Rorate Caeli

The inerrant word of God does not "evolve"

From the Catholic News Service:

Human evolution: Science, faith explore the mysterious emergence of man

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Evolutionary science is still grappling with understanding how the human species, with its unique capacities for language, culture, abstract reasoning and spirituality, may have emerged from a pre-ape ancestor. 

While the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that God, "in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life," the church still considers the scientific investigation of the origins of humanity to be a valuable contribution to human knowledge.

In its continuing dialogue with world-renowned scientific experts, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences brought together evolutionary biologists, paleoanthropologists, archaeologists, neuroscientists, theologians and philosophers to discuss the major physical and cultural changes that occurred during mankind's evolution. ...

"Philosophy and theology should ask themselves how they can find a meeting point with and become enriched by the naturalist viewpoint of science, starting from the assumption that the human being is already a speaking, questioning being," he added.

How that speaking, questioning being emerged from a 5 million-year-long lineage of other primates is still a matter of much debate.

It is?

Queue this traditional, learned priest -- who is also a trained scientist. Give them a listen, and discuss:


57 comments:

Pio Kolby said...

Thank you for linking to that sermon exposing the lie of evolution. It really is a religion dressed up as science. The sermon you linked to is perhaps the best sermon on line exposing this monumental. The only two sermons that are better or equally devastating to the big lie are hear below:

Heresies of Science
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BliYFww5v64

Heretics of Science
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLV7WubXbFM

Long-Skirts said...

MONKEY
KNEEL
MONKEY
DON’T

I think that I
Shall never see
A monkey smoking
In a tree.

Or guzzlin' beer
At happy hour
Cannot choose
They have no power.

Have no will
It's all instinct,
Well planned out
No missing-linked.

Daily patterns
They must follow
Nothing holy
Nothing hollow.

Just obey
There's no pretend
Nor books to read
Or truth defend.

Man can choose
To drink all day.
Man can read
Brush truth away.

Man can smoke
Up trees in May
Picking nits
Like monkeys' play.

But still I think
You'll never see...
A monkey down
On bended knee!

Common Sense said...

And the lord said:" Lets remove St.Thomas and make up VII!" And there was Darwin. And the lord saw that fool was happy.It was so good.

Sarah L said...

Thank you, Long Skirts, for that poem. Made me smile. :)

Adfero said...

To the person who tried to criticize the credentials of this priest, I can assure you I know him personally, and his scientific background follows only his religious background and piety.

And to say that you can see beauty in God creating man out of an ape is absurd. He made us in His likeness and image. What exactly are you saying, then, God looks like?

John L said...

I will not embark on arguments on the science of evolutionary biology in response to this, as that has been done better by other people. I will instead respond about theology, which is my field. You assert:

"God has told his Church and anyone with ears to listen and eyes to read exactly how man was made, on which day he was made (the same day as the apes) and for what purpose."

It is is not true that the Catholic faith teaches that the creation account in the book of Genesis is to be taken literally, and hence that we must hold that men were made on the same day as the apes. The majority of the Fathers of the Church held that it was not to be taken literally, and so did St. Thomas Aquinas. For St. Thomas, I refer you to the discussion in his commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, 2.2. d. 12, a. 12: it is translated in the Penguin Classics book, 'Thomas Aquinas: Selected Writings". I quote the relevant passage from p. 91:
'With respect to the beginning of the world something pertains to the substance of the faith, namely that the world began to be by creation, and all the saints agree on this. But how and in what order this was done pertains to faith only incidentally insofar as it is treated in Scripture, the the truth of which the saints save in the different explanations they offer.' St. Thomas then goes on to say that he rejects a literal understanding of the creation account as occurring over six days, because this option 'is more reasonable and better protects Sacred Scripture from the derision of infidels'.

Michael Ortiz said...

Thank you, John L, for the wise, timely comment.

Augustine, in his two works on Genesis, also discounted the literal six days interpretation.

Ratzinger, in a series of homilies, made the point that the dichotomy of evolution OR creation came from a Protestant tradition, not the Catholic one.


Justaguy said...

Im gonna have to agree with John on this. He makes some good points.

Catholics: We should not create dogmas when there are none. What this does is imposes on people's conscience dilemas and makes the faith open to ridicule. Look, if you for personal scientific, philosophical, or theological reasons prefer to believe in a literal creation story- Go Ahead and do it. BUT do not pretend that this is a doctrine of the Church. Pope Pius XII made this clear in an encyclical. Imposing these things on people can only lead to a denial of the faith (Yes that is super serious as you know) or more fuel for anti-Christians to harm the Church and ridicule (also serious)

Why do this??? Why turn people looking for truth away? Why lead souls away from the one true Church and away from salvation for a false private opinion!?!?!

Adfero said...

The only comments that won't go through are ones that ridicule either side of this debate. But all sides will be heard!

Adfero said...

Also, keep in mind the point of this post, which was the so-called evolution from ape to man -- not how many days it took to create the world.

elfrancoloco said...

Thank you for those links. I've listened to both sermons. However, I am left wondering how they take account of Pius XII's encyclical, Humani Generis (1950).

