Galileo: Science, Faith, and the Catholic Church

Vatican Observatory
(8 customer reviews)
Includes Free Study Guide

Galileo: Science, Faith, and the Catholic Church

Vatican Observatory
(8 customer reviews)
Includes Free Study Guide

What can Galileo’s extraordinary life and profound legacy teach us today?

Galileo’s story is a touchstone in debates about science and religion, but our preconceptions inevitably color the way we see the issues. To understand who Galileo was, what he accomplished, and what you can learn from his triumphs and failures, you need a great teacher to place him in context by exploring the cosmologies, political and religious and historical events, and famous people of his generation. You also need to get a sense of the man himself: from his family background and early ambitions to the person he grew into as he became a father, rising celebrity, literary lion, and ultimately an infirm but unbroken old man.

In Galileo: Science, Faith, and the Catholic Church

What can Galileo’s extraordinary life and profound legacy teach us today?

Galileo’s story is a touchstone in debates about science and religion, but our preconceptions inevitably color the way we see the issues. To understand who Galileo was, what he accomplished, and what you can learn from his triumphs and failures, you need a great teacher to place him in context by exploring the cosmologies, political and religious and historical events, and famous people of his generation. You also need to get a sense of the man himself: from his family background and early ambitions to the person he grew into as he became a father, rising celebrity, literary lion, and ultimately an infirm but unbroken old man.

In Galileo: Science, Faith, and the Catholic Church, you will explore the context and implications of the Galileo affair—the events that culminated in his condemnation by the Roman Catholic Church. You can take no better guide than Dr. Guy Consolmagno, a renowned astronomer, Jesuit brother, and popular writer.

The Galileo affair resonates with our own times. Although the debate about an earth or sun-centered universe is long past, the ways we react to new ideas hasn’t changed at all. All of the hopes, fears, and misunderstandings that surrounded Galileo and his opponents, we still face today in our encounters with science and religion.

By spending time with Galileo and his story, you will enrich your own faith and increase your understanding of science and religion.

Learn about downloadable programs.

Your Free Electronic Study Guide! When you order this course, we will send you a free electronic study guide that you can access in 3 convenient ways:

1) You can check your order confirmation email. It will include a link that enables you to download your guide.
2) The back of your program package also contains a copy of this link. You can access your guide by simply entering this URL into your browser.
3) Your case of CDs or DVDs will contain a copy of your electronic guide on CD. Simply insert this disc into your computer’s CD/DVD drive to access your guide.

$119.95$209.95

  • The Galileo Problem
  • The Discarded Image
  • Galileo’s Life
  • Galileo’s Times
  • Protestants and Catholics, Jesuits and Dominicans
  • Galileo Triumphant
  • Galileo on Trial
  • Galileo and the Thirty Years’ War
  • Galileo and the Change in Science
  • After Galileo
  • Galileo Today
  • The Galileo Mysteries

Dr. Guy Consolmagno, S.J., is Director of the Vatican Observatory, a leading astronomer and meteoriticist, and a Jesuit brother. He earned undergraduate and master’s degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona. Before entering the Jesuits in 1989, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard and MIT, served in the US Peace Corps, and taught university physics at Lafayette College. He has worked as a Vatican Observatory astronomer since 1993.

Br. Consolmagno’s research explores connections between meteorites, asteroids, and the evolution of small solar system bodies. The author of a monthly science column for The Tablet, he has written more than 200 scientific publications and a number of popular books, including Turn Left at Orion (with Dan Davis), and Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? (with Paul Mueller). He has also hosted science programs for BBC Radio 4, appeared in numerous documentary films, and served as chair of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences. In 2000, the small bodies nomenclature committee of the International Astronomical Union named an asteroid, 4597 Consolmagno, in recognition of his work. In 2014, he was awarded the Carl Sagan Medal for public outreach by the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences.

