Galileo Trial || 1616 Documents*

Table of Contents:

  1. Consultant's Report on Copernicanism (24 February 1616)
  2. Inquisition Minutes (25 February 1616)
  3. Special Injunction (26 February 1616) -- the "injunction"
  4. Inquisition Minutes (3 March 1616)
  5. Decree of the Index (5 March 1616) -- the "Index"
  6. Cardinal Bellarmine's Certificate (26 May1616) -- the "certificate"


Consultant's Report on Copernicanism (24 February 1616)

    Assessment made at the Holy Office, Rome, Wednesday, 24 February 1616, in the presence of the Father Theologians signed below.

    Proposition to be assessed:

    (1) The sun is the center of the world and completely devoid of local motion.

    Assessement: All said that this proposition is foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts many places the sense of Holy Scripture, according to the literal meaning of the words and according to the common interpretation and understanding of the Holy Fathers and the doctors of theology.

    (2) The earth is not the center of the world, nor motionless, but it moves as a whole and also with diurnal motion.

    Assessment: All said that this proposition receives the same judgement in philosophy and that in regard to theological truth it is at least errouneous in faith.

Petrus Lombardus, Archbishop of Armagh.
Fra Hyacintus Petronius, Master of the Sacred Apostolic Palace.
Fra Raphael Riphoz, Master of Theology and Vicar-General of the Domincan Order.
Fra Michelangelo Segizzi, Master of Sacred Theology and Commissary of the Holy Office.
Fra Hieronimus de Casalimaiori, Consultant to the Holy Office.
Fra Thomas de Lemos.
Fra Gregorius Nunnius Coronel.
Benedictus Justinianus, Society of Jesus.
Father Raphael Rastellius, Clerk Regular, Doctor of Theology.
Father Michael of Naples, of the Cassinese Congregation.
Fra Iacobus Tintus, assistant of the Most Reverend Father Commissary of the Holy Office.


Inquisition Minutes (25 February 1616)

    Thursday, 25 February 1616

    The Most Illustrious Lord Cardinal Millini notified the Reverend Fathers Lord Assessor and Lord Commissary of the Holy Office that, after the reporting of the judgment by the Farher Theologians against the propositions of the mathematician Galileo (to the effect that the sun stand still at the center of the world and the earth moves even with the diurnal motion), His Holiness ordered the most Illustrious Lord Cardinal Bellarmine to call Galileo before himself and warn him to abandon these opinions; and if he should refuse to obey, the Father Commissary, in the presence of a notary and witnesses, is to issue him an injunction to abstain completely from teaching or defending this doctrine and opinion or from discussing it; and further, if he should not acquiesce, he is to be imprisoned.


Special Injunction (26 February 1616)

    Friday, the 26th of the same month.

    At the palace of the usual residence of the said Most Illustrious Lord Cardinal Bellarmine and in the chambers of His Most Illustrious Lordship, and fully in the presence of the Reverend Father Michelangelo Segizzi of Lodi, O. P. and Commissary General of the Holy Office, having summoned the above-mentioned Galileo before himself, the same Most Illustrious Lord Cardinal warned Galileo that the above-mentioned opinion was erroneous and that he should abandon it; and thereafter, indeed immediately, before me and witnesses, the Most Illustrious Lord Cardinal himself being also present still, the aforesaid Father Commissary, in the name of His Holiness the Pope and the whole Congregation of the Holy Office, ordered and enjoined the said Galileo, who was himself still present, to abandon completely the above-mentioned opinion that the sun stands still at the center of the world and the earth moves, and henceforth not to hold, teach, or defend it in any way whatever, either orally or in writing; otherwise the Holy Office would start proceedings against him.  The same Galileo acquiesed in this injunction and promised to obey.

    Done in rome at the place mentioned above, in the presence, as witnesses, of the Reverend Badino Nores of Nicosia in the kingdom of Cyprus and Agostino Mongardo from the Abbey of Rose in the diocese of Montepulciano, both belonging to the household of the said Most Illustrious Lord Cardinal.

