Tags: MidPoint | Pope Francis | Francis | Catholics | evolution

Catholic Journalist: Pope Didn't Contradict Church on Evolution

By    |   Thursday, 30 October 2014 04:09 PM

The Vatican has accepted evolution as reality for much longer than people — including many Catholics —  realize, but that fact got lost in the breathless reporting of what Pope Francis said this week concerning the origin of life, the editor of a Catholic news and commentary Web site told Newsmax TV on Thursday.

While the Church has no trouble reconciling science with the existence of God, "It's the media who are kicking and screaming," Brad Miner, senior editor at The Catholic Thing, told "MidPoint" Host Ed Berliner. 

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Neither the Big Bang Theory of the universe's formation nor Darwin's Theory of Evolution rules out the presence of a Divine Creator, Pope Francis said on Monday during an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Belief in both can co-exist, he said.

"He's not saying anything new," said Miner. "This is not different from what the previous five popes have said."

It's the second time this month that Francis, viewed by many as a liberal reformer, has made headlines with pronouncements on doctrine.

A Vatican conference on family life turned contentious earlier in October when Francis signaled a more accommodating approach to gays, divorceés and unmarried couples — notwithstanding the Church's position that such people are living in sin.

Whatever pushback the Pope got from other prelates at the family life synod, his speech on Monday aligned with Catholic thinking on life's origins, according to Miner.

The Pope, in his statements to Vatican authorities on science, "said what Benedict XVI had said to them, what John Paul II had said to them and, going back to 1950, what Pope Pius XII had written in one of his encyclicals, 'Humani Generis,' " said Miner.

The Church has embraced "almost a dogmatic belief in the process of evolution," said Miner.

But he added that at the Science Academy, Francis "did not accept — nor would he accept — a materialistic explanation of that, or of the Big Bang."

This Pope still holds that "God works in his creation through remarkable and mysterious ways," said Miner. "But these theories, these realities, do not negate God."

Miner said the Church makes no pretense at being a "scientific organization" or promoting the Bible as "a textbook of biology." But he said the Church is "on the side of science," and has long since abandoned the punitive stance it took toward pioneering 16th Century astronomer Galileo.

"Benedict XVI himself convened in the Vatican a conference on evolution," he said. "John Paul II was famous for bringing people like [theoretical physicist] Stephen Hawking to the Vatican."

Miner said the uproar over Monday's speech proves one thing: "Nobody would ever become poor betting against what American Catholics actually know about their faith."

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The Vatican has accepted evolution as reality for much longer than people realize, but that fact got lost in the reporting of what Pope Francis said this week concerning the origin of life, the editor of The Catholic Thing told Newsmax TV on Thursday.
Francis, Catholics, evolution
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2014-09-30
Thursday, 30 October 2014 04:09 PM
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