- THE PEDAGOGICAL TRADITION OF THE BARNABITES
- BARNABITE SCIENTISTS
- Fr. Francis DENZA
- Fr. John CAVALLERI
- Fr. Timothy BERTELLI
- Fr. Camillus MELZI d'ERIL
1THE PEDAGOGICAL TRADITION OF THE BARNABITES
Contrary to public belief, the Bamabites were not founded primarily for the education of the youth. Nonetheless, responding to the urgent needs of the Church, the Order chose early in its history, after some introspection, to accept this apostolate as well, as the school must necessarily play an integral part in the formation and preparation of the Christian adult. Actually the Bamabite commitment to Catholic education grew so deep, that it has become the best known apostolate of the Congregation.
The Founder, St. Anthony M. Zaccaria, who had studied medicine at the University of Padua (1520-24), in his draft of the Order's Constitutions did not mention classical and/or philosophical education, but rather, emphasized the pursuit of theological and biblical studies.
The first men drawn to the new Congregation already possessed a sound cultural preparation and maturity. But later, as young candidates started to knock at their door, there naturally arose the need for some sort of school to train them intellectually, as well as spiritually. Our first houses of studies were opened in Milan, Cremona, and notably in Pavia.
While access to these schools had been granted to some lay persons as early as 1557, there existed as yet no idea to run schools for the education of the youth. Indeed three proposals, one in 1593 by the Granduke of Tuscany, Ferdinand I, another in 1603 by Pope Clement VIII, and the one in 1605 by the Mattei family in Rome had been refused for two main reasons, one methodological and the other financial. First of all Grammar (basic education) at that time was taught with the use of whips, lashes, and punishment, a method which was not acceptable to our tradition. Secondly, the school would need to be free for all, poor and rich, since the payment of tuition had been labeled as "an illicit market."
The fact that some lay people had already been accepted into the Order's own education program seemed sufficient; but it was not. The education of the youth had become a top priority for the Church, and many Bamabites, while respecting the zeal of their Superiors in observing their Constitutions' restrictive clauses, did understand that these clauses were already outdated. It was Bishop Gian Battista Arcimboldi to bring about the drastic change. At his death he had left the Bamabites a large bequest for a public, free school in Milan. The annual interest provided by the bequest assured free education for each student, removing that particular obstacle. To remove the other obstacle the Fathers thought to entrust the teaching of Grammar to lay teachers. Thus, on May 3,1605, the General Chapter was able to accept the bequest, and open the way to this new apostolate for the Congregation.
The first school, a model for many more, was inaugurated by Cardinal Federico Borromeo in 1608. In 1641 the Arcimboldi school received the title of "University" with the right to confer graduate titles, a right to be confirmed in the middle of the 1700's by the Lambertini Pope and the Empress Mary Theresa. The student body varied from 500 to 1000. The school was free and open to all who had sufficient basic preparation.
We know the details of the internal organization and of the didactic methodology geared to emulation and group effort. Students in the lower courses, called "Humanities," were divided in "Thebeans" and "Sedunes," headed by two "Princes." Those in the upper courses, called "Rhetoric," were divided in "Romans" and "Greeks," headed by a "Dictator" and a "Captain." These roles were changed every month, based on conduct and grades. The schedule was heavy: two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon for the "Rhetoric" courses, a little more time for the "Humanities" and "Grammar" courses. Thursday was a day off for all. Every hour was divided into two halves, the first of which would be used for questions and the gathering of homework. This task was entrusted to "Decurions," who had already been tested by the assistant professor. These Decurions would test the members of the opposite faction under the scrutiny of the teacher. Then followed a half hour of teaching. At the end two students drawn from the opposite factions would repeat the lesson, correcting each other. The subjects were the "classic" ones, but soon the Bamabites introduced others according to the needs of the times (science) and also of places, as in Livomo, a port city, where they introduced English and nautical science.