Also, here is a curious passage from Ludwig Ott's Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, which I found cited elsewhere on the web:

"The doctrine of evolution based on the theistic conception of the world, which traces matter and life to God's causality and assumes that organic being, developed from originally created seed-powers (St. Augustine) or from stem-forms (doctrine of descent), according to God's plan, is compatible with the doctrine of Revelation. However, as regards man, a special creation by God is demanded, which must extend at least to the spiritual soul [creatio hominis peculiaris Denz 2123]. Individual Fathers, especially St. Augustine, accepted a certain development of living creatures." .... "The question of the descent of the human body from the animal kingdom first appeared under the influence of the modern theory of evolution. The Biblical text does not exclude this theory. Just as in the account of the creation of the world, one can, in the account of the creation of man, distinguish between the per se inspired religious truth that man, both body and soul, was created by God, and the per accidens inspired, stark anthropomorphistic representation of the mode and manner of the Creation. While the fact of the creation of man by God in the literal sense must be closely adhered to, in the question as to the mode and manner of the formation of the human body, an interpretation which diverges from the strict literal sense, is, on weighty grounds, permissible."

From what I understand, Ott's book is recommended to laypeople by both the SSPX and the FSSP. I'm hoping to have a copy someday. But is it in error here?

This is not the first time I've seen St. Augustine cited regarding the non-necessity of believing that the seven days of creation were seven literal days. For example I saw him cited thus in a library copy of Augustin Arndt's German version of the Clementine Vulgate (Friedrich Pustet Verlag, Regensburg, ca. 1900-1920).

Pustet Verlag was at that time publisher to the Holy See (S. Sedis Apostolicae Typographi). Arndt's edition of Scripture had both the imprimatur, and the approbation of the Holy Congregation of the Index. Please clarify how what was permissible then can be impermissible now.

JOR-EL said...

Nowhere does the Church teach that the minor opinion trumps the majority on any point of scriptural exegesis, and the majority of the Fathers, Doctors, Medievals and Scholastics taught (1) ex nihilo creation and (2) a literal six day creation. Period.

Matthew said...

To those of you trying to borrow Saint Augustine in support of the doctrine of evolution: he posited the possibility of an instantaneous and complete Creation, rather than a six-day Creation. He, just like every other Church Father, would never have dreamed of such unCatholic novelty as "theological evolution," and they all believe that the Earth, and all Creation, is ~5000-6000 years old, not millions. Augustine does not support your ideology, so please stop pretending that he lends it justification.

Pio Kolby said...

The Evolutionism is one of the "dogmas" of modern mind.

It goes beyond the purely biological field, and is applied to everything: nothing more is considered to be stable, for it is believed that everything evolves. In this sense, the belief in Evolutionism can be pointed as one of the causes of the triumphant relativism in our days. There would not be any absolute value. No truth, neither moral, neither beauty, neither religion, nor dogmas, nothing would be stable, because all would be under the law of evolution, this one, indeed, is taken as absolute.

So, the actual Evolutionism is more than a biological theory: It is an absolute principle – a religious dogma – of a relativist metaphysics. And there we see it is a symptomatic and revealing contradiction: relativism founds its bases in an absolute principle!
The scope attributed to the Evolutionism is so metaphysic that – obviously – reaches the religious sphere: God Himself is considered an eternal becoming, and not as the Immutable Being, “That one that is" (Ex III, 12).

Father Teilhard de Chardin – who Stephan Jay Gould judges to be the main responsible for the famous fraud of the man of Piltdown (Cfr. JAY GOULD, Stephen, A Conjuração de Piltdown, in A Galinha e seus Dentes, ed. Paz e Terra, São Paulo, 1992, pp. 201 a 226, and, from the same author, O Polegar do Panda, Martins Fontes, S. Paulo, pp. 95 a 109) — has declared:

"Evolution, is it a theory, a system, or a hypothesis?
It is much more than that. It is the general condition to which all theories, all hypothesis, all systems should kneel; a condition to which they must refer to, from now on, in order for them to be taken in account and to be right".(TEILHARD de CHARDIN, The human phenomenon, p. 245).

Julian Huxley, by his turn, shows how the dogma of evolution imposes itself as the foundation of the modern relativist religion:

"In the evolutionist way of thinking, there is no place for supernatural (spiritual) beings capable of affecting the course of human events, nor there is necessity of them. Earth was not created. It was formed by evolution. The human body, the mind, the soul, and everything that was produced, including laws, moral, religions, gods, etc., are entirely result of evolution, by means of the natural selection". (Cfr. HUXLEY, J. Evolution after Darwin, p. 246, apud OSSANDÒN VALDÈS, Juan Carlos, En torno al concepto de evolución, article in the Philosophica magazine, of Santiago, Chile, doctrinary Suplement of the Jesus Christus maganize, number 50, of Buenos Aires).

We believe that these statements by Teilhard de Chardin and Huxley are enough – beyond the exam of what happens today – to confirm what we said above: Evolutionism is the fundamental dogma of modern relativism.

Today, this dogma is impinged by continuous repetition and accepted by everybody, since all society breathes it continuously.

