It seems like we had a successful transition from our traditional camping retreat in Warwick to a seminar style class in the Warwick conference center. It was a first-timer, and it brought us many advantages: no wet tents, no cooking and no cleaning up, and additional participants who may not have joined us in the tents.
Of course, we missed some nature. Even the little bit that we had planned was taken away: Dark clouds prevented us from stargazing on Saturday night, and light drizzle rain made it impossible for us to celebrate worship outside. Yet, this would not have been any better had we stayed on the campground! Rather, we were very happy to worship in the bright seminar room the center had provided for us; please see the corresponding pictures.
This year’s theme centered on the astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei. We familiarized ourselves with his biography, some of his discoveries, as well as documents pertaining to the church trial he had to face in 1633. At length, we discussed the meaning of the exoneration that was issued 359 years later. Was the Vatican on target when it called the trial’s verdict unfortunate and premature?
I was surprised how critical our Warwick travelers were. Obviously, none of us denied the truth of the Copernican world view. However, several of us felt that there was no need for the Church to apologize for the verdict of 1633. This is how they argued: Galileo had not been indicted for his discovery, but for the publication of the same as fact. By rejecting this publication, the Church took an early stance against what some have called “the wheelings and dealings of scientists”. While scientifically outdated, this stance holds ethical value today. As you can see, it was quite a discussion this year in Warwick.
Would this entice you, dear reader, to join us next year?