The Arcimboldi model was followed by other Bamabite schools, which in the middle of the 1600's were 25. In France, and especially in Savoy, these schools took on a specifically Catholic character in order to withstand Calvinism, while in Italy they were primarily at the service of the Church and society for the formation of the new generations. This had become an imperative need after the Council of Trent. Because of their preparation and tradition the Bamabites proved to be up to the task, and it did not take long for them to be labelled as "professional educators," that is, teachers with great scientific knowledge, trustworthy for their orthodoxy (a quality rarely present among lay teachers and private tutors of the time), and with great love and knowledge of the souls of the young people.
Along with the Jesuits, the Bamabites would shape the Christian formation of the leaders of coming generations, while within the Order a new type of religious appeared, that is, the Bamabite who, because of the small number of his companions, like Paul, had to be ready and able to take the altar, the desk, the confessional, the pulpit, in royal palaces and poor houses, bringing everywhere the simplicity and urgency of the Gospel, an endeavor which will characterize the Order in times to come.
We have to add that, unlike the Jesuits, the Bamabites were very early in opening the doors of science. Interestingly, the first to promulgate the Copemican theories was not Galileo Galieli, but the Bamabite Fr. Redento Baranzano. He did not, however, fall victim of the Inquisition as Galileo did, because of the intervention by his friend, St. Francis de Sales.
Because of the addition of new schools, in 1665 the General Chapter promulgates a curriculum of studies to be adopted in all Bamabite schools. While very precise about discipline and external order, it allowed great freedom to the teacher in matters of method and content. The external order was sober, free from casuistry, leading to what could be called an "active school," one with debates, gyms, both oral and written exams, competitions, etc. The whole structure was based upon reciprocal respect, a loving more than feared obedience, a nobility of manners, a joyful concentration on study, in order to form a complete person ready for life.
The major expansion after the founding of the Arcimboldi school took place not in Italy but in France. When, through St. Francis de Sales, the Bamabites opened a school in Annecy (1614), a dozen others followed immediately, encouraged also by the King, Louis XIII, who had given the Bamabites permission to settle wherever they wanted in his kingdom.
In Italy too the schools increased at a rapid pace, so that soon the Bamabite houses with a school were more numerous than those without.
The French Revolution brought about the closing of all Bamabite schools in France, and the Napoleonic suppression of those in Italy, except two. The subsequent revival in France was very slow, while in Italy it was a little more vigorous.
The Twentieth Century has seen a tremendous expansion beyond Italy, developing into today's program with almost 20,000 students being prepared for the future in about twenty schools around the world.
Effective education is the product of various components, foremost among which is the family. Mothers and fathers are the natural and irreplaceable teachers of their children. For this reason Bamabite educators have always required the parents of their students to become involved in their children's formal schooling by being well informed about their scholastic progress and their human, Christian development, through their own development and growth as parents participating in parents-educators conferences and encounters, and in prayer and Bible studies. Older Bamabite educators used to say that teachers and parents must "walk in unanimity," that is, with one soul and a common goal. Mothers and fathers ought not to forget that it is their parental authority they delegate to the educators; likewise, educators must bear in mind that their authority in the classroom is only delegated, and that it must be assumed and carried forward as a vocation from God, to help create the next generations.
"The Pedagogy of the Bamabites," it has been written, "is expressed in a very unique methodology: a 'familiar' one, with a wise balance between authority and freedom, inspired by the law of love and flexible in adapting to all the new developments in education, while differing from them only with regard to the purely spiritual content." This "familiar methodology" has been extensively treated in Fr. I. Clerici's book "The Education of the youth." And yet every Bamabite who reads this book remains unsatisfied because, as Fr. Semeria wrote, "The pedagogical tradition of the Bamabites is easier to feel than to define." Some speak of a "climate of simple affection, of evangelical freedom which is breathed in the Bamabite schools," while others speak of a "spaciousness of vision and of understanding of circumstances." Yet others would emphasize "the professional expertise, and the atmosphere of higher studies," while some speak of "the style of meekness and moderation." In any case the emphasis falls always on the "dedication," that is, a multitude of humble and anonymous educators expending intellect, energies, and life for "their" children. Success in education is never tied that much to external organization, as it is to the personal vocation of the educator and his professional qualifications.
