Scientists and students protest against Pope

Scientists and students will protest a visit by Pope Benedict to an Italian university on Thursday because of his previously stated "offensive" views on Galileo.

The Pope is due to visit Rome's Sapienza University but a letter signed by 67 scientists - including a number of distinguished physicists - states they believe the visit is "incongruous" due to a statement made in 1990 by the then Cardinal Ratzinger.

Cardinal Ratzingerhad suggested the trial of Galileo for heresy, because of his support for the Copernican system, was justified in the context of the time.

Times Online reports the letter, which was sent to the university's rector, calls for the cancellation of the visit out of "respect for the secular nature of science."

Students have also planned to voice their opposition to the papal visit by blasting load music at the time of the Papal visit in response to other earlier remarks by the then Cardinal Ratzinger on rock and pop music saying it was the "work of the devil".

Earth Times reports the left-wing physics students - who call themselves Physics Collective, have organised an Anti-Clerical Week of events ahead of Benedict's visit.

"Benedict as pontiff condemns centuries of scientific and cultural growth by affirming anachronistic dogmas such as Creationism, while attacking scientific free-thought and promoting mandatory heterosexuality," the group stated on their website.

"The protest is set to culminate with a sonic siege involving music played from loudspeakers mounted on a truck in the campus' main square during Benedict's main address."

However, Professor of Genetic Medicine Bruno Dalla Piccola said the protests were "shameful".

"The episode does no credit to a great and important university," Prof Dalla Piccola said

"Both professors and students should be ashamed of themselves for trying to prevent someone who enjoys respect at a world level from speaking.

"Perhaps they are afraid of what the Pope has to say".

Scientists protest against Pope (Times Online 14/01/08)

Pope set to face 'sonic siege' during visit to Rome university (EartTimes 14/01/08)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Sapienza Univesity
Galileo Galilei (Wikipedia)

Church 'never persecuted Galileo Galilei' (CathNews 26/08/03)

15 Jan 2008