In professor Ossandón Valdés’ article, one finds a quotation from J.C. Mansfield in which he proposes:

"Let high-school students be soaked up with the thinking of evolution so that they get used to think all in terms of process, and not in terms of a static situation".
Clearly, this is what has been put in practice, in worldwide scale, to create in the youth a relativist mentality.

El Cid said...

To John L.'s point: what I think Aquinas, Augustine and others were striving toward was a deeper understanding of the birth of consciousness, i.e. the point in time when man realized he knew that he knew.

It's not unreasonable to view the Old and New Testaments as a chronicle of the development of human consciousness, with Christ as the culmination of sentience. For more on this, I would commend your attention to Pope John Paul II's Fides et Ratio and the works of Julian Jaynes.

Michael Ortiz said...


Well, St. Augustine carries a lot of authority, and he wrote two lengthy works that leave the literal six days to be figurative in regard to time. I mean, the sun wasn't created until the fourth day; how was a day calculated without the sun?

James Kohn said...

Thanks for posting this and gettin the discussion going! Im not a scientist by any means, nor am I a theologian (not even an arm chair one), but I think GK Chesterton has a great corpus of writings dealing with this issue for those interested

Adfero said...

For the love of Pete, please refrain from telling either side to "stop making dogmas." Good heavens this is called debate, we are not in a dogmatic council! Proceed ...

St. Corbinian's Bear said...

As far as I know, it is de fide that Adam and Eve were specially and directly created by God as the first human beings, from whom all other human beings descended. Wasn't this the main point of the sermon?

I found the discussion of the Resurrection of the Body to be very thought-provoking. Will we "once again" evolve over three billion years, or will we our dust be raised as bodies in an instant? If the latter, what difficulty may we propose with Adam and Eve's creation?

Common Sense said...

Our Divine Master isn't a magician, but omnipotent miracle worker. He overides laws of nature in an instant and achieves perfect results. Nobody knows, how God went about the creation. These are His works on one hand and our educated gess on the other.From what I've red, the creation account model makes far greater sense, than intelectualized, ever changing theses of the high priests of evolution. The intolerant and dogmatic theory of evolution propagated by atheistic and agnostic proponents is just another weapon in satans' arsenal.

JOR-EL said...

It appears that some of the "Catholic" Darwinists here in Rorate-land have never bothered reading Pascendi, where the great St. Pius X makes it plain that evolution is the foundational principle of Modernism.

Additionally, those so-called trads might be interested to know that Darwin himself referred to evolution as the "devil's gospel."

elfrancoloco said...

Matthew, thank you for clarifying that the alternative for St. Augustine was an instantaneous creation.

That's not the sense in which I recall him being cited in that early 1900's edition from Pustet Verlag. I only remember it now because it was so striking a thing to find in an approved Catholic commentary. However, I don't have physical access to that volume, and will concede your point that it would have been a misuse or misunderstanding of what St. Augustine himself wrote -- or more likely a misunderstanding on my part.

I still don't think anyone from the "period, end of story" side has addressed the pre-conciliar liberty of inquiry that Pope Pius XII explicitly allowed in Humani Generis. Nor has anyone addressed the curious case of Ludwig Ott.

Here at 0:49 is Fr. Jonathan Romanovski of FSSP Mexico recommending Ott's dogmatic work:

http://www.fsspmexico.mx/clasesdeespiritualidad

JOR-EL said...

Pius XII allowed for the theoretical discussion of particular points of biological evolution between men
formally trained in theology and science, while at the same time he acknowledged the potential danger to faith it represented and additionally, he never sanctioned it for general consumption of the laity nor to be taught to children in school.

Also, recall that wherever God-less communists took over or attempted to take over a country (Russia, Mexico, Spain, etc..) the teaching of evolution was mandated in order to poison the minds of the future generations.

Adfero said...

I am posting this from a priest reader:

"Under evolutionary assumptions, whether theistic or otherwise, man is the result of purely natural processes. Everything that he physically is, and is capable of, is a result of the natural order. The histories of species are determined by actual experiences: environment, predispositions, etc., swayed by chance.

"Now consider the uniquely human ability to consider true, but contrafactual, statements. For example, I could say, "If 3 is an even number, then so is 5." For, if 3 = 2n for some natural number n, then 5 = 2(n+1). Obviously, it is not true that 3 is an even number, but the conditional statement we affirm is still true. Yet it lies quite outside the realm of natural experience. We certainly never experience the falsity of the premise that 3 is even: What is experienced is never contrafactual. How, in evolutionary terms, would we come to a grasp of true statements based on premises that are never experienced? How could a being that is entirely the result of natural processes have any grasp of what is outside the order of environment, experiences, predispositions, and chance? Man can do what nature by itself simply cannot do."

JM said...

Fascinating comments. Of course Catholics are NOT require to believe in six day creationism, etc. Of course, likewise, they ARE required to believe in Man's special creation by God. This is why a statement like "How that speaking, questioning being emerged from a 5 million-year-long lineage of other primates is still a matter of much debate" is troubling. How? For starters, by a special creation of God, right? As to the before or after 5 million years, there is no easy way to dismiss the Genesis account so easily, contra our dear Joseph Ratzinger.

David Homoney said...

