Saturday, August 12, 2006

Pope To Explore Creation-Evolution Debate

Creationists versus Darwinists, “intelligent design” versus random selection, the controversy is as heated as ever. The pope is studying the issue with a team of experts. Keep reading to find the truth he wants to reassert. And the confusion he wants to clear up

by Sandro Magister

ROMA, August 11, 2006 – All those who are expected to attend Benedict XVI’s private seminar with his former theology students at Castel Gandolfo in early September will come with the necessary documents tucked away in their briefcases.

Among the papers, an article published by “L’Osservatore Romano” on January 16, 2006, stands out. It is signed Fiorenzo Facchini, who is both priest and scientist, and teaches anthropology at the University of Bologna. He has written extensively on the question of evolution.

The importance of this article – which appears in its entirety below – is confirmed in the latest issue of “La Civiltà Cattolica”, a Jesuit journal published in Rome under the control and with the authorization of Vatican authorities.

In the August 5-19 issue of “La Civiltà Cattolica”, Jesuit Giuseppe De Rosa reserves ten pages to evolution and its workings, from Lamarck and Darwin up to today. He signs off his piece with a reference to Facchini’s “L’Osservatore Romano” article which he considers the most up-to-date synthesis of the position of the Catholic Church in the matter.

In his article, Father De Rosa sums up where the scientific controversy now stands point. He writes:

“A clear distinction must be made between what evolution is and what theories try to say about it. While it is certainly true that phenomenon itself is real, theories about it must be experimentally verified before they can be considered scientifically valid. So far this has not happened. And for this reason, the last word on evolution has not been said. Ahead of us therefore there is much work to do before we can fully understand the mechanisms of the evolutionary process.”

In Father De Rosa’s opinion, not only do we need to look at the issue from the point of view of science, but we must also face its philosophical and theological implications, and they “must be dealt with separately.”

Implicitly, Father De Rosa is telling us in his article that blurring these points of view can lead to a great deal of misunderstanding – especially by those who believe in the scientific nature of the anti-Darwinian theory of “intelligent design” in which God is given the title role in creation, a theory that is currently at the center of heated discussions in the United States.

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