Isn't this strange, considering this is considered to be the book that "started it all" with evolution?
Uncle Tom's Cabin was banned in Italy and all the Papal States, but not this one?
In 1835 The Holy Office had the last five books advocating a fixed-sun/moving earth removed from the Index.
Cardinal Daly tells us what happened next:
The “Galileo Affair” remains, as Fantoli remarks in the concluding sentence of his book, “a severe lesson in humility to the Church and a warning, no less rigorous, to the Church, not to wish to repeat in the present or in the future the errors of the past, even the most recent past.” That such words, and a book about Galileo so frank and honest as his, could be published by the Vatican Observatory and printed by the Vatican Press, is one further augury, promising a new era of constructive and mutually enriching dialogue between Church and science.’ ---Cardinal Daly: The Minding of Planet Earth, Veritas Publications, Ireland, pp.62/87/94, 2000
This 'severe lesson in humility' assured science that the Catholic Church would never again put a 'science' book on the Index again after having withdraw the heliocentric books from 1741 to 1835.
Moreover, by Darwin's time many high ranking and influencial churchmen actually believed in evolution. The most famous was John Henry Newman (1801-1890) often referred to as ‘a pioneer and prophet of Vatican Council II,’
Cardinal John Henry Newman, we are told in numerous books and articles on him, had a keen interest in science, and the contemporary debates on the relation between religion and science. At Oxford he read for honours in both classics and mathematics. For his final examination he studied Newton’s incomprehensible Principia, geometry and trigonometry, astronomy, geology and mineralogy. When he stood for the Oriel Fellowship he confided to his father that: ‘Few have ever attained the facility and comprehension which I arrived at from the regularity and constancy of my reading and the laborious and nerve-bracing and fancy-repressing study of mathematics, which has been my principal subject.’ --- Vincent Ferrer Belhl: Pilgrim’s Journey. John Henry Newman, Paulist Press, 2002, p.45
In a composition of May 24 1861, entitled ‘An Essay on the Inspiration of Holy Scripture’ he adduced the case of Galileo as one of the critical points towards maturing on the part of Catholic Scripture-scholars.
‘He quickly set to work and produced ‘An Essay on the Inspiration of Holy Scripture,’ which was left unpublished until 1953. Recent theologians, Newman observes, tend to perpetuate the error of the Galileo fiasco by straining to reconcile Scripture and science. A better way out of the present mischief would be to manifest that the Bible could not collide with either science or history.
The Church has never declared de fide that the sacred writings were themselves inspired. The familiar phrase, ‘Deus est auctor utriusque Testamenti,’ means ‘The Mosaic covenant as well as the Christian has come from the one God,’ instead of ‘God wrote the entire Bible.’ Further, Apostles are called inspired by Trent, and traditions are said to be dictated by the Holy Spirit, yet neither statements are made of the books themselves. Though we may believe it so, the Church has never formally proclaimed the Scriptures to be inspired.’ ---James Tunstead Burtchaell: Catholic Theories of Biblical Inspiration Since 1810, Cambridge University Press, 1969, p.71.
NEWMAN’S GALILEO, REVELATION, AND THE EDUCATED MAN (1861).
Two Sacred Congregations represented the popular voice and passed decrees against the philosopher, which were in force down to the years 1822 and 1837 [when they were all taken off the Index]. Such an alarm never can occur again, for the very reason that it has occurred once.