We just had a conference on this in the Diocese of Tulsa by the lay run group Dominus Est!. The presentations were done by Mr. Hugh Owen and Mr. John Wynne of The Kolbe Center for Creation Studies (http://www.kolbecenter.org). What a fascinating conference this was. Mr. Owen also delivered another 1 hour conference with a half hour Q&A at Clear Creek Abbey, also in the Diocese of Tulsa. What one quickly learns is that the Emperor of evolution has no clothes. Science is daily proving the falsity of evolution, with it's grounding in a misunderstanding of the geological record. No Catholic can believe in either theistic or atheistic evolution, it is incompatible with the Faith and is flawed from a theological, philosophical, and natural science point of view. We can all pray for the day when this junk science is done away with.

Matthew said...

elfrancoloco,

You are welcome. I have a particular appreciate for Saint Augustine and so I get extra frustrated when he is misused.

JOR-EL,

Salient points - thank you!

Ultimately, there is really no reason to believe in evolution except because one feels some requirement to "get along" with modern thinking, modern man, and so forth. If the starting and finishing point of one's thought process about this is Christ, His Church, and Catholic Truth, and a healthy shunning of the world and its logic, then things fall into place quite nicely I think.

Jordanes551 said...

I'm personally skeptical of evolutionary theory and am inclined to a prima facie reading of Gen. 2. But I don't have any problem with Pius XII's measured and prudent teaching on the subject in Humani Generis. If God created Adam's body through some sort of evolutionary process, that wouldn't conflict with divinely inspired and inerrant Holy Scripture nor with Apostolic Tradition. (One would, of course, need to maintain vigilance at all times in opposing atheistic, materialistic evolutionary ideologies.) I don't think that's how He did it, but either way, the Catholic Faith remains the truth, and apart from acceptance of that Faith salvation is impossible.

Servus Mariae said...

Let us remember too that the same St. Pius X who condemned the heretical concept of doctrinal evolution also approved the following

Denzinger 2128 Question VIII: Whether in that designation and distinction of six days, with which the account of the first chapter of Genesis deals, the word (dies) can be assumed either in its proper sense as a natural day, or in the improper sense of a certain space of time; and whether with regard to such a question there can be free disagreement among exegetes?--Reply: In the affirmative.

elfrancoloco said...

Yes, JOR-EL, I have read Pascendi Dominici Gregis. It appears to be chiefly concerned with opposing the false idea that dogma evolves. The evolution of species does not seem to be mentioned at all. But I could stand to read it again.

The Church, I think, understands how to operate within her own sphere of competence. The world does not, and so we're overrun with pseudoscientific ideologies. Only scientific truth and malleable contemporary morality are acknowledged to be true. However, that error can't be laid at the feet of science.

Regarding Humani Generis -- good point. The permitted discussion in 1950 was limited to those formally trained in the subject matter. The cat has gotten out of the bag since then, but we can stuff him back in for the purposes of this conversation.

I don't claim to be a traditionalist Catholic from Rorate-land. All kinds come here. Let's just say that I'm looking for the spiritual patrimony of which I was robbed, and am open to correction.

Please don't put "Catholic" in scare quotes unless you know me to be a formal heretic. Start by addressing Ludwig Ott, and my case will sort itself out. He was supposed to be a beacon of clarity for me.

I'll check out the Kolbe Center stuff.

Unknown said...

For the Old Testament-New Testament dichotomy types, see Luke, end of chapter 2 (the descent of Our Lord from Joseph back to Adam, "who was of God"), and then explain that one away.

Suffering, disease, and death entered Creation with the fall of Adam. Nature was not created "red in tooth and claw", but perfect. Therefore [argument and references omitted for lack of space] ... mammals et al. were not ripping each other to bits over millions of years before the appearance of Adam.

Moreover, how did anything reproduce before it was fully formed? Think about it.

Before I was Catholic, I believed in evolution, as a matter of course rather than conviction. After becoming Catholic and sorting through this issue, I ask, how did we ever believe this?!? All of society, including Catholics from laymen up to some recent Popes, has been held hostage to this absolute rubbish.

Resolve to ditch human respect today!

John Fisher said...

"Often a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other parts of the world, about the motions and orbits of the stars and even their sizes and distances, ... and this knowledge he holds with certainty from reason and experience. It is thus offensive and disgraceful for an unbeliever to hear a Christian talk nonsense about such things, claiming that what he is saying is based in Scripture. We should do what we can to avoid such an embarrassing situation, lest the unbeliever see only ignorance in the Christian and laugh to scorn." St Augustine (De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim)

John Fisher said...

Yes the word "evolve" is often used instead of adapt or change. It is used to imply onging improvement. It is used to imply all change is improvement. Yet it ignores extinction, living fossils and mutations that do not result in survival.. deformities. So for the unthinking doctrine "evolves" rather than being defined after all truth exists. 'Truths turn into dogmas the instant that they are disputed. Thus every man who utters a doubt defines a religion'.(G K Chesterton)

GMMF said...

