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Copernicus and the Lack of Freedom of Speech Before 1791

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Freedom of Speech, Assembly, Petition, Press and Freedom of Religion was granted to us on 1791, but what about the time before that? What were people’s rights, did they even have any? Nicolaus Copernicus was one of the many people who lived through the early Reformation. During that time the Catholic Church controlled the people. Anyone who disobeyed the Catholic Church was either put into prison or even sentenced to death. The major concept that the Catholic Church held was the geocentric theory, that the Earth is the center of the universe. Their argument was that God had not only blessed humans with its nature but also granted humans a special place to live, which was in the center of the universe. However Copernicus was not completely satisfied with this theory. He went on to study and observe the mysterious sky and constantly search for mathematical proofs.
Besides his astronomical views, Copernicus strongly respected the Catholic Church and its decisions. Usually Copernicus was busy in fulfilling his official duties as a Canon or healing the Church leaders with his talent in medicine that he barely had any time for astronomy. On the other hand the Catholic Church had always given Copernicus luxurious houses because of his role in the Church. Not only had that but Copernicus earned most of his income from the Church throughout his life. Copernicus’ loyalty to the Church was so great that he had taken an unmarried status, even though he had a mistress, Anna Schilling simply because he knew that the Church did not accept her. In response to a letter to his superior Copernicus once wrote “I want to obey you gladly in all matters, and I should obey you, out of desire that my services may always be acceptable.” In spite of loyalt...


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...oking at the society today, one can tell that people go to the church for prayers and they still have the same loyalty to the Church that Copernicus once had. The only thing changed is that the Church does not have control to put someone into prison or even sentence to death just because someone disagrees with the Church. Today we have the Freedom of Speech, Assembly, Petition, Press and Freedom of Religion. As Copernicus once quoted “So far as hypotheses are concerned, let no one expect anything certain from astronomy….” Scientists still wonder about questions such as are there more stars or planets in the universe? Is there life other then on Earth and much more? Simply because there are no boundaries to knowledge because when one still looks at the galaxies the mystery that God had created is still there because no one knows better then the one who created it.



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