Galileo Galilei is riling the Catholic church yet again, the Wall Street Journal reports, as an anonymous donor has offered to pay to erect a statue in the Vatican of Catholicism’s most famous heretic. But though the church has come around on science, Galileo remains a touchy subject. He’s “like a Mexican soap opera,” said one Vatican official. “It never ends.”
Even when Pope John Paul II reopened Galileo’s case, the commission ended up issuing only a wishy-washy finding that avoided apology or blame. As a cardinal, Pope Benedict gave a speech that seemed to defend the conviction. Now, the church worries the statue will look like a too-late apology, reviving its biggest PR nightmare. There’s also a logistical concern: Where in the art-packed Vatican would you put it?