Regarding Matthew's comment about St. Augustine, he did present an argument for instantaneous creation, but of things in potency, not in their final form. In Book 6 of "The Literal Meaning of Genesis" he says the six days represent a scheme of instantaneous creation, but the actual formation of things comes after God has rested and could have taken any length of time. For example, of man, he says:

“There can be no doubt, then, that the work whereby man was formed from the slime of the earth and a wife fashioned for him from his side belongs not to that creation by which all thing were made together, after completing which, God rested, but to that work of God which takes place with the unfolding of the ages as He works even now.”

I find this explanation interesting because it also explains why there are two creation accounts of man in Genesis.

John L said...

On the Kolbe Center; it denies the facts I mentioned above about the position of the Fathers on the creation account in Genesis, and on the view of St. Thomas himself.

It then goes on to attribute most of the evils of the modern world (as e.g. support for homosexual 'marriage') to rejection of a literal reading of this creation account.

This is objectionable for obvious reasons mentioned in the discussion above, such as the tarring of Catholics who do not accept this literal reading as being in disagreement with the teaching of the Church. But it is also objectionable for a less obvious but more damaging reason; its claims about this literal reading distract Catholics from the real reason for the bad state of the modern world, which is the rejection of the faith and of the social kingship of Christ. As many popes have explained, this rejection is the reason for the ills that the Kolbe Institute attribute to thinking that the world was not created in six days.

How much effort is spent on promoting the social kingship of Christ, as opposed to promoting the Kolbe Institute's ideas? Why is there such an institute, but no such institute for the promotion of the social kingship of Christ? All this argument about evolution is just a distraction from the main issue of our times.

deprofundis said...

To John L:

I have not visited that site, but is it not true that the spiritual war is between the Mystical Body of Christ (the Catholic Church) and the forces of naturalism and anti- supernaturalism pressing ever harder for false unity in a natural supranational society? Is it not the Kingship of Christ which is under attack from every side? It seems that evolution and the rejection of creation and the eternity of matter (billions snd billions and billions of years) feeds this beast. It is this kind of evolutionary thinking which subverts the true religion (the Catholic Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, the Social Kingship of Christ) from its very beginning in Genesis. The exact meaning of the days of creation is not the real issue. It is a means to sow doubt and destroy belief in God and if not God then creation (by God from nothing), Adam and the Fall, the redemption, etc. The whole Church comes apart using this subversive thinking.

Shane said...

Adfero, this seems to be a straw man. Modern evolutionary theory does not hold that we are 'descended from apes', just that we share a common ancestor. I don't know why this is self-evidently outrageous.

I don't understand why people separate the natural from the supernatural as if they were inherently antithetical. Surely God could have created the pre-existing hospitable conditions for life to have evolved without requiring any direct intervention!

dom. Noah Moerbeek, CPMO said...

I don't see how people can believe in Evolution. Adam was created immortal and Eve from his side.

He fell and we are all now cursed with Original Sin and Death.

Unknown said...

In the Genesis account God first forms the body of man from the slime of the earth. This body is not yet "living". The last act before life is given to the body is that of God blowing through the nostrils of Adam, symbolizing the impairment of the Holy Spirit to Adams soul. Jesus also teaches, "Let the dead bury their own dead". We are clearly talking about death and life on spiritual but real terms. Baptism also imparts spiritual life, and a person is in a single moment "Born again".

In all of this, as the Lord says, the "flesh profits nothing". The flesh is like the gnat in the parable, but the spirit is like the camel. The flesh is necessary for physical life, but the spirit for eternal life, which is infinitely more valuable. Hence it is the action of the breathng of God into the nostrils of Adam that is important, in my opinion.

veneremurcernui said...

All I would like to say is that I am very grateful to Adfero for linking to this sermon by this priest. I know him and love him very much. Our family has been greatly blessed to be under his priestly care for some time. I agree with all he has to say.

Tabernacle of David said...

If you have ever shared the faith with an atheist you immediately see the value of the Kolbe Center. God bless Hugh Owen! I encourage everyone here to go there right now and begin reading. God bless!

ACS67 said...

Catholics are not literalist. We never have been. I don't have a problem with the thought that God may have used a gradual process in creating the world and all that is in it.

Rick O. said...

We believe that when a priest prays the words of consecration over ordinary bread and wine that bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. We believe this even though it is a mystery of the faith. We believe in the Incarnation and yet it remains a mystery of faith. In point of fact, we Catholics believe a whole host of miracles and mysteries of the faith that simply cannot be explained by science.

And yet, we have a hard time believing that God created the entire universe and everything in it, including man as well as the laws that govern said universe, in six days. Am I missing something? I believe I even saw someone on this thread try to make the case that the "dogma" of creation is a protestant thing and even used Benedict XVI to bolster their position. The reality of the situation is that creation is a thoroughly Catholic issue; it belongs to us and it remains deeply rooted in our philosophy and theology. Almost without exception the Fathers of the Church believed in a literal six day creation. And the last time I read Providentissumus Deus (Leo XIII) as well as Vatican I, I believe they both stated that no one is permitted to interpret the Sacred Scriptures apart from the unanimous consent of the Fathers.

The very best book I have ever read on the subject is “A Catholic Assessment of Evolution Theory” by John Wynn. I would implore all of you to read it.

Rick O. said...

