The media did it again. They took Pope Francis’ words and made it seem as if the Pope “woke up” to reality, if you will. What did they do? Well.. they took the Pope’s words on the theories of Evolution and Cosmic Inflation as the Pope finally accepting science.
Some news articles online even had a photo of the Pope with head held down and hand palms on face as if he was embarrassed or ashamed. The photo was used in order to convey the subliminal message, “the Pope finally admits science rules and he’s embarrassed.”
Many atheists took to Twitter, Facebook, Google + and other forums to mock the Pope and make it seem as if they were right all along and that the Pope finally caught up. This is far from the truth and only demonstrates the ignorance atheists are plagued with which they circulate among themselves as if it were factual just to get a laugh or to troll Christians.
What the Pope said is not new at all. The Catholic Church has always stated that its teachings are compatible with both the Theory of Evolution and Cosmic Inflation, more commonly known as the “Big Bang Theory.” Ironically, both theories were formulated by Christians! One of them (Darwin) wanted to be a Protestant minister, while the other was actually a Catholic priest (Georges Lemaitre). Atheists had NOTHING to do with these theories which they hold dear as their supposed “weapons” against religion and God.
As stated, the Pope did not say anything new nor did he just realized that science has valid points. He was simply repeating what was already the position of the Catholic Church while honoring Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Here is what he said:
“Dear Brothers in the Episcopate and Priesthood,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen!
As the veil of the bust fell, which the Academicians wished to have in the headquarters of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, in sign of recognition and gratitude, a joyful emotion arose in my mind. This bust of Benedict XVI recalls to everyone’s eyes the face of our beloved Pope Ratzinger. It also recalls his spirit: that of his teachings, of his examples, of his works, of his devotion to the Church, to his present “monastic” life. This spirit, far from crumbling with the passage of time, will appear from generation to generation, always greater and more powerful.
Benedict XVI: a great Pope. Great for the strength and penetration of his intelligence; great for his important contribution to theology; great for his love in addressing the Church and human beings; great for his virtue and his religiosity. As you well know, his love for the truth is not limited to theology and philosophy, but is open to the sciences. His love of science overflows in his concern for scientists, without distinction of race, nationality, civilization, or religion; his concern for the Academy with his presence and his word; moreover, he appointed many of its members, including the current President, Werner Arber.
Benedict XVI invited, for the first time, a president of this Academy to take part in the Synod on the New Evangelization, conscious of the importance of science in modern culture. It will certainly not be able to be said of him that study and science dried up his person and his love in his encounters with God and his neighbor but, on the contrary, science, wisdom and prayer dilated his heart and spirit. We thank God for the gift He made to the Church and the world with the existence and pontificate of Pope Benedict. I thank all those who, generously, made possible this work and this ceremony, in particular, the creator of the bust, sculptor Fernando Delia, the Tua Family, and all the Academicians. I wish to thank all of you who are present here to honor this great Pope.
At the conclusion of your Plenary Session, dear Academicians, I am happy to express my profound esteem and my warm encouragement to carry forward scientific progress and the improvement of the conditions of life of people, especially the poorest.
You are addressing the highly complex topic of the evolution of the concept of nature. I will not go into it all, you understand well the scientific complexity of this important and decisive question. I only wish to underline that God and Christ walk with us and are present also in nature, as the Apostle Paul affirmed in his address at the Areopagus: “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). When we read in Genesis the account of Creation, we risk imagining that God was a magician, with such a magic wand as to be able to do everything. However, it was not like that. He created beings and left them to develop according to the internal laws that He gave each one, so that they would develop, and reach their fullness. He gave autonomy to the beings of the universe at the same time that He assured them of his continual presence, giving being to every reality. And thus creation went forward for centuries and centuries, millennia and millennia until it became what we know today, in fact because God is not a demiurge or a magician, but the Creator who gives being to all entities. The beginning of the world was not the work of chaos, which owes its origin to another, but it derives directly from a Supreme Principle who creates out of love. The Big-Bang, that is placed today at the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine intervention but exacts it. The evolution in nature is not opposed to the notion of Creation, because evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve.
