Vatican City, Jan 30: The Vatican on Thursday, Jan 29 has scrapped a plan to erect a statue of Galileo, the 17th-century astronomer at the centre of the International Year of Astronomy this year.
The Pontifical Council for Culture has a sponsor and a model for such an honour for Galileo, who was convicted by the Roman Inquisition of 'grave suspicion of heresy' in 1633 and rehabilitated three centuries later.
"In the end it will not be done ... (at least) for now," the council's president Gianfranco Ravasi told a news conference. "Instead we have suggested to the sponsor to fund African institutions devoted to philosophy and science."
The statue was to have been erected in the Vatican Gardens, normally closed to the public.
It was not until 1992 that the Roman Catholic Church formally admitted its 'error' in condemning Galileo for his heliocentric view of the solar system.
"It was a mistake to undermine the legitimate autonomy of science," Ravasi said, adding that this year's commemorations offered a chance to put the Galileo affair in its proper historical context and to "reconcile the results of his scientific research with the content of Christian faith."
Ravasi unveiled plans for a conference on Galileo set for May in central Florence where Galileo grew up, to be hosted by a Jesuit institution with support from the Vatican. Galileo Galilei was spared from being burned at the stake by agreeing to recant his assertions, and the Vatican banned his books.
The United Nations declared 2009 the International Year of Astronomy to mark the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first use of a telescope.
OneIndia News (With inputs from Agencies)