It is quite a surprise to read in the old regulations (1830). "we beg all those involved in the education of the youth to be moderate in punishments, trying, under the guidance of love, to prevent by any possible means any evil, rather than having to correct it." In regard to boarding school students, we read: "Love, so natural to man's heart and so much needed by this young people who are away from home, is the soul of the formation given them; necessary supervision, in so far as it is continuous and prompt, it must also be gentle and fatherly. Defects should be prevented more than punished, and punishment should be rare and it should be administered only as a medicine" (Rule for the "Maria Luisa" school in Parma). A quote from 1843 reads: "Moderation is necessary both in punishments as in praises and rewards, but all must be preceded by the good example and the harmony of the educators."
We can thus understand the comments of Alexander Verri, writing to his nephew, then a Barnabite student: "Civil manners, gentleness, and conviction were the means used by these Fathers to inspire me with a love of studies, and I declare my sincere gratitude to this Congregation." Francis Pera, an alumnus of "San Sebastian school" in Livono, observed: "My teachers exercise their office as a higher expression of their priesthood, so that school was for me a second family."
3. BARNABITE SCIENTISTS
True to their pedagogical tradition the Bamabites never limited themselves to the literary field alone. Even when modem science was at its beginning, before it was even recognized as an academic subject, Bamabite educators had fall freedom to enter the scientific field. The sciences have now been so well integrated into today's typical curriculum, that they seem to have been there throughout history, when in fact they are only recent additions.
The last century has shown us the greatest dissension between Faith and Science. Yet, the Bamabites have excelled in every science: astronomy, seismology, meteorology, botany, archeology, Egyptology, etc. The following is a look at some outstanding Bamabite scientists.
1. Fr. Francis Denza
At the age of 23 Fr. Denza graduated from the University of Turin with majors in Physics and Mathematics. Before becoming a priest he started teaching Mathematics and Physics at our Bamabite school in Moncalieri. There he founded a Meteorological and Astronomical observatory. The research results were published in a monthly bulletin. This was the beginning of a network of observatories which will spread all across Italy. These observatories often utilized the high elevation of church bell-towers. Later on, to report all his findings Fr. Denza started another bulletin dubbed "The Alpine-Appennine Correspondence." This went on to become one of the most invaluable instruments for weather predictions. It was a truly pioneer enterprise, which anticipated of a hundred years today's satellite system.
Fr. Denza was the founder of the Italian Meteorological Society, and under the auspices of the Italian Government he participated in all the international congresses that went on at that time. He often acted as president and received many prestigious honors. All people, both clerical and anti-clerical, acknowledged his scientific achievements. In his humility and simplicity he had the wisdom to, first of all, encourage, and then to bring into the open unknown researches, whose work had been ignored.
His greatest pride was the Vatican Observatory. In 1888 the Catholic world was in a festive mood for the celebration of the priestly jubilee of Pope Leo XIII. Many programs were proposed, among them one by Fr. Denza. As president of the Italian Meteorological Society, he made an appeal to the clergy of Italy to organize a "show" which would document the contributions of the Church to Science. In order to enrich the show, machinery and instruments of all kind were shipped to Rome. But what was the point of sending them back after the show? Leo XIII, a man of considerable knowledge, thought of creating a special museum. Instead, Fr. Denza wanted to put them at work, so he suggested the restructuring of the Gregorian Tower as an astronomical observatory. Pope Leo immediately agreed and in one year time the project was brought to a successful conclusion. In June 1889 Fr. Denza began to organize the installation of the instruments that had been donated or had been acquired. He then started printing another Bulletin called "The Publication of the Vatican Observatory," which introduced the Vatican into the world of science.