In regard to man, instead, there is a change and a novelty. When, on the sixth day of the Genesis account, we come to the creation of man, God gives the human being another autonomy, a different autonomy from that of nature, which is freedom. And He tells man to give a name to all things and to go forward in the course of history. He renders him responsible for creation, also so that he will dominate Creation, so that he will develop it and so forth until the end of time. Therefore, the attitude that corresponds to the scientist, especially to the Christian scientist is to question himself about the future of humanity and of the earth and, as a free and responsible being, to contribute to prepare it, to preserve it, and to eliminate the risks of the environment, be they natural or human. However, at the same time, the scientist must be moved by trust that hidden nature, in its evolving mechanisms, of potentialities that concern the intelligence and freedom, to discover and to act to arrive at development, which is in the plan of the Creator. Then, although limited, man’s action participates in the power of God and is able to build a world adapted to his twofold corporeal and spiritual life; to build a human world for all – for all human beings, and not for a group or a privileged class. This hope and trust in God, Author of nature, and in the capacity of the human spirit, are able to give the researcher new energy and profound serenity. However, it is also true that man’s action, when his liberty becomes autonomy, — which is not liberty but autonomy — destroys creation and man takes the place of the Creator. And this is the grave sin against God the Creator.
I encourage you to continue your works and to carry out that felicitous theoretical and practical initiatives in favor of human beings, which do them honor. I now joyfully consign the necklace that Monsignor Sanchez Sorondo will give the new Members. Thank you.”
[Original text: Italian] (http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-francis-address-at-inauguration-of-bronze-bust-of-benedict-xvi)
In previous posts, I wrote the following regarding Evolution:
“We cannot read the accounts of Creation in Genesis literally. This will bring about many problems.
The Catholic Church does not have an official position on creation only that God created us. However, Evolution seems to be the side the Church takes. The recent pontificates of Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have publicly voiced approval of the theory of Evolution.
The first mention of evolution was in the encyclical Humanis Generis. Pope Pius XII states:
“The Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experiences in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God.”
Pope Pius XII basically says that evolution can be accepted as long as the teaching that souls are immediately created by God is held alongside it.
Blessed John Paul II had this to say to the Pontifical Academy for the Sciences in 1996:
“In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII has already affirmed that there is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation, provided that we do not lose sight of certain fixed points…. Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical, some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than a hypothesis. In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies—which was neither planned nor sought—constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.”
Here the late Pontiff states that evolution and faith are not in disagreement. He even goes as far as giving merit to the theory of evolution as being supported by evidence.
Pope Benedict XVI as Cardinal Ratizinger wrote:
“We cannot say: creation or evolution, inasmuch as these two things respond to two different realities. The story of the dust of the earth and the breath of God, which we just heard, does not in fact explain how human persons come to be but rather what they are. It explains their inmost origin and casts light on the project that they are. And, vice versa, the theory of evolution seeks to understand and describe biological developments. But in so doing it cannot explain where the ‘project’ of human persons comes from, nor their inner origin, nor their particular nature. To that extent we are faced here with two complementary—rather than mutually exclusive—realities.” -In the Beginning: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall
Evolution is an important theory to teach our children. The story of Creation is also important to teach. However, this story must be taught in a way that children can understand it in relation to what we know today via evolution. Who cares if we came from slime, fish, apes or a rock. The important thing is that God created us and we are here now.
In 1987, the United States Supreme Court ruled the teaching of Creationism unconstitutional… Evolution does not disqualify God as Creator. If anything, it shows the genius of God and how He uses natural processes in order to bring about life.”
Pope Emeritus Benedict the XVI also voiced his concern at the mere existence of the Evolution vs Creationism debate. He stated, “They [creationism/evolution] are presented as alternatives that exclude each other, this clash is an absurdity because on one hand there is much scientific proof in favor of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and which enriches our understanding of life and being as such.” Pope Emeritus calls the debate “an absurdity” and rightfully so. It is preposterous to adhere to a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis in light of scientific facts that exist today.” (http://www.sacerdotus.com/2013/05/creationism-harms-christianity.html)
There is nothing contradictory between both theories and the idea that God is creator. It does not contradict the Catholic faith. Both theories actually help prove the existence of an intelligent being whose purpose was to create a universe with specificity and order. The Church gave us science as we know it today, so it would be silly to give false impressions that the Pope just “discovered” evolution or the big bang theory as being valid, real and true. As for the “God/Magic Wand” thing, I am assuming the Pope made this comment in response to the caricaturing of God done by new atheists who often describe Him as a “Sky Wizard.” The Pope is making it clear that atheists got it wrong (as usual) and that Creationists are in fact harming Christianity and the accounts found in Genesis.
My friend and Biologist Dr. Gauger wrote an excellent post on this, check it out at: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/10/on_evolution_po090761.html