The Catholic Church Did Not Teach The Earth is Flat

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Many individuals falsely believe that the majority of Catholics at the time of Christopher Columbus voyages believe the earth is flat, according to Jeffrey Burton Russell, historian and author of inventing the flat earth Washington Irving was one of the individuals most responsible for creating this myth, in Irving’s book ‘The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus’ he invented a fictional account of the council of Salamanca in which he portrays Columbus arguing his case for a globe earth against the churchmen of his time. Irving was a fiction writer he also wrote Rip Van Winkle and the legend of Sleepy Hollow before releasing his work, ‘A history of New York’, he published a series of false stories in the missing persons sections of a newspaper in an attempt to deceive people into thinking the pseudonym he used Knickerbocker was a real person. Irving also wrote a two part book on the false prophet Mohammed and his successors in this book he trumpets the alleged victories of the Muslims over Christians and includes many gory details he also argues that Mohammed could be excused from believing what he did on the basis that many heresies and schisms were in existence during his time

“it is sufficient to glance at these dissensions, which we have not arranged in chronological order, but which convulsed the early Christian church, and continued to prevail at the era of Mohammed to acquit him of any charge of conscious blasphemy in the opinions he inculcated concerning the nature and mission of our Savior”

This is clearly false and blasphemous, no one can be excuse for rejecting the catholic faith and the divinity of Jesus Christ, it is not hard to see the dark, deceptive and demonic character of Washington Irving and so it is not hard to see how he would lie about Catholic churchmen during Columbus time, Washington Irving was an anti-catholic protestant.

Jeffrey Burton Russell states “the flat-earth lie was ammunition against the creationists, the argument was simple and powerful “look how stupid this Christians are, they are always getting in the way of science and progress. These people who deny evolution today are exactly the same sort of people as those idiots who for at least a thousand years denied that the earth was round. How stupid can you get?”

The truth is that the Catholic Church has never officially taught that the earth is flat, Pope Leo XIII used the french word for globe in his encyclical ‘Depuis Le Jour’

Pope Alexander VI refers to both the north and the south pole twice in his 1493 bull Inter Caetera

The Bible describes the earth as a circle in Isaiah 40:22 the Douay Rheims translation of the bible translates this as globe. There are no scriptures that undeniable point to the earth being flat and even if some of the authors believe this they were simply describing what appear to the senses as pointed out by Pope Leo XIII in ‘Providentissimus Deus’

“The sacred writers did not seek to penetrate the secrets of nature but rather described and delved with things in more or less figurative language or in terms which were commonly used at the time and which in many instances are in daily used at this day, even by the most eminent men of science. Ordinary speech primarily and properly describes what comes under the senses; and somewhat in the same way the sacred writers — as the Angelic Doctor also reminds us — ‘went by what sensibly appeared,’ or put down what God, speaking to men, signified, in the way men could understand and were accustomed to.”

The Salvator Mundi pictures Christ holding a globe representing the world.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is frequently depicted standing on top of the globe earth crashing the serpent under her feet, as described in genesis 3:15.

The infant jesus of Prague is frequently depicted holding a Globus Cruciger a globe with a cross on top of it. Representing Christ’s dominion over the world.

The original design for the miraculous medal according to father Joseph Dirvin was called the virgin of the Globe because it showed Our Lady standing on a globe and holding a globe in her hands, the Blessed Virgin Mary told St. Catherine Laboure that the Globe she was holding represents the whole world.

“The ball which you see represents the whole world, specially France and each person in particular”

The problem for some churchmen was not so much the globe shape of the earth as to whether there was land or people on the other side of the globe, such people were called antichthones and it was said that they live in the antipodes the regions on the opposite side of the world.

St Augustine said that even if it could be demonstrated scientifically that the earth is a sphere that it does not follow that there is land or people on the other side of it, however St. Vigilius believe they were such people and according to the 1920 Catholic Encyclopedia he successfully clear his name of any charges of heresy probably due to him believing such people were descending from Adam.

St. Thomas Aquinas also mentions the roundness of the earth twice in the Summa Theologiae once in the very first question.

St. Bede states in the “reckoning of time”

“The reason why the same [calendar] days are of an unequal length is the roundness of the earth, for not without reason is it called the ‘orb of the world’ on the pages of Holy Scripture and of ordinary literature It is in fact a sphere set in the middle of the whole universe it is not merely circular like a shield [or] spread out like a wheel, but resembles more a ball, being equally round in all directions”

Claudius Ptolomeus whose geocentric views of the universe was widely held for thirteen hundred years believe the earth is a sphere, in his Almagest he states

“Now that also the earth taken as a whole is sensibly spherical, we could most likely think out in this way”

He also states:

“… since the differences in the hours and eclipses is found to be proportional to the distances between their places one would reasonable suppose the surface of the earth, spherical…”

He also stated:

“…it is clear that here the curvature of the earth cover the earth parts uniformly in oblique directions, proofs its spherical form on every side.”

Around 69% of the Roman Emperors between 491 and 1453 issued coins with the Globus Cruciger on it.

The text book, ‘De Sphaera Mundi’ meaning the sphere of the world was widely used in European universities for hundreds of years after it’s publication in 1230

In spite of some authors attempting to brandish the catholic religion as being anti-science the truth is just the opposite, true scientific discoveries magnify the complex order and intelligent design of creation and thus glorify God. See the video amazing evidence for God scientific evidence for God.

And for more information see the article in the description box, “flat earth refuted” I also planned to make a video soon covering a number of facts that refute the modern flat earth theory.

The Catholic Church Did Not Teach The Earth is Flat

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