This publication, and its content, was met with envy and opposition due to the anticlerical position of the world of science at that time. Fr. Denza knew how to face and diffuse this kind of opposition. During the famous Congress of Astronomy, held in Paris in September 1889, the Congress decided to compile a gigantic map of the sky. Many of the participating scientists did not want the Vatican Observatory to participate in the project among the other selected eighteen. Through his influence and "savoir faire," Fr. Denza was able to obtain a section of the sky to be photographed and analyzed by the Vatican Observatory. The Vatican Observatory was the very first among the participants to publish its map. Because of this, France presented Fr Denzawith the "Legion of Honor" medal. This, nor any other honor he received, did not distract Fr Denzafrom his major task, which was to encourage the progress of scientific knowledge. He took over the production of a "map of magnetism in Italy" and travelled back and forth all over the Peninsula in order to compile it and complete it. In September of 1890 he was nominated by Pope Leo XIII director of the Vatican Observatory. But before he could move into the Vatican apartments (he wanted them to be simple a small like a monk's cell) along with his old associate Fr. Joseph Liberti, Fr Denzadied suddenly in 1894, shortly after a papal audience he had attended as president of the Academy of “Nuovi Lincei.”
2. Fr. John Cavalleri
The inventor of the first electric spot-light was also a Bamabite, Fr. John Cavalleri of Crema. He began his career teaching Latin and Greek in 1813. In 1849 he switched his subject to Physics, which eventually became his only field of study. His hobby dealt with optics; and he busied himself in the creation of new microscopes, spyglasses, and telescopes, which he would give away as gifts. In 1841 he invented and constructed a new "microscope with an horizontal tube," in 1844 a new "catadioptric microscope," in 1846 a "daguerreotype," in 1848 a "dialectic spyglass," and finally in 1849-50 the electric spotlight. He tried his new machine one evening in the winter of 1850 in the courtyard of the Bamabite school in Monza. Surrounding him were the confreres and some of his students. The small crowd exploded in enthusiasm and joy as the powerful ray of light illuminated like in daylight the clock of the city's famous bell-tower. The enthusiasm was damped by the sudden appearance of the suspicious Austrian police. It took him and his associates a lot of explaining to prevent an arrest by the confused police!
Two years after this triumphant night, Fr. Cavalleri published a full report and description of his invention. He continued making new discoveries through his studies in the field of optics. He also directed his studies toward social purposes, for example he studied the application of electricity for the cure of paralysis, and he created the "parabolic acoustic monitor" used for the safety of trains. He undertook a project to cure peronospera in vines, an epidemic which was destroying the silk-worms, so important for the economy of the time.
3. Fr. Timothy Bertelli
Born in Bologna, Fr. Timothy Bertelli spent most of his time in Florence. Son of a teacher of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Bologna, he dedicated himself to the study of Astronomy and Seismology, and Micro-seismology in particular. Fr. Cavalleri had discovered what now is known as "The Cavalleri Law," which states that pendulums of different length react differently to seismic movements of the earth. Fr. Bertelli established a laboratory at our school "La Querce" in Florence, to further investigate earthquakes, and in particular microseism (very light earthquakes). In 1873 he created an instrument to measure the intensity of these micro-sisms which was called "tremoseismometer," and which was adopted worldwide. Fr. Bertelli succeeded Fr Denza as director of the Vatican Observatory, and dedicated himself to the study of eclipses, falling stars, halos, the aurora borealis, but all this did not distracted him from his major hobby, seismology. He wanted "to advance science, but especially he wanted to predict earthquakes to avoid at present the terrible human catastrophes of the past." In connection with this he studied compass, magnetism, electricity and telegraph. He was among the first to promote electric lighting. When Pope Pius IX visited Bologna, Fr. Bertelli installed a huge beacon on top of the Asinelli Tower to light up the whole city. He attempted to utilize trains tracks as conductors for the telegraph; for the Naval Academy of Livono he created his own mercury "cohere" (predecessor of the radio vacuum tube) for the telegraph and morse signals.
4. Fr. Camillus Meizi d'Eril
The projects that Fr. Bertelli began were perfected by another Bamabite, Fr. Camillus Meizi d'Eril. His accomplishments included the "photographic tromometer." He published numerous "seismographic memoirs," and a text book on "Spheric Trigonometry."
