The Vatican wants to express to the world that their treatment of Galileo Galilei was in error. The Vatican also wants to create the image that they are not only tolerant of science and new ideas -- but that a bridge exists between reason and religion. The Church wants to express that the two concepts of faith and reason are compatible. The Vatican implies that Galileo Galilei embodies this compatibility because he was a man of faith and science.
In my opinion, the tribute that Pope Benedict XVI recently paid to Galileo doesn't prove the church is any more tolerant of reason than in the past. Nor does the Pope's extended hand to Galileo help bridge reason and religion.
Galileo's discovery was observable and logical. However, because his findings defied the tenants of faith, Galileo was punished. The Vatican has taken 400 years to officially admit this mistake. Do you really think much has changed?
Also, think of all the modern day feats of science and logic that many religious faiths continue to reject because of religious tenants:
Stem Cell Research
Secularization of Culture
Separation of Church and State
Acceptance of Homosexuality
And the most notable Theory of Evolution
Lets not even talk about the current exploration in the Big Bang, String Theory, Dark Matter, and Dark Energy!
These concepts I just mentioned above make up the modern day version of Galileo's expressing that the sun was the center of our solar system and that the earth was a round object caught in the sun's orbit. What he observed in nature opposed what the bible inferred and what Church tradition accepted by faith.
Many faiths remain intolerant of reason and the path to which free thinking leads.
Thus, the Pope's words change nothing.
This is why you won't find a true bridge between faith and reason. The paths of faith and reason do not lead into the direction of the each other.
Read the news story, here: Vatican rehabilitating Galileo