[not signed by Galileo]


Inquisition Minutes (3 March 1616)

The Most Illustrious Lord Cardinal Bellarmine having given the report that the mathematician Galileo Galilei had acquiesced when warned of the order by the Holy Congregation to abandon the opinion which he held till then, to the effect that the sun stands still at the center of the spheres but the earth is in motion, and the Decree of the Congregation of the Index having been presented, in which were prohibited and suspended, respectively, the writings of Nicolaus Copernicus On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, of Diego de Zuniga On Job, and of the Carmelite Father Paolo Antonio Foscarini, His Holiness ordered that the edict of this suspension and prohibition, respectively, be published by the Master of the Sacred Palace.


Decree of the Index (5 March 1616)

    Decree of the Holy Congregation of the Most Illustrious Lord Cardinals especially charged by his Holiness Pope Paul V and by the Holy Apostolistic See with the Index of books and their licensing, prohibition, correction, and printing in all of Christendom.  To be published everywhere.

    In regard to several books containing various heresies and errors, to prevent the emergence of more serious harm throughout Christendom, the Holy Congregation of the Most Illustrious Lord Cardinals in charge of the Index has decided that they should be altogether condemned and prohibited, as indeed with the present decree it condemns and prohibits them, wherever and in whatever language they are printed or about to be printed.  It orders that henceforth no one, of whatever station or condition, should dare print them, or have them printed, or read them, or have them in one's possession in any way, under penalty specified in the Holy Council of Trent and in the Index of prohibited books; and under the same penalty, whoever is now or will be in the future in possession of them is required to surrender them to ordinaries or to inquisitors, immediately after learning of the present decree.  The books listed below:

    Calvinist Theology (in three parts). . .
    Scotanus Redivivus, or Erotic Commmentary in Three Parts. . .
    Historical Explanation of the Most Serious Question in the Christian Churches Especially in the West,
        from the Time of the Apostles All the Way to Our Age. . .
    Inquiry Concerning the Pre-eminence Among European Provinces. . .
    Donellus's Principles, or Commentaries on Civil Law,. . .

    This Holy Congregation has also learned about the spreading and acceptance by many of the false Pythagorean doctrine, altogether contrary to the Holy Scripture, that the earth moves and the sun is motionless, which is also taught by Nicholaus Copernicus's On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres and by Diego de Zuniga's On Job. This may be seen from a certain letter published by a certain Carmelite Father, whose title is Letter of the Reverend Father Paolo Foscarini, on the Pythagorean and Copernican Opinion of the Earth's Motion and Sun's Rest and on the New Pythagorean World System (Naples: Lazzaro Scoriggio, 1615), in which the said Father tries to show that the above-mentioned doctrine of the sun's rest at the center of the world and the earth's motion is consonant with the truth and does not contradict Holy Scripture.  Therefore, in order that this opinion may not creep any further to the prejudice of Catholic truth, the Congregation has decided that the books by Nicolaus Copernicus (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) and Diego de Zuniga (On Job) be suspended until corrected; but that the book of the Carmelite Father Paolo Antonio Foscarini be completely prohibited and condemned; and that all other books which teach the same be likewise prohibited, according to whether with the present decree it prohibits, condemns, and suspends them respectively.  In witness thereof, this decree has been signed by the hand and stamped with the seal of the Most Illustrious and Reverend Lord Cardinal of St. Cecilia, Bishop of Albano, on 5 March 1616.

P., Bishop of Albano, Cardinal of St. Cecilia.
Fra Franciscus Magdalenus Capiferreus, O. P., Secretary.
Rome, Press of the Apostolic Palace, 1616.


 Cardinal Bellarmine's Certificate (26 May 1616)

    We, Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, have heard tht Mr. Galileo Galilei is being slandered or alleged to have abjured in our hands and also to have been given salutary penances for this.   Having been sought about the truth of the matter, we say that the above-mentioned Galileo has not abjured in our hands, or in the hands of others here in Rome, or anywhere else that we know, any opinion or doctrine of his; nor has he received any penances, salutary or otherwise.  On the contrary, he has only been notified of the declaration made by the Holy Father and published by the Sacred Congregation of the Index, whose content is that the doctrine attributed to Copernicus (that the earth moves around the sun and the sun stands at the center of the world without moving from east to west) is contrary to Holy Scripture and therefore cannot be defended or held.  In witness whereof we have written and signed this with our own hands, on this 26th day of May 1616.

The same mentioned above,
Robert Cardinal Bellarmine.


*Texts from The Galileo Affair: A Documentary History, edited and translated by Maurice A. Finocchiaro (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989); transcribed by Craig Stillwell.


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