In the 1800's every Bamabite school could claim some extraordinary scientist. In Naples there was Fr. Leonard Matera, whose scientific museum and library were the envy of the city; while Fr. Joseph Pellanda was outstanding in Botany. In Milan Fr. Mariano Fontana was well known in Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
Unfortunately a history of the Barnabites' contributions to the world of science has not been written as yet. More importantly, however, the Bamabite schools with their well equipped laboratories and their rich heritage of scientific accomplishments, are still available at the service of today's youth.
There are many Barnabites who, throughout history, have been involved in Christian Archeology. They appear as early as at the time of the great pioneer ofarcheological studies, Anthony Bosio. Pope Gregory XIII, in 1581, sent two Barnabites to the island of Malta to help in the Christian reform of the local Church, and to bring harmony and peace among the Knights who, immediately before the birth of the great Maltese archeologist, were facing very trying times in their glorious history. Bosio's father and uncle were deeply involved in those events, and his trip to Rome in 1587, when 12 year old, a very crucial event for the discoverer of the Paleochristian underground world, must have been tied to these painful happenings. The peace mission of the Barnabites started at the end of 1581, when Bosio's father and uncle, diplomatic attaches to the Knights Embassy in Rome, were sent into exile by the Pope, and all their possessions were confiscated following a bloody confrontation between the opposing factions of the Knights. Fr. Maletta and Fr. Marches!, the two Barnabites, were instrumental in reestablishing discipline, the observance of the religious vows, and especially bringing peace. Did the young Anthony meet the two Barnabites? We do not know. His friendship with another Bamabite toward the end of his life may hint toward a yes, but we know very little about his youth. What is well known is that, as many other great personalities, Anthony Bosio was not appreciated by his contemporaries, except for a few who understood the marvelous new avenue he was opening toward the studies of Christian antiquities. It will be Gianbattista Rossi to reevaluate to the fullest his personality and accomplishments. Bosio's book "Underground Rome" is still today the fundamental text for archaeologists. Everybody knows that it was published posthumous, in 1634, but only few are aware that in the last months he wanted to entrust the publication to the Bamabite Fr. Christopher Giarda. This is documented by three letters. One of them is an official statement by the General Superior allowing Fr. Giarda to carry on the task, and assigning him to St. Paul alia Colonna "scribendi causa de Urbe subterranea" (So that he could write about the underground Rome).
Fr. Giarda, a scholar and very elegant writer, was involved in all kind of projects, and he was especially busy with his many preaching engagements. We have nothing about his studies of Christian antiquities. Perhaps Bosio thought of him because they were good friends and because of the great esteem he had for him. A recent study has revealed that Bosio's book needed quite a bit of work to be completed, and this is why Cardinal Francis Barberini, he too a dear friend of Fr. Giarda, ended up entrusting the publication to Pr. John Servani of the Oratory. It was in the midst of St. Philip Neri's sons (the Oratory is the Congregation he found) that Anthony Bosio had prepared himself for his studies and discoveries. Fr. Giarda was very happy with the choice, since he knew that his deceased friend's work would be properly completed and published. His greatness of spirit is shone forth especially through his martyrdom when, in 1649, Pope Innocent X named him Bishop of Castro. The people of that city rebelled against the sovereignty of the Pope. Fr. Giarda, aware of the rebellion, accepted the mission nonetheless and, on his way to Castro, he fell victim of hired assassins.
After Anthony Bosio there was a period of stagnation in the study of Christian monuments. His followers had not understood his topographic method and started to strip the catacombs of epigraphs, sarcophagi, and even paintings, to move them to museums and churches. The damage was enormous. Few enlightened scholars did react, among them the Bamabite Fr. Angel Cortenovis. Other Bamabites worth mentioning are Fr. Michael della Croce, Fr. Basil Asquint, Fr. Peter Grazioli, Fr. Felix Caroimi, all involved in the study ofpaleochristian monuments or the questions of ancient hagiography.