We believe that when a priest prays the words of consecration over ordinary bread and wine that bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. We believe this even though it is a mystery of the faith. We believe in the Incarnation and yet it remains a mystery of faith. In point of fact, we Catholics believe a whole host of miracles and mysteries of the faith that simply cannot be explained by science.

And yet, we have a hard time believing that God created the entire universe and everything in it, including man as well as the laws that govern said universe, in six days. Am I missing something? I believe I even saw someone on this thread try to make the case that the "dogma" of creation is a protestant thing and even used Benedict XVI to bolster their position. The reality of the situation is that creation is a thoroughly Catholic issue; it belongs to us and it remains deeply rooted in our philosophy and theology. Almost without exception the Fathers of the Church believed in a literal six day creation. And the last time I read Providentissumus Deus (Leo XIII) as well as Vatican I, I believe they both stated that no one is permitted to interpret the Sacred Scriptures apart from the unanimous consent of the Fathers.

The very best book I have ever read on the subject is “A Catholic Assessment of Evolution Theory” by John Wynn. I would implore all of you to read it.

Jenni said...

You're a creationist?!?! Is this April Fools several weeks late?

I thought this was a Catholic blog, not a fundamentalist one.

New Catholic said...

Hi, everyone. Thanks for your prayers. I would just like to state that on this matter I hold the exact views stated and allowances made by Pius XII in Humani Generis.

And we cannot forget that the theory commonly called "Big Bang" was first proposed by a faithful Monsignor, Msgr. Georges Lemaître. Thank you.

NC

Tabernacle of David said...

As a Catholic convert (Former Protestant Pastor), let me say that this whole "literalist" argument propounded by Catholic Answers and their pseudo-apologists is totally bunk. Fundamentalists aren't even literal enough from a Catholic standpoint, much less "literalist." In Bible College we were taught Biblical Hermeneutics and to understand literary type when exegeting Sacred Scripture. We didn't teach that God has feathers based on Ps. 90 (or 91 depending on how you count), which would be a literalist view.

No, we were not literal enough. We denied Jesus' words "This is My Body" as well as the literal nature of John 3:5 concerning the necessity of water baptism.

Protestant Fundamentalists REDUCE the Catholic Sacred Text to a simplistic group of essentials and allow for complete mayhem and divergence of private interpretation of Sacred Scripture.

God save us from the wacky views of the apologists at Catholic Answers!

Ernie Swart said...

Franko Sokolic
4 Pienaar Road
Milnerton 7441
1-May-2012
The Editor,
The Southern Cross
Cape Town

(editor@scross.co.za)
Dear sir,

Church and Science say “no” to Evolution

I viewed part of the recent televised debate between athiest Richard Dawkins and Cardinal Pell. I was astonished at Cardinal Pell’s support for the belief that we, and thus also our Lord Jesus Christ, are descended from animals. He denied the existence of Adam and Eve and thus undermined the doctrine of original sin as expounded in Pope Paul VI’s “Credo of the people of God” and elsewhere. At Holy Mass, we mention God’s acceptance of “the gifts of Thy just servant Abel” (the son of Adam and Eve).
Much comment about evolution has appeared in “The Southern Cross.”, but nowhere have we read the Church’s dogmatic teaching against evolution as decreed by Lateran Council IV (1215 AD) .

This doctrine states that Almighty God, by His own omnipotent power, created each creature from nothing, spiritual and corporal. By “His own omnipotent power”, means that Almighty God created alone. He did not give His creative power to material things.

Vatican I (1870 AD) stated that “Almighty God produced from nothing, the world and all things which are contained therein, both spiritual and material, as regards their whole substance”.

The phrase “their whole substance” precludes evolution, including theistic evolution. This dogma is also supported in sections 296-298 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Science disproves evolution
The death-blow to evolution theory comes from science itself, in particular, the sciences of molecular biology and genetics. A vast array of data has been analysed and documented across a range of scientific disciplines. Their arguments point away from evolution theory. DNA has been designed so that only variety within kind can occur. The proper term for this is not micro-evolution but genetic variation.

But even before this, the fossil record (Paleontology) proved hostile to the very theory it was supposed to prove. When Darwin issued his “Origin of Species” in 1859, he asked “Why do we not find innumerable transitional forms embedded in the crust of the earth?” To-day, 150 years later, we know the answer. These missing links have not been found because they never existed. This explains why there has been so much fraud by evolutionists. The Piltdown Man fraud, the Peking Man fraud, Haeckel’s photographic fakes of embryos etc. –all done to supply the missing links in support of a theory in crisis. Why do evolutionists still persist in supporting evolution? That answer is given by one of their number “We dare not let a Divine footstep enter the door way”. Darwinian theory broke man’s link with God and, sadly, Darwin became atheistic.

Regarding scripture, and in particular Genesis, the Church instructs us that Scripture texts must be taken as meant literally, unless reason, or necessity, demands that we understand it otherwise. St Augustine tells us that if there is an apparent contradiction between Scripture and proven science fact (there are precious few) then we must examine to see if we have understood Scripture correctly. God made Adam as an adult. He gave us an “adult” Universe with the light from the stars already with us. Scripture, with God as it’s author, is free from error and has nothing to fear from science. (Pope Benedict –S/C May 2-8 2012).

