Pope makes Catholic position on evolution theory clear


Last week, Pope Francis’ words made front page and prime time news again. He said the evolution and Big Bang theories did not conflict with Catholic teaching. But it was really not news.

Only reporters and editors who don’t know what Catholic orthodoxy teaches about creation —which touches on Darwin’s evolution theory and the theory that Sir Fred Hoyle was the first to name the Big Bang in 1950—got excited and gave the Pope’s remarks before the Pontifical Academy of Sciences the status of news. Or maybe they did know–but they just wanted to give the secular public another hope that under Pope Francis the Roman Catholic Church would turn her back on what she has been teaching for centuries as part of the fundamental creed of the Faith.

Pope Francis wonderfully has the gift of giving the Church’s ancient—and taken for granted —teachings modern lyrics and a fresh tune.

When he spoke about the poor, he suddenly made lukewarm consciences of Catholics and other Christians perk up to the teaching that they have a duty to attend to the poverty of people they know and live with in the same community, society, country and planet. Suddenly, these Christians were paying attention to the old cry from Catholic pulpits and papal encyclicals that St. John Paul II the Great included in his Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church: give the “preferential option for the poor.”

So, when Pope Francis spoke about evolution the other week, he was in fact not preparing to issue an amendment to the Church’s doctrine. He was actually reminding people of (1) the tendency of Roman Catholicism to think scientifically and encourage scientific research, (2) the falsity of the anti-Catholic, liberal, secular and atheistic description of the Church as an anti-scientific institution and (3) what the Church actually teaches about creation.

Pope Francis said to the participants in the meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, “When we read about creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God as a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so..…He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one, so they would reach their fulfillment.”

That means, the Pope said, in God’s process of creating the universe, He was applying His supreme principle, and “[T]he Big Bang, that today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it.”

The Holy Father also said, “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”

Scientific method
I suppose Pope Francis was assuming that his audience, being members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, are scientists or at least believers in the correctness of the scientific method. (The Church does not at all object to and in fact supports it, despite the wrong perception created by the sad episode of Galileo for which, Pope John Paul II the Great apologized on behalf of the Catholics who erred, and sinned, in treating the priest-scientist badly). He said we “hold the Big Bang to be the origin of the world.” The fact, however, is the Catechism of the Catholic Church does not condemn those who believe in simplistic Creationism. Therefore, some Catholics may perfectly not “hold the Big Bang to be the origin of the world” (by which is meant “the physical universe.”)

Here are the two Numbers in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that are about the Theology of Creation and how it relates to natural science:

“283 The question about the origins of the world and of man has been the object of many scientific studies which have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man. These discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator, prompting us to give him thanks for all his works and for the understanding and wisdom he gives to scholars and researchers. With Solomon they can say: “It is he who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists, to know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements. . . for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me.”

“284 The great interest accorded to these studies is strongly stimulated by a question of another order, which goes beyond the proper domain of the natural sciences. It is not only a question of knowing when and how the universe arose physically, or when man appeared, but rather of discovering the meaning of such an origin: is the universe governed by chance, blind fate, anonymous necessity, or by a transcendent, intelligent and good Being called ‘God’? And if the world does come from God’s wisdom and goodness, why is there evil? Where does it come from? Who is responsible for it? Is there any liberation from it?”

These points, I believe, are now being taken more seriously by catechists, professors in seminaries and Catholic universities, and in tertulias among Catholics who wish to upgrade their knowledge of their Faith. And this is happening because our Pope has charismatically talked about the subject, which liberal mass media made headlines of.

Reiterating the old moral sense
The same thing happened when Pope Francis mentioned homosexuality and unusual circumstances that, often tragically, happen to married Catholics who have ended up being divorced.

It turns out that all the Pope wants to remind us all is to continue loving and caring for our fellow Catholics who are divorced and have illicitly married other persons or have a homosexual orientation and are unable to restrain themselves from acting on their “love that dare not name itself.”

He just wants all of us to be doers of our Lord Jesus Christ’s commandment to love and care for ALL our fellow human beings, which logically means specially our own siblings, relatives and friends–no matter if they are sinners. In fact, I think, we have an extra duty to be more caring and loving to them.

Pope Francis last Friday, reiterated the old moral sense the Church has always advocated, in his homily at his Mass at Casa Santa Marta. In the Zenit report by Junno Arocho Esteves, titled “Pope Francis says Worldly Christians are enemies of the Cross, warns against falling into a mediocre mentality,” he is quoted as saying: “We must be careful not to slip toward the path of being pagan Christians, Christians in appearance [only].”

The Pope reflected on St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. In it, the Apostle warns against those Christians who “live like enemies of the cross of Christ.”

“Their end is destruction. Their God is their stomach; their glory is in their ‘shame.’ Their minds are occupied with earthly things,” St. Paul writes.

Calling them “pagan Christians,” the Pope described these people as those who identify themselves as Christians yet live a pagan life.”

“The temptation to get used to mediocrity, the mediocrity of Christians, these Christians, it is their undoing because their hearts cool, they become lukewarm,” the Pope said. “And the Lord had strong words for these lukewarm [Christians]: ‘because you are lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth’. These are very strong words! They are enemies of the Cross of Christ. They take the name, but do not follow the requirements of Christian life.”


