Saturday 21 January 2006

Vatican paper rejects ID

The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has restated the Catholic Church's support of evolutionary theory, and has condemned the notion that Intelligent Design should be taught in schools alongside evolution. Get the story here.


Jeremiah Kier Cowart said...

I just want to say here that although Pope Pius XII was certainly much more cautious in his approach to evolution, and Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have not been so cautious, the latter two have not done so in Encyclicals, and the former (in his great reservation toward evolution) did. Cf. the encyclical Humani Generis by Pope Pius XII. In other words, insofar as Popes John Paul and Benedict were theologians, they personally had no problem with evolution, albeit a "theistic evolution." But, when acting as universal pastor of the whole Church in his encyclical Humani Generis, the teaching although not closed to evolution, it was putting in its proper place--that is, although in some aspects in dialogue with theology, nevertheless not a theological object of consideration.

Jim said...

Pius XII was not exactly a person bound to theological sensitivity. His actions vis a vis Hitler show that he was more than willing to accomodate himself to the culture when he felt the Church would benefit.

Jeremiah Kier Cowart said...


I don't exactly follow you on your first line. But, even if I were to guess at what you mean, Pope Pius XII didn't write encyclicals merely as a "person" (anymore than any other pope has done), but rather, as I said, as the universal pastor of the Church. Hence, there is a qualitative difference between Humani Generis on the one hand and the article cited here or Pope John Paul II publicly stating that evolution is "plus qu'une theorie..." on the other.

Of course, I realize that this view of Pope Pius as a universal pastor is Catholic dogma, but that's kind of the point. If you try to reduce him to merely one among many Catholic theologians expounding this or that theological position, you'll be doing little more than speaking past a Catholic, for Catholics do not receive the teachings from encyclicals in that way (ie, as just another theologian offering his thoughts).

As to the history, I'm sure if you've done enough reading from those both sympathetic to his dealings with the Reich and those unsympathetic, you'll see the issue is far indeed from being one on which you can form a fast and easy judgment regarding his culpability.

Anonymous said...


If you would like a little more balance, may I suggest:

The Myth of Hitler's Pope
by Rabbi David G. Dalin

Hitler, the War and the Pope
By Ronald J Rychlak

and (if you can still find it)

Three Popes and the Jews
by the late Israeli journalist and diplomat, Pinchas E. Lapide.


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