 Praise for Guy Consolmagno

Br. Guy Consolmagno is a gifted scientist, writer, and leader in helping people bridge their scientific and religious understandings of the cosmos. An engaging and entertaining speaker, Br. Guy has a rare talent for communicating abstract concepts to public audiences with remarkable clarity.”
– Dr. Grace Wolf-Chase, Astronomer, Adler Planetarium

 “Guy Consolmagno’s presentations are gems. Here is an accomplished scientist with strong interests in science’s history and in communicating science to a diverse public audience — he communicates skillfully to science enthusiasts but also humbly to those who have religious or cultural apprehensions regarding science.”
– Prof. Christopher M. Graney, Author of Setting Aside All Authority: Giovanni Battista Riccioli and the Science against Copernicus in the Age of Galileo

 “Br. Guy puts the lie to the post-modern canard that science is the replacement for religion, that one must choose between one's profession and one’s faith. He does this with humor, wisdom, and deep knowledge.”
– Jonathan Lunine, David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Sciences, Cornell University

 “Brother Guy Consolmagno combines an active research career in planetary astronomy with a strong sense of history. He also inspires amateur astronomers the world over, and instructs a wide audience of armchair astronomers through his accessible popular books. He is a voice of authority and a source of enthusiasm for science.”
— Dava Sobel, Author of Galileo’s Daughter

8 reviews for Galileo: Science, Faith, and the Catholic Church

  1. Mark

    Broad overview, but with significant holes

    Br. Consolmagno’s presentations covered a wide range of the Galileo controversy and included many details about his life and times that shed much light on the situation. He also presented the material well and was generally easy to follow. This is a good overview for those unfamiliar with the details of the Galileo controversy.

    I felt, however, there were some significant issues that were passed over or neglected or were otherwise not given adequate attention. First, the controversy is portrayed as between the Church and Galileo. In actuality, the controversy was as much between Galileo and the current scientific community as between Galileo and the Church. The Church, in fact, was upholding the current scientific consensus as much as it was upholding traditional biblical interpretations. The heat of the debate between the various scientists of the time regarding heliocentrism was not covered well in my opinion. Nor was the significant fact pointed out that the idea of heliocentrism as described by Galileo was simply wrong. The universe does not revolve around the Sun any more than it revolves around the Earth, nor were the major points of evidence presented by Galileo in defense of his teaching correct.

    Secondly, Consolmagno did not address the issue of science encroaching upon religion. The presentation of the Galileo controversy often focuses upon religion imposing its views upon science, whereas one of the major concerns of the Church was that Galileo, as a scientist, was insisting the Church change its interpretation of Sacred Scripture based on nothing more than his highly questionable evidence. In other words, Galileo the scientist was pontificating in academic areas outside his field of competence.

    These two concerns stood out for me because I purchased the presentations specifically because I was hoping he would address these issues in detail. Otherwise, I enjoyed the presentations very much.

  2. David

    The Galileo series was scholarly, balanced and had a touch of humor

    The Galileo series was scholarly, balanced, had a touch of humor and presented, appropriately, the complexity of Galileo and the Church in historical context.

  3. Robert

    It was refreshing to hear an objective voice on the subject.

    I’ve heard so much falsehood over the years about the supposed conflict between science and religion. It was refreshing to hear an objective voice on the subject without an ax to grind.

  4. Carlos

    Excellent course!

    Excellent course! One learns not only about Galileo´s life, but also about the way science, history, and the Church work.

  5. Fr. Frank

    I very much appreciated the time that was taken to portray the “times” of Galileo.

    The “Galileo” CD gave a very good insight into the environment in which the controversy took place and why it played out the way it did. I very much appreciated the time that was taken to portray the “times” of Galileo.

  6. Robert

    Amazing and engaging speaker

    Amazing and engaging speaker. Learned a great deal that was totally new to me.

  7. Martha

    Worth reviewing

    This is worth reviewing occasionally to arm us with some answers to questions we may have or others who might offer to challenge the interdependence of faith and science.

  8. Marianne

    Easy to understand

    Guy is a very good teacher. Even when explaining esoteric content, he makes it easy to understand. Every high school religion and science teacher should have both of Guy’s courses in his or her school.

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