The present case is one of the most unpleasant that Roman Catholic controversialists have got to meet, for they cannot but be conscious that the best apologies they can offer are extremely unsatisfactory. They could save themselves all trouble if they would frankly say, 'Our Church made a great mistake two hundred and fifty years ago. She then imagined statements to be heretical which we now know were not only not heretical, but were perfectly true. She is a great deal wiser now.' Perhaps the theory of development may be improved into a form which will allow that confession to be made. But if that time comes, we need dispute no more about the Church's infallibility; the whole claim will then have been given up. Meanwhile we have to consider whether any of the attempts have been successful that have been made to free the Roman Church from the responsibility of mistakes which her rulers confessedly made at the beginning of the seventeenth century.George Salmon could not imagine a time when a robust version of the papacy would be able or willing to admit its wrongdoing in the Galileo affair without yielding up its claims to infallibility. Fast forward to 1992. I include a quote from New Scientist magazine:
At a ceremony in Rome, before the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Pope John Paul II officially declared that Galileo was right. The formal rehabilitation was based on the findings of a committee of the Academy the Pope set up in 1979, soon after taking office. The committee decided the Inquisition had acted in good faith, but was wrong.I know this is old news, but it's never too late to point out the inperspicuity and errors of the Papacy. Woe to one who puts their faith in such a supposed 'vicar of Christ.'