The Vatican is recasting the most famous victim of its Inquisition as a man of faith, just in time for the 400th anniversary of Galileo's telescope and the U.N.-designated International Year of Astronomy next year, according to the AP story.

And people say the Roman Catholic Church is adverse to change. It just needs 400 years to think about it first.
Pope Benedict XVI paid tribute to the Italian astronomer and physicist Sunday, saying he and other scientists had helped the faithful better understand and "contemplate with gratitude the Lord's works."

In May, several Vatican officials will participate in an international conference to re-examine the Galileo affair, and top Vatican officials are now saying Galileo should be named the "patron" of the dialogue between faith and reason.

The story further reports that the Church has "for years been striving to shed its reputation for being hostile to science, in part by producing top-notch research out of its own telescope."

My three favorite quotes: one, the 1992 Pope JPII reference to the ruling against Galileo back in 1633, saying it resulted from "tragic mutual incomprehension." Nice - put part of the blame on a dead guy that can't defend himself, while also asserting that you were partially correct. Two, that Galileo was "a man of faith who saw nature as a book authored by God." Very poetic. Three, that Galileo should be the patron of dialogue between faith and reason. I wonder what PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins would think of that.