The one who was directly involved in the study of the Catacombs was Fr. Louis Bruzza. In 1867, when he was transferred to Rome as Assistant General, Christian Archeology, through Gianbattista Rossi had already become a truly scientific research of monuments, especially in the underground cemeteries, which had shone to be a most rich source of information on the hierarchy, liturgy, organization, dogmas, private and public life of first generations of Christians. Fr. Bruzza was already well known for some of his publications, like "Ancient inscriptions in Vercelli." He became Rossi's close friend and right hand. In the Catacombs he specialized in the study of the "instrumenta," that is, the minute handmade articles, which are so enlightening about the mentality and customs of their authors. With Rossi the "Roman Society of Christian Archeology" was founded, located in the Bamabite house of St. Charles ai Catinari, with first president Fr. Bruzza until his untimely death.
Among the Bamabite scholars who followed Fr. Bruzza we could mention Fr. Leopold De Feis who dedicated himself to the study of classic and Etruscan archeology.
In our modem times Fr. Umberto Fasola stands as an outstanding Christian archeologist. At his untimely death in 1989 he was president of all Catacombs in Italy, and Secretary of the Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archeology. He directed the excavation of many Catacombs in Rome and in Naples, discovering many new tombs of Martyrs, and a large network of tunnels especially in the Coemeterium Maius, the Catacombs of St. Tecia, of St. Agnes, ofGiordani, ofViaAnapo, of St. Callistus. In Naples he discovered the original site of the relics of St. Januarius, and a crypt with the tombs of Bishops of the V century, with splendid mosaics. Fr. Fasola was lately a professor of "Topography of cemeteries and of Ancient Rome" at the Pontifical Archeological Institute, of which he was also past president.
Another contemporary Bamabite, Fr. Virginio Colciago, biographer ofFr. Bruzza, is today a "Magister" of the College ofCultores Martyrum, the organization which continues the De Rossi's initiative of promoting the knowledge and the cult of the Roman Martyrs.
Christian Archeology has almost become like a domestic tradition in our Congregation.
5. GALILEANS BEFORE GALILEI
Usually we judge the relationship between the Church and the Copernican theories starting from the trial of Galileo Galilei. But that is a mistake. First of all Copernicus was a Canon, that is, a man of the Church; besides, his work "De Revolutionibus" was dedicated to Pope Paul III, who received it with great sympathy. The century before, the 1400's, the Popes had praised Cardinal Niccolo Cusano, who in his work "De Docta Ignorantia" was proposing and professing the heliocentric theory. Pope Clement VII enjoyed his time spent in the Vatican gardens listening to John Albert Widmanstadt, explaining the Copernican theories, as a matter of fact in appreciation he gave him a precious Greek manuscript. The great Kepler was sent to the University of Bologna to teach Astronomy. So the first historian of Italian literature, Jerome Tiraboschi, was right when he wrote: "Before Galilei's time, the defensors of the Copernican system were by no one and in no other place honored more than by the Roman Pontiffs and in Rome."
But we know well that culture too is subject to the fashions of the time! At the time of Galilei at one side the Copemicans were passionately advocating, even to some excess, the heliocentric theory (the scientific proofs will come only with Newton in 1687), while on the other side the Aristotelians were vehemently defending the traditional geocentric theory. Unfortunately the Inquisition had many Aristotelians among its members, therefore, a head-on collision was inevitable, especially because of the wrong biblical inerrancy concepts.
The Bamabites were Copemicans. In a letter by the Benedictine Benedict Castelli, addressed to Galilei in 1615, we read: "I am friend with the superior of the Bamabites, who is very devoted to the doctrine of your Lordship; he has promised me some passages from St. Augustine and other Doctors of the Church, to confirm the interpretation your Lordship has given to the book of Joshua. As soon as I will have them, I will send them to you." The Superior of St. Frediano in Pisa was Fr. Pomponio Tartaglia, a Bamabite not too much involved in scientific questions, but it could be that the confreres were still breathing the cultural heritage left ten years before by the presence ofFr. Ambrose Mazenta, who was totally immersed in science.
