Galileo before the Holy Office Joseph-Nicolas Robert-FleuryIn 1633, the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church forced Galileo Galilei, one of the founders of modern science, to recant his theory that the Earth moves around the Sun. Under threat of torture, Galileo – seen facing his inquisitors – recanted. At a ceremony in Rome, before the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Pope John Paul II officially declared that Galileo was right. The Inquisition ruled that Galileo could not prove ‘beyond doubt’ that the Earth orbits the Sun, so they could not reinterpret scriptures implying otherwise. But the Galileo affair still embarrassed the Church, which now maintains an astronomical observatory at the Pope’s summer palace at Castelgandolfo.