Sometimes Persecution ends in Death: Remembering Giordano Bruno

410 years ago today a man was killed because of what he believed.

Giordano Bruno believed that the Earth is not the center of the Universe. He believed that our sun is but one of countless moving objects in our Universe. He believed that there are many worlds such as our own throughout the Universe. He believed that the stars we see at night are very much like our own sun. He believed that Mary, who Christians call the mother of Jesus, was not a virgin at the time of Jesus’ birth. He questioned Jesus’ divinity.

The Roman Inquisition found him guilty of heresy, for which he was burned at the stake at the Campo de’ Fiori in Rome.

Ten years ago today, Roman Catholic Cardinal Angelo Sodano described Giordano Bruno’s death as a “sad episode”. Cardinal Sodano continued to defended Bruno’s murderers, claiming that the inquisitors “had the desire to preserve freedom and promote the common good and did everything possible to save his life.”

I fail to see how the good Cardinal equates the preservation of freedom and attempting to save a mans life with attempting to force that man to deny his own beliefs. Violence and force are always used by such people when coercion by other means fails.

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