Saturday, May 29, 2010

Copernicus Reburied

Lazy journalism alert!

It has been widely reported in the press this week that the reburial of Nicolas Copernicus in a rather grand tomb represents the Catholic Church "repenting" for branding him a heretic (The London Times) or it "making peace" with him (GMA News).

To be fair, GMA go on to note that the reason Copernicus was originally buried in an umarked tomb was because he was a bit of a nobdy at the time he died. And the fact that he was buried in Fromberg Cathedral at all shows he was a respected member of the community in full communiun with the Church.

Still, he's now very famous and gets a flashier resting place. Part of this is Polish nationalism. Copernicus is the second-best-known Pole in history (after John Paul II) and suggestions that he was actually German have not pleased patriots (see some very upset people on the Wikipedia discussion page). So the reburial is an assertion that he was Polish as much as being a respected servant of the Catholic Church. But none of that fits the science versus religion agenda of the media.

Discuss this post at the Quodlibeta Forum


Anonymous said...

A sensationalist media seeking to wipe it's rear with the truth as opposed to upholding journalistic integrity? Say it ain't so!

courtney said...

Nothing to argue with here except as to whether he really is the 2nd most famous Pole. I think you are displaying a little scientific bias here.

I think Chopin is better known (OK - his dad was french).

I think you have just started a slavic derivative of the Famous Belgians game..

eastshore4 said...

Andrew Dickson White was not available for comment.

Anonymous said...

I'd have to go for Chopin ahead of Copernicus too (13 million to 3 million Google hits)

James said...

My post on Wednesday will, I hope, explain why Chopin was not the first Pole to come into my head. My wife says Lech Walesa is also more famous than Nick Cop. But I doubt he will be in five hundred years.

Unknown said...

I would think Marie Curie has to right up there on the list of famous Poles, too.

Anonymous said...

Those Wikipedia comments are really enlightening as to why Wikipedia often reads as if it were written by a committee of foreigners.