Vatican Says Evolution & Faith Are Compatible

“One thing is sure. Evolution is not incompatible with faith,” Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, the Vatican’s culture minister, said yesterday at a press conference to announce a large international meeting on evolution and the relationship between biological science and religion to be held in Rome in March. “Creationism from a strictly theological view makes sense,” he said, “but when it is used in scientific fields it becomes useless.”
Earlier this week, the Rev. Malcolm Brown, an Anglican cleric, made headlines for his remarks on evolution, saying that the Church of England owes Darwin an apology for the “wrong” way it first reacted to his theories and for misunderstanding him. While the church never officially condemned Darwin’s theories, many senior officials were hostile—quite publicly—to the idea that humans evolved through natural selection rather than being created in their present form by God. “People, and institutions, make mistakes and Christian people and churches are no exception,” writes Brown, director of mission and public affairs for the church, in his essay “Good Religion Needs Good Science,” which appears on a new section of the church’s Web site devoted to Darwin. (The church calls Brown’s essay a “personal view,” not an official apology, though it says it generally agrees with his position.)
“Subsequent generations have built on Darwin’s work but have not significantly undermined his fundamental theory of natural selection. There is nothing here that contradicts Christian teaching. Jesus himself invited people to observe the world around them and to reason from what they saw to an understanding of the nature of God (Matthew 6: 25–33),” Brown says, adding that it “is hard to avoid the thought that the reaction against Darwin was largely based on what we would now call the ‘yuk factor’ (an emotional not an intellectual response) when he proposed a lineage from apes to humans.”
Brown realizes his view “will remain contentious in some circles. Some Christian movements still make opposition to evolutionary theories a litmus test of faithfulness and—the other side of the coin—many believe Darwin’s theories to have fatally undermined religious belief and therefore reject any accommodation of one by the other,” he says, but for “the sake of human integrity—and thus for the sake of good Christian living—some rapprochement between Darwin and Christian faith is essential.”
Heather Wax

Category: Vatican


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