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  1. The basic question still remains, is the Universal Supreme Being who created the universe ( some will say He is the universe itself ) the same entity as God the Father in the bible? If yes, then why is the God who created all the stars in the sky mercilessly capable of sending a man to 14 billion years ( the current estimate of the age of the universe) of eternal damnation FOR WEARING A CONDOM? Secondly, is Pope Francis finally admitting,albeit indirectly, that the path to God is through science? What will happen if the synod’s decision, a political process, collides with science? For example, the principle of non-locality in physics strongly implies that anybody is capable of connecting with God directly without need for intervention, but the Church teaches that one has to be a Catholic first. Pano yan? Just asking.

  2. Dear Mr. Bas,
    I am not quite sure, that the Pope is merely enunciating the Church, in your words, “Ancient teaching” giving it a new beat. Recently, Time magazine reported, that Pope Francis fired Cardinal Raymond Burke, Archbishop of St. Louis simply because he was critical of the doctrinal emphasis and preferential stance of the current Pope. According to Time magazine, the Cardinal now heads a ceremonial position as chaplain of the Knights of Malta, a charity organization. The Pope’s position on gays and divorce Catholics seems to me has created a deeper and wider division among the Catholic leadership. Several months into his position, he already called some kind of a conference next year which appears to be a review of the Church position on current issues. The two previous Popes did not go near to where this current Pope is treading. It may not be comparable to the Vatican II of the sixties but I would venture to say that it is closed. To many who are outside of the Catholic Faith, Pope Francis presents a more amiable and open, even revolutionary thinking. Apparently, Pope Francis is living the kind of life that St. Francis advocated.
    “O Divine Master,
    Grant that I may not so much seek
    To be consoled, as to console;
    To be understood, as to understand;
    To be loved as to love.”

    If this is what you mean by your thesis, I would have to agree with you. But those of us who do not belong to the Catholic Church, I see a leader who is passionately devoted first to Christ. Because he was trained as a scientist, his scientific mind provides an avenue not only for a serious dialogue with the world but significant changes for the Church he now leads. Although as I said, I don’t belong to the Church, yet I would hate to see those so called conservatives marginalized or sidelined while the so called liberals are given a seat at the table. I am sure the Holy Spirit would give the Pope the insight to lead the Church that has provided the stability to this…

  3. It is a very simple question for an Atheist to produce a believable answer. How did the universe begin? You have have the big bang theory. They said that everything has a beginning. So the question will always begin and end with “how did it begin”.

  4. Bonifacio Claudio on

    So there is now denial that God is a magician, that for evolution to occur, there must first be the creation of that “point” – that “it” – collapsing against itself that started the bigbang. But how did God made that “it” to exist if HE were not a magician; also, where was HE when HE created the “it”? Without magic, the belief in an ALMIGHTY SPIRIT would crumble on inconsistencies & fallacy incoherent with the manuscripts written about One Divine “SPIRIT” Creator of a “PHYSICAL” Universe. Anyhow, even the scientific’s presupposition of the existence of the “it” is non other than religion. Hay ‘na ko… naghalo na ang balat sa tinalupan aiiii… As we go on with our discussion expecting to put an end to the matter, we find ourselves back to the point where we started. Dios ko po naman, ehek, patawarin… A Filipino poet once wrote “If I aim an arrow at you, it is not to kill you but to fathom you”… Yun na yun… Amen.

  5. Claro Apolinar on

    Mr. Bas, you should write more articles telling us about what Pope Francis has recently and how te secular mass media have made a hash of it and what should be the faithful Catholic position on the issue.

  6. The Galileo-thing is just an example that what one Pope declares in one generation, another Pope several generations later will say as false and apologize for.

    So Bas cannot say… the CBCP cannot say about divorce what Catholic Church, in year 2060 will say. Ganuon lang iyon.

  7. Nory Cabanilla on

    I believe in the stanch of the Pope regarding creation and evolution. I believe that evolution is a part of creation. God is not a magician.

    • HE is God Almighty…kaya Niya gawin lahat nang nais…mas higit pa Siya sa magician na napapanuod niyo sa perya

  8. What should Pinoys of Pinas do about BBL? Christ as God? Profeto lang, hindi espesyal. Ano, puwede bang magtayo nag mga bagong Katoliko eskuwela kapag BBL naging batas?

  9. Evolution at bigbang!
    1.evolution, katulad lang yan ng tinatawag na taong grasa!wala kang kahit ano,para linisin ang iyong sarili,taong maykaya meron sila lahat para magaganda
    ang buhay,simple lang ang tao noon ay di pa alam ang gunting para putulin at linisin ang kuko nila!
    2. Bigbang! Bakit sa dinami-dami ng planeta iisa lang ang araw
    Pope francis ang taong mabibigay ng bago simula sa faith ng mga katoliko,ang lahat ng turo ng katoliko ay itatakwil na nila dahil ang lahat ay isang malaking pagkakamali!
    A new protestant without name! Not yet!