and Lorenzo Respighi, he founded the Society of Italian Spectroscopists from which came to be formed the present day Italian Astronomical Society. It was through them that the path from astronomy to astrophysics was laid. Secchi made the first spectral classification of the stars. With his popularization and scientific writings, he contributed to the development of a Christian-inspired dimension of science in the midst of a strongly anti-Catholic moment in history, for which he personally paid the price.

Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science

The Encyclopedia, published by the Centro di Documentazione Interdisciplinare di Scienza e Fede operating at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, provides new, scholarly articles in the rapidly growing international field of Religion and Science (ISSN: 2037-2329).

Anthology and Documents

In order to make some relevant documents better known in the scientific community, the section provides key materials for study and reflection concerning the dialogue among science, philosophy, and theology.