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Education

Pope Cancels Speech After Scientists Protest 1507

Reservoir Hill writes "Pope Benedict XVI canceled a speech at Rome's La Sapienza university in the face of protests led by scientists opposed to a high-profile visit to a secular setting by the head of the Catholic Church. Sixty-seven professors and researchers of the university's physics department joined in the call for the pope to stay away protesting the planned visit recalled a 1990 speech in which the pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, seemed to justify the Inquisition's verdict against Galileo in 1633. In the speech, Ratzinger quoted an Austrian philosopher who said the ruling was 'rational and just' and concluded with the remark: 'The 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.' The protest against the visit was spearheaded by physicist Marcello Cini who wrote the rector complaining of an 'incredible violation" of the university's autonomy. Cini said of Benedict's cancellation: 'By canceling, he is playing the victim, which is very intelligent. It will be a pretext for accusing us of refusing dialogue.'"

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