No episode in the history of the Catholic Church is so misunderstood as the condemnation of Galileo. It is, in Cardinal Newman’s phrase, the one stock argument used to show that science and Catholic dogma are antagonistic. To the popular mind, the Galileo affair is prima facie evidence that the free pursuit of truth became possible only after science "liberated" itself from the theological shackles of the Middle Ages. This case makes for such a neat morality play of enlightened science versus dogmatic obscurantism that historians are seldom inclined to correct the anti-Catholic "spin" that is usually put on it. Even many intelligent Catholics would prefer that the whole sorry episode be swept under a rug.