Vatican     HOLY SEE SORRY FOR CONDEMNATION OF HERETIC MONK
The Church has expressed 'profound sorrow' for the condemnation to death of Giordano Bruno, the philosopher burnt at the stake exactly 400 years ago.
   Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State, wrote a letter to this effect, which he sent last week to the participants in a congress on this Italian thinker, being held in the Faculty of Theology of Southern Italy in Naples.
   Celebrations are taking place in Rome for the 400th anniversary of a Dominican monk whose execution is causing embarrassment to the Church.
   Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake on 17 February, 1600, for refusing to recant his philosophical beliefs before the Catholic Church's Inquisition.
   Bruno's theory that the universe is eternal excludes the idea of a God creator and is probably closer to Buddhism.
   Bruno, who travelled throughout Europe writing and teaching, is seen by some historians as a forerunner of modern scientific thinking.
   Bruno's resistance to church intolerance and his refusal to bend before authority have made him a symbol of freedom of thought and an anti-clerical hero in Italy. Scholars, politicians, anarchists, anti-clerical and human rights groups are commemorating Bruno's life in a series of events.
   Anarchist groups are reading his death sentence and performing street theatre, a local Rome school has adopted his statue and there will be a parade in his honour in historical costume.
   
BBC & Zenit (available soon) 21/2/00

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