For sure in Milan the Bamabites were Copemicans as it is proved by the presence in the library of St. Barnabas of the first edition of Copernicus and Newton's publications. Fr. Angel Cortenovis, Philosophy teacher for the Bamabite seminarians, was a Copernican, and Copernican were the students, outstanding among them Redento Baranzano from Vercelli. Before ordination to the priesthood he was transferred from Milan to Annecey, in Savoy, to teach Philosophy (800 students). He reached Annecey on October 4, 1615. He inaugurated his lectures at the presence of St. Francis de Sales, who later, on December 19, ordained him a priest. Fr. Baranzano was a bom teacher. He could lecture walking in class without any notes in his hands. After school he would tutor the best students to deepen their knowledge. Naturally the pupils admired and loved him. Two of them, unknown to Fr. Baranzano, it seems, got their notes together and published them with the tile "Urcmoscopia." They did it, as they stated in the introduction, because it would have been a crime toward humanity to hide the intellectual richness, so new and profound, of this young (28 years old) teacher. From this book we know that Fr. Baranzano was very familiar with "dc Revolutionibus," indeed in the first part he criticizes the lack of clarity by Copernicus, then he presents the theories, describes the reasons, and answers objections, especially those coming from the Bible (books of Joshua and Job); in the second part, instead, he has a systematic presentation of the Universe, and obviously he affirms that it is the earth to turn around the sun, not vice-versa.
Because there were no publishers in Annecey, the book was printed in Geneva by the Chouet Bros., in June 1617. The Superior, Fr. Simpliciano Fregoso, sent complimentary copies to Fr. General Jerome Boerio, in Milan.
Fr. Boerio was distressed by the book since just the year before Paul IV, by a Decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Index, had condemned Copernicus' books, while Galilei, through Cardinal Bellarmino, had received an admonition (the real trial will be in 1832). These events had not been publicized and Fr. Baranzano was not worried about. But Fr. General was well informed and he did not want to have anything to do with the Inquisition. So he did not approve the book, fearing its immediate seizure with censures for the author and humiliations for the Congregation. Concerned "To show that the Congregation was not at fault," he repudiated the book, suggested a transfer, and added, "Before leaving you should write down a declaration stating that you wrote your opinion about Copernicus not knowing to have been condemned by His Holiness, and that it had been published unknown to you: otherwise be sure that there will not be a stop to your troubles, and the Congregation with you, since this opinion has been condemned only a short time ago, and by this Pontiff." The terror of the possible intervention by the Inquisition was very evident.
Fr. Baranzano was transferred to Milan, but he was immediately followed by a letter by St. Francis de Sales addressed to Fr. General, in which the Bishop, with his well known sweetness, tried to de-dramatize the situation: "Father is still young, and therefore naive and without experience; he acted in good faith, without fault; the good he does here is immense, and he is admired even by the Protestants: we cannot do without him, so, send him back as possible." Even the publisher of the book intervened assuming all responsibilities for the book.
A month later Fr. Baranzano was back in Annecey, welcomed with great exultation. He kept writing, and a year later he published the book "About the Copemican motion of the earth: a new dissertation according to the mood of the Pontiff" Many other publications followed, all of them subjected to the implacable scrutiny of the censors. He went back to the Copemican theories, presenting them as "possible hypothesis," and affirmed with a sense of revenge, that it would had been very hard to prove them scientifically impossible. But he could not enjoy his full revenge because he died at the age of 32.
It will be another Bamabite", Fr. Paul Frisi, to take over the discussion a century later. For eight years he was a professor at the Galilei school of the University of Pisa. He highly praised the great scientist in an article published by "II Caffe," a Milanese magazine, but most of all he studied his theories and published two books, "De Motu Terrae," and "Disquisitio Mathematical both highly praised by the Academy of Science of Berlin. Both books were used in 1757 by the Sacred Congregation of the Index to study the possible removal of Galilei's books from the Index of forbidden books. But it did not happen. Instead it will be another Bamabite, Fr. Anthony Grandi, to have the honor when on March 2, 1520, he became a member of this Congregation, his first case was Galilei. After a thorough study he submitted his conclusions in favor of Galilei, and they were unanimously accepted by the Cardinals commission: "Nihil Obstat for Copernicus' theory to be accepted and defended.” Still today another Bamabite, Bishop Sergio Pagano, Prefect of the Secret Archives of the Vatican, is preparing the whole dossier for a critical edition of all Vatican documents referring to Galilei.