Yours faithfully

FRANKO SOKOLIC
ps Our Lord is not descended from animals!

Pio Kolby said...

LATERAN IV (1215)

God…creator of all visible and invisible things, of the spiritual and of the corporal; who by His own omnipotent power at once from the beginning of time created each creature from nothing, spiritual and corporal, namely, angelic and mundane, and finally the human, constituted as it were, alike of the spirit and the body.

VATICAN I (1869 - 1870)

If anyone does not confess that the world and all things which are contained in it, both spiritual and material, as regards their whole substance, have been produced by God from nothing- let him be anathema (canon 5).

JOR-EL said...

Tabernacle of David,

I concur with regard to the appraisal of "experts" at Catholic Answers. Several years ago I was told face-to face by the senior "apologist" there that Catholics should believe:

(1) That Adam and Eve evolved from simians.
(2) The Genesis account of creation and the Fall (along with the Book of Job) contains myths and thus needs to be interpreted allegorically.
(3) The Great Flood was local, not global.

More recently, on their live call-in radio program, another C.A. "expert" stated that the Destruction of Jericho under Joshua was caused "by an earthquake".

Sheer madness.....

Servus Mariae said...

+JMJt
Of course as Catholics the great thing is that we have a Magisterium which interprets Scripture and Tradition infallibly, and which has already told us what needs be interpreted literally and what can be interpreted allegorically re: the first chapters of Genesis, reiterating what the Fathers and St. Thomas say. So its not an all is literal or nothing is literal debate. With regard to "day" we still use it also in a figurative sense in this day and age

The Historical Character of the Earlier Chapters of Genesis *

[Response of the Biblical Commission, June 30th, 1909]

2121 Question I: Whether the various exegetical systems which have been proposed to exclude the literal historical sense of the three first chapters of the Book of Genesis, and have been defended by the pretense of science, are sustained by a solid foundation?--Reply: In the negative.

2122 Question II: Whether, when the nature and historical form of the Book of Genesis does not oppose, because of the peculiar connections of the three first chapters with each other and with the following chapters, because of the manifold testimony of the Old and of the New Testaments; because of the almost unanimous opinion of the Holy Fathers, and because of the traditional sense which, transmitted from the Israelite people, the Church always held, it can be taught that the three aforesaid chapters of Genesis do not contain the stories of events which really happened, that is, which correspond with objective reality and historical truth; but are either accounts celebrated in fable drawn from the mythologies and cosmogonies of ancient peoples and adapted by a holy writer to monotheistic doctrine, after expurgating any error of polytheism; or allegories and symbols, devoid of a basis of objective reality, set forth under the guise of history to inculcate religious and philosophical truths; or, finally, legends, historical in part and fictitious in part, composed freely for the instruction and edification of souls?--Reply: In the negative to both parts.

2123 Question 111: Whether in particular the literal and historical sense can be called into question, where it is a matter of facts related in the same chapters, which pertain to the foundations of the Christian religion; for example, among others, the creation of all things wrought by God in the beginning of time; the special creation of man; the formation of the first woman from the first man; the oneness of the human race; the original happiness of our first parents in the state of justice, integrity, and immortality; the command given to man by God to prove his obedience; the transgression of the divine command through the devil's persuasion under the guise of a serpent; the casting of our first parents out of that first state of innocence; and also the promise of a future restorer?--Reply: In the negative.

2124 Question IV: Whether in interpreting those passages of these chapters, which the Fathers and Doctors have understood differently, but concerning which they have not taught anything certain and definite, it is permitted, while preserving the judgment of the Church and keeping the analogy of faith, to follow and defend that opinion which everyone has wisely approved?--Reply: In the affirmative.

2125 Question V: Whether all and everything, namely, words and phrases which occur in the aforementioned chapters, are always and necessarily to be accepted in a special sense, so that there may be no deviation from this, even when the expressions themselves manifestly appear to have been taken improperly, or metaphorically or anthropomorphically, and either reason prohibits holding the proper sense, or necessity forces its abandonment?--Reply: In the negative.

2126 Question VI: Whether, presupposing the literal and historical sense, the allegorical and prophetical interpretation of some passages of the same chapters, with the example of the Holy Fathers and the Church herself showing the way, can be wisely and profitably applied?--Reply: In the affirmative.

Servus Mariae said...

2127 Question VII: Whether, since in writing the first chapter of Genesis it was not the mind of the sacred author to teach in a scientific manner the detailed constitution of visible things and the complete order of creation, but rather to give to his people a popular notion, according as the common speech of the times went, accommodated to the understanding and capacity of men, the propriety of scientific language is to be investigated exactly and always in the interpretation of these?--Reply: In the negative.

2128 Question VIII: Whether in that designation and distinction of six days, with which the account of the first chapter of Genesis deals, the word (dies) can be assumed either in its proper sense as a natural day, or in the improper sense of a certain space of time; and whether with regard to such a question there can be free disagreement among exegetes?--Reply: In the affirmative.

Servus Mariae said...

It seems somewhat dishonest that the following article on the following site is http://www.kolbecenter.org/the-traditional-catholic-doctrine-of-creation/
while mentioning the decisions of the PBC does not mention the declaration regarding the approval of day in a figurative sense, nor does it cite the text of Humani Generis nor St. Thomas Aquinas.

