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Weekend reading: The Solemn Enthronement of Evolution in the Church May 16, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, catachesis, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Papa, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society.

Boniface at Unam Sanctam Catholicam hits one out of the park with this lengthy examination on how Church leadership over the past century and a half have radically changed the Church’s public position regarding the theory of the evolution of species.  He goes through the history of the, uh…….evolution of the Church’s position regarding Darwinian evolution, and shows how initial hostility and denunciations have morphed into not just acceptance, but seeming endorsements that there is nothing in the theory of evolution that is counter to Scripture or Tradition.

This is a very troubling position to take, as so much error spins out from acceptance of evolution that it is one of the more common ways people fall away from the Faith.  But Boniface shows, in a very well researched and supported piece, that Church leadership, especially since Vatican II, has all but enthroned the theory of evolution as some kind of scientific doctrine of the Faith.  The piece is lengthy, but very much worth your time.  It should make excellent reading.

Some brief excerpts from the beginning and end of the piece (I add comments, emphasis):

While it is an established point of our faith that the Church cannot change teachings that have been definitively proposed to the faithful for belief, the about-face the Catholic Church has done on the question of evolution since the mid-19th century is nothing short of revolutionary – revolutionary in the most literal sense of the word, “to turn around”, for the Church has done just that, turned around on its approach to evolution and questions surrounding the origin of human life. In this article, we will trace the origins of the Church’s interaction with evolutionary theology and witness how, while the papacy of the 19th century condemned evolution as incompatible with Christian theology, the late 20th century Magisterium has essentially enthroned the theory as a permanent fixture of Catholic thought. The two most influential theologians behind this enthronement were none other than Teilhard de Chardin and Joseph Ratzinger. [I was certainly aware of the former’s role in creating a heretical vision of Catholicism that was subordinate to the theory of evolution in every regard. In fact, much of the modernist heresy grew out of attempts to reconcile Catholicism with Darwinian evolution, with the evolution always predominate. But I was quite unaware of Joseph Ratzinger’s involvement in this whole process, and that part of the study was most eye-opening.  Reading this was akin to me to seeing photos of Pope Saint John Paul II kissing the koran.]

Now, from the conclusion:

Meanwhile the modern Magisterium has continued to promote evolution as a viable cosmology and speaks out against attempts to return to the traditional understanding of creation.[And that latter bit is even more significant than the former.  It is yet another indication of the new religion unleashed in the past few decades]  John Paul II’s words to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, in which he remarked that evolution “is more than a hypothesis”, are well known [33]. In 2005, the chief Vatican astronomer Fr. George Coyne said that  “If [Catholics] respect the results of modern science, and indeed the best of modern biblical research, religious believers must move away from the notion of a dictator God or a designer God” and stated that attempts to discern design in the created order are “not science” [34]. So much for St. Paul’s teaching in Romans 1 that the Creator can be discerned from the creation! Cardinal Schönborn also enthusiastically endorses evolution – and not only evolution, but Darwinian evolution: “Without a doubt, Darwin pulled off quite a feat with his main work and it remains one of the very great works of intellectual history. I see no problem combining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution” [35]. This should come as no surprise, considering the Cardinal’s gushing appraisal of the work of Teilhard.

Essentially, what we have witnessed is nothing other than the solemn enthronement of evolution as a viable explanation for the origins of humanity. Although the last official pronouncement on the matter remains Pius XII’s Humani Generis, few Catholic theologians today are willing to admit the existence of a literal Adam and Eve, and most have not worked out how this can work with the Church’s doctrine of original sin.[Indeed, if Genesis 1-3 are simply mythology, then the entire economy of salvation falls apart, or becomes, at best, a sort of symbolic, ethereal spiritualism without concrete reality.  Acceptance of evolution leads, almost invariably, to denial of the Incarnation of God]  Those who have tried to formulate a resolution have, like Ratzinger, tried to inject more evolutionary theory into the Faith to solve the problems posed by evolutionary theory, such as advocating polygenism or novel understandings of original sin. We have also witnessed the theological precision demonstrated by the careful inquiries of the late 1800’s lost as the limits of what is acceptable continue to be pushed by evolutionist theologians. Contrast the 1895 opinion of Fr. Buonpensiere that any attempt to harmonize evolution and creation was damaging to the faith to Cardinal Schönborn’s opinion that there is “no problem” reconciling Darwinism and the Faith, of Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi’s 2009 comment that “The Catholic Church cannot change its teaching when that teaching has been definitively proposed for the faithful. However, in the question of evolution and its theological import, we have seen something very close to a revolution in the past generation – a revolution in support of a theory which Pope St. Pius X predicted would be the “wreck of all religion” [Indeed. One can track the collapse of various protestant sects with the widespread acceptance within those sects of Darwinian evolution, and find that there is a very close correlation between the two.  But we’re so much more sophisticated now!  That’s why our churches and seminaries and religious houses are full to overflowing!  And it’s such a gorgeous spring!]

————–End Quote————

My thanks to Boniface for taking the time to write this most illuminating manuscript.  Please check out the entire Unam Sanctam Catholicam site, it is a treasure of catechesis and traditional formation.

