Rome: Galileo protests against Pope based on misquote from Wikepedia

Last month, Pope Benedict cancelled his visit to La Sapienza University, after hundreds of students and teachers protested at what they described as the Pope's 'hostility to science'. They based their criticisms on a speech Pope Benedict had given in 1990, in which they claimed he had defended the Church's treatment of Galileo. 67 professors signed a petition objecting to the Pope's visit.

The newspaper L'Osservatore Romano said the document the protestors quoted was based on facts copied and pasted from a flawed Wikipedia entry.

It would appear that the text, mistakes and all, had been copied - but then the last part of Cardinal Ratzinger's speech had been left out by the Sapienza protesters.

"In the name of liberty and the investigation of science, they have taken as true a falsehood, accepting an affirmation without proving its credibility," the newspaper said.

The article explained that the protesters cited a speech supposedly given on "March 15, 1990 in the city of Parma." In reality, the speech was given in Rome, ironically at La Sapienza University, on 15 February, 1990.

"What is surprising is that the person who copied the citation could not have read the complete Wikipedia entry, which enables one to realize that the meaning of Ratzinger's phrase is exactly the opposite to what the 67 professors have aimed to attribute to the Pope," the newspaper said.

In his original speech, the then Cardinal Ratzinger had concluded: "It would be absurd to construct on the base of these affirmations a hasty apologetics. Faith does not grow from resentment and the rejection of rationality, but from its fundamental affirmation, and from being rooted in a still greater form of reason."

See also: ICN 17 January 2008 Pope cancels university visit after Galileo protests

Source: L'Osservatore Romani

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