Saint Thomas Aquinas was not excommunicated. He was canonized fifty years after his death and has been considered the greatest Catholic theologian in the last 750 years.
Neither Galileo nor Copernicus were theologians. Copernicus's book was published posthumously and for lthree quarters of a century the church took no notice of it. Copernicus himself did not suffer for his ideas.
Galileo's case is an interesting one and more complex than usually realized. There were scientific objections from astronomers of his time as well as theological objections from the Church to the Copernican system he espoused. The principal scientific objection was the absence of observable stellar parallax. None was observed because the stars are so far away telescopes of the day were not adequate to detect it. The first observation of stellar parallax was made in 1838 by Bessel—296 years after the death of Galileo.
Perhaps the case is not as easily made as you claim.
Galileo did have a close brush with a barbecue a la Bruno.
In 1277, three years after Aquinas' death, the Bishop of Paris and the Bishop of Oxford issued another, more detailed, edict which condemned a series of Thomas's theses as heretical, on the grounds of the orthodox Augustinian theology which considered human reason inadequate to understand the will of God. As a result of this condemnation, Aquinas was excommunicated posthumously (a landmark in the history of medieval philosophy and theology), and it took many years for his reputation to recover from this censure.
I suppose Copernicus didn't start any serious controversy, just inspired many clerics to write about his work, and condemn it as almost heretical.
Galileo died under house arrest, after an inquisition by the roman catholic church, I would consider that some serious opposition. Especially considering they banned his books and wouldn't even allow them to be printed for quite some time after his death.
The Church was not overly fond of people using reason, especially reason which differed from their theological conclusions. There was also something about them destroying a few of Archimedes books by scraping them down and using them as hymnals, because awesome church songs are more important than math. As much as I would have liked to agree with that concept in high school, it sure is impressive that his work was much more advanced than we could really believe.
As a result of this condemnation, Aquinas was excommunicated posthumously (a landmark in the history of medieval philosophy and theology), and it took many years for his reputation to recover from this censure.
This is based on a mistaken interpretation of Bishop Etienne Tempier's Condemnation of 1277 in which he condemned 219 propositions based on Aristotelian philosophy, but named no individuals. The notion that Aquinas was excommunicated posthumously has been around for some time without any basis in fact. Here is a comment on a repetition of this rumor by Dorothy Day:
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS AND ARISTOTLE
In the November 1949 Catholic Worker, Dorothy Day wrote of a priest she knew: "He is no St. Thomas [Aquinas], who was excommunicated at one time for drawing so many truths from Aristotle, a pagan philosopher brought by Moslem scholars from the East to the West."
Aquinas was not excommunicated. He died in 1274, and "in 1277 Bishop Stephen Tempier of Paris issued a denunciation of . . . twenty Thomistic [Aristotelian] propositions. But later this condemnation of Thomas would be reversed by Bishop Tempier's successor, and all trace of doubt would be removed in 1323, when Aquinas would be made a saint" (Dinesh S'zousa, The Catholic Classics, 1986, p. 71).
[This also contains errors: the Bishop was Etienne Tempier and the errors condemned numbered 219, not 20.]
Dead people are not excommunicated; excommunications are done partly to call the excommunicated person to repentance and a return to participation in the Church. But even when Aquinas was alive, he could not have been excommunicated by these bishops, as neither had authority over him. Aquinas died in union with the Church; he was able to administer the sacraments to others and to receive the sacraments himself. If Day was trying to justify disobedience to the hierarchy, she failed in this inaccurate and sloppy example. (Unfortunately, a "Google" search reveals that this erroneous labeling of "excommunication"--and "excommunication after death"--is alive and well on the Web--usually with no source cited.)
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, an exceptionally reliable source has an article on the Condemnation of 1277 and does not mention anything about Aquinas being excommunicated.
Wikipedia has a list of excommunications, organized by century and does not list Aquinas.
Thank you for correcting me! Now, should I attempt to contact my source and let them know of their error, or leave it be...
I hate it when my sources let me down T.T
But your main point is correct even if blurred a bit in detail. Aquinas's main thrust was reconciliation of reason and faith—in particular, he attempted to reconcile Aristotle and the traditional dogmas of the church. That is what Tempier found objectionable in doctrines promulgated by Paris theologians. And it was clear to them that the work of Aquinas was condemned by implication. Several rallied to his defense and it is now claimed that Rome ordered Tempier to stop his separate investigation of Aquinas.
If I were to say that I was 99% sure, then I would be lying. However, I can say that I don't know and that I doubt it. However, my position is that I don't care.It is not even a topic I discuss because I see no merit in it except for providing fodder for religious debates, other than that I don't care. It is not something that I am for or against. It is just insignificant to me.
I agree with the "it's dangerous to say you are 100% sure of anything." in regards to things that are provable and disprovable. But for things like the Tooth-Fairy and Pinocchio, I say 100% defiantly not. They don't exist. I also include God in the same group as Pinocchio and the Tooth-Fairy.
After all these centuries of no credible evidence of the existence of god, the probability is so low that one exists, it is statistically unlikely there is one. It is easy to be 100% sure and a very low risk of doing so. If some evidence should occur, I would be the first to declare I was wrong. And, if I were wrong, a truly loving god would look at my record of achievements, declare me worthy and let me in the pearly gates. That is highly unlikely. In fact, it is virtually impossible to happen. So, I have chosen the preferable path to live a decent life, with some challenges squarely met, and maintained an ethical and moral level of living. I cheated no one, nor did I exploit or manipulate others. I raised my kids to be good citizens. When I die that will be the end of me and the ongoing of fine young people to replace me.
Well said Joan. I agree.
Beautifully put, Joan.