At least, for myself, I can say that, had I been brought up in the belief of the immobility of the earth as though a dogma of Revelation, and had associated it in my mind with the incommunicable dignity of man among created things, with the destinies of the human race, with the locality of purgatory and hell, and other Christian doctrines, and then for the first time had heard Galileo’s thesis, and, moreover, the prospect held out to me that perhaps there were myriads of globes like our own all filled with rational creatures as worthy of the Creator’s regard as we are, I should have been at once indignant at its presumption and frightened at its speciousness, as I never can be at any parallel novelties in other human sciences bearing on religion; no, not though I found probable reasons for thinking the first chapters of Genesis were not of an economical character, that there was a pre-Adamite race of rational animals, or that we are now 20,000 years from Noe. For that past controversy and its issue have taught me beyond all mistake, that men of the greatest theological knowledge may firmly believe that scientific conclusions are contrary to the Word of God, when they are not so, and pronounce that to be heresy which is truth. It has taught me, that Scripture is not inspired to convey mere secular knowledge, whether about the heaven or the earth, or the race of man; and that I need not fear for Revelation whatever truths may be brought to light by means of observation and experience out of the world of phenomena which environ us. And I seem to myself here to be speaking under the protection and sanction of the Sacred Congregation of the Index itself, which has since the time of Galileo prescribed to itself a line of action, indication of its fearlessness of any results which may happen to religion from physical sciences.
Many books have since that time been placed upon its prohibited catalogue, the worlds of (humanly speaking) distinguished men, the works of Morkof, Puffendorf, Brucker, Ranke, Hallam, Macauley and Mill; but I find no one of physical celebrity, unless such writers as Dr. Erasmus, Darwin, Bonucci, Klee and Burdach are so to be accounted. One great lesson surely, if no other, is taught by the history of theological controversy since the 16th century: moderation to the assailant, equanimity to the assailed, and that as regards geological and ethnological conclusions as well as astronomical.
But of course the investigation has gone further, and done, or is now even doing, some positive service to the cause which it was accused of opposing. It is in the way to restore to the earth that prerogative and pre-eminence in the creation which it was thought to compromise. Thus investigation, which Catholics would have suppressed as dangerous, when, in spite of them, it has had its course, results in conclusions favourable to their cause. How little then need we fear the free exercise of reason! How injurious is the suspicion entertained of it by religious men! How true it is that nature and revelation are nothing but two separate communications from the same infinite Truth!
Now let us suppose that the influences which were in the ascendant throughout Italy in 1637 had succeeded in repressing any free investigation on the question of the motion of the earth. The mind of the educated class would have not the less felt that it was a question, and would have been haunted, and would have been poisoned, by the misgiving that there was some real danger to Revelation in the investigation; for otherwise the ecclesiastical authorities would not have forbidden it. There would have been in the Catholic community a mass of irritated, ill-tempered, feverish and festering suspicion, engendering general scepticism and hatred of the priesthood, and relieving itself in a sort of tacit freemasonry, of which secret societies are the development, and then in sudden outbreaks perhaps of violence and blasphemy. Protestantism is a dismal evil; but in this respect Providence has overruled it for the good. It has, by allowing free inquiry in science, destroyed a bugbear, and thereby saved Catholics themselves so far from the misery of hollow profession and secret infidelity.' --- As found in James Collins, Philosophical Readings on Cardinal John Henry Newman (Chicago: H. Regnery Press, 1961), pp.284-291.
‘When Darwin’s Origin of Species was published in 1859, it came as no surprise to Henry Newman. His idea of history, with change and development implicit in it, enabled him to comprehend Darwin’s claims, which shocked so many well-educated men whose minds were dominated by a static view of history. They believed in a literal exposition of the Book of Genesis. Newman’s view of history was dynamic and he found no difficulty in reconciling his views to Darwin’s
.’ ----Brian Martin, J.H. Newman, His Life and Work
, Challo & Windus, London, 1982, p.76.
‘It has been said by someone that [Cardinal Henry] Newman was not a man of action, was not in the ordinary sense an orator, but that when he took the pen into his hand, then he was a match for the whole world. The power with which he is thus credited is surely nowhere more strikingly shown than in his Essay on the Development of Doctrine. It meant the application – many years before Darwin published his Origins of Species – of the evolutionary idea to religious dogma. Henceforth dogma, instead of being regarded as static, as something motionless, inert, incapable of expansion, became a thing [in possession of] the principle of growth and development.’ ---J. Lewis May: Cardinal Newman, Kessinger Publishing, 2003, pp.71-72.