John L said...

"We believe that when a priest prays the words of consecration over ordinary bread and wine that bread and wine are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. ... And yet, we have a hard time believing that God created the entire universe and everything in it, including man as well as the laws that govern said universe, in six days. Am I missing something?"

There is something that you are missing. Transsubstantiation is a dogma of the Catholic Church, but the claim that God created the universe in six days is not; no Catholic has any obligation at all to believe it.


"Almost without exception the Fathers of the Church believed in a literal six day creation."

This is the opposite of the truth. Most of the Fathers in the first four centuries did not believe in a literal six day creation. I assume you got your information from Hugh Owen and the Kolbe Center; this is an example of how this center denies the truth.

There is a link between this literalism and Protestantism, although it is not quite so simple as a direct influence from Protestant fundamentalism. The Fathers held that the Scriptures have several senses, and that their meaning was not always literal (in the sense of literal that is opposed to symbolic or metaphorical). The Protestants denied this, and insisted that the Scriptures have only one, literal, sense. They had to do this in order to make their principle of individual interpretation of the Scriptures work; if every Christian is supposed to be able to understand everything in the Scriptures on their own without the help of the Church, the Scriptures cannot have meanings that are not immediately obvious, and symbolic or allegorical meanings have to be excluded. This self-centred approach to the interpretation of Scripture excludes the symbolic interpretations given by most of the Fathers to the account of creation in Genesis, and requires that account to be understood as a literal description. It is unfortunate to see Catholics taking up this approach.

JabbaPapa said...

JOR-EL :


Several years ago I was told face-to face by the senior "apologist" there that Catholics should believe:

(1) That Adam and Eve evolved from simians.


Whatever one's opinion, this statement is evidence-free -- the theory of evolution makes no statement concerning Adam and Eve, any more than it makes a statement concerning the nature of the Incarnation of Our Lord.

(2) The Genesis account of creation and the Fall (along with the Book of Job) contains myths and thus needs to be interpreted allegorically.

Whatever one's opinion, this statement is false.

The Garden of Eden story, howsoever one might interpret it, does NOT belong to the genre of allegorical writing.

The story includes a very rich tapestry of interwoven metaphor, exploration of the fallen condition of mankind, of mankind's personal relationship with God, and a rich array of theological and moral teachings.

To reduce it to trite allegory is to entirely misunderstand its contents.

(3) The Great Flood was local, not global.

A multiplicity of theories exist concerning the Flood. Two things are certain -- not enough water currently exists on our planet to flood everything -- Catholics are required to believe the lessons in Faith and Morals that the Flood story provides, but Catholics are not required to believe the story literally.

Biblical literalism is, otherwise, of Protestant origin.

Adfero said...

Jabba, back off the Protestant labeled. Priests and theologians very knowledgable believe the Bible literally, and they will not be called Protestant here.

Puddn Tane said...

People who believe in virgin births and resurrections of the dead have no business attacking (in the name of "science") people who believe that the events recorded in Genesis 1-11 is historically true and accurate. This glaring inconsistency makes no logical sense and can only be explained as a sociological prejudice: "intellectuals" believe in the virgin birth; "inbred trailer trash" believe in Genesis 1-11. Never mind that one is every bit as scientifically impossible as the other. The virgin birth is "our" miracle while Genesis belongs to "those people." It's absolutely astounding how often defenses of Genesis in Catholic/Orthodox forums bring forth accusations of "Protestantism" (ie, "which trailer park do you live in?"). Ironically, of course, it was liberal Protestants who invented the "higher critical" study of scriptures. Now one must be higher critical in order to prove one isn't a Protestant!

I have actually read that the literal truth of Genesis 1-11 would cause every scientific truth to be falsified. Now that's interesting. A talking donkey, an ax floating, and any number of the miracles of Jesus and the apostles, to say nothing of such major dogmas as I have mentioned above, supposedly would leave scientific knowledge unmolested, but all science will crumble if Genesis 1-11 is true. Genesis 1-11 is "uniquely" impossible. (I've actually argued with someone online who insisted that the donkey may have spoken but that Genesis 1-11 "could not have" happened!).

Somehow God must use "natural means" to create the universe. But what natural means were available to Him before the creation of anything? Was there some primordial matter? Were there physical laws in existence before ex-nihilation that God had to use in order to not destroy our concepts of science? I note that this is a "deeply Catholic" forum, so I will refrain from suggesting the "natural means" He may have used to bring about the virgin birth!

I find it the height of hypocrisy for a Church that claims to be "the" universal church for all people excluding people who accept Genesis 1-11 literally while at the same time boasting of the billions and billions of illiterate peasants it has had as members over the millenia. Those must be some strange illiterate peasants to be more disturbed by Genesis than by any other claim of supernatural phenomena.

The Catholic Church in America has a very deep sociological prejudice against the people of the rural American heartland. Apparently among a Church that has as members Pablo, Pietro, Boleslaw, Tronh, Krikor, etc. Clem and Cletus are an embarrassment. Any church with such a prejudice has no claim to universality.