My Lord, do we have so very much to pray for.


1. Dr. Gregory Hamilton - May 16, 2014

Evolution in some form is now scientifically provable. It is horrible that Catholics with to return to the stone age. News:
The sun does not revlve around the earth. you need to acknowlege what every pope has realised, that evolotion is how God did it.

LaGallina - May 16, 2014

Every pope has realized? Wow! How do you know what EVERY pope has realized?

The fact that crop pests can become resistant to Roundup or that the flu virus mutates is not proof that Eve was a monkey.

Observer - May 18, 2014

Evolution is a theory…a working hypothesis, and it does not say “Eve was a monkey”. To get an appreciation of evolution, a good book to read is, ‘The Neanderthals’ by E. Trinkhaus and P. Shipman.

2. Boniface - May 16, 2014

“Every pope has realized”? Please read the article. Clearly they have not.

3. Boniface - May 16, 2014


Yes, for many it is eye-opening to find out that Benedict XVI swallows Teilhardism in its entirety.

4. Pseudodionysius - May 16, 2014

Well, evolution has spawned two Popes in the present day.

5. Kevin Shook (@DFWSHOOK) - May 16, 2014

One of my favorite lines on the subject – from the movie Gettysburg.

Major General George E. Pickett: Sirs, perhaps there are those among you who believe you are descended from a ape. I suppose there may even be those among you who believe that I am descended from a ape. But I challenge the man to step forward who believes that General Robert E. Lee is descended from a ape.

6. TE - May 16, 2014

The quote from Pope St. JPII’s speech to the PAS was originally translated from the French original into English as: “Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical, some new findings lead us toward the recognition of more than one hypothesis within the theory of evolution.”, which is not an endorsement of evolution. Also, according to his papal theologian, Cardinal Cottier, the pope did not attend the meeting. The address was delivered to the PAS without a papal audience. Cardinal Cottier, who wrote part of the address, never saw the final version, which was completed by someone else (not the pope). Pope B16 was reported by major media as endorsing the Big Bang Theory in his 2011 homily for the Feast of the Epiphany. It’s easy enough to find online, and anyone can read it and see that the Big Bang Theory was never mentioned. Pope Pius XII is claimed by Wikipedia contributors to take a neutral position on evolution in Humani Generis. A reading of HG will find Pius teaching that the first 11 chapters of Genesis are to be accepted as true history. John 5:46-47: “For if you did believe Moses, you would perhaps believe me also: for he wrote of me.
But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

7. Aaron - May 17, 2014

A couple of points… The Church has always been at the forefront of scientific research and discovery. Our approach to the study of God’s creation has always been with a mind and heart open to discovering truths about the universe, to better understand our natural world. And the Church has, in the last 150 years, been open to new evidence that seems to point to natural selection and evolution.

I don’t know why some people consider this a threat to the faith. We can either deny the prevailing theories accepted by the scientific community and our Church leaders, or we can continue to insist that our preconceived notions about the wonders of creation are absolute and will not be changed, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. The faith of Pius XII doesn’t appear to have been shaken by accepting evolution, nor any of the other Popes that followed. You simply can’t conduct honest scientific research if you are not open to making some unexpected discoveries. You have to be open to whatever you find. If your faith is so fragile that the idea of evolution threatens it, then what becomes of your faith when the evidence becomes too overwhelming?

8. Observer - May 18, 2014

The early fathers of the Church (2nd – 3rd century) in their desire to “reinforce” the New Testament gave far too much weight to the Old Testament which was in reality a diverse collection of writings reflecting an outlook based in the Bronze Age. This action had the unintended consequence of painting into a corner the future intellectual development of the Church.
Darwin’s evolutionary theory is a simple theory, in fact it is too simple! This is especially apparent when we compare it to the great scientific theories developed during the 19th century which in the 20th century became rock-solid “laws”.
Having said that, I must add that I’m not a fan of Fr. T de C. His “magnum opus” ‘The Phenomenon of Man’ is full of rather turgid prose and novel verb forms so beloved of French “intellectuals”. So there may be some truth in the accusation that he was a bit of a light weight!
For those of a somewhat mystical frame of mind I can recommend Rupert Sheldrake’s book ‘The Presence of the Past’. The author is a working scientist but is considered a “heretic” by most biologists! Worth a read!!

9. Observer - May 18, 2014

It is a bit of a mystery how Fr. T de C’s views have achieved such wide influence within the Church. His ‘magnum opus “The Phenomenon of Man” is quite frankly a very turgid read full of novel verb forms that are so beloved by French ‘intellectuals’.

10. LaGallina - May 18, 2014

Science is never, ever going to be able to prove evolution. It is not going to happen.

Unfortunately, the theory of evolution is the only theory that is allowed to be discussed or studied by “respectable” scientists. That doesn’t mean evolution is true. It just means that even scientists are afraid of questioning the status quo. (So much for rugged individualism.)

The Darwinists have made such a dogma of their theory, that they absolutely cannot handle any threat to it. It is their god – period. If you blaspheme their god, you will pay.

That’s partly what got me to end my Christian-hating agnosticism, and come to the Church. A debate on NPR attempting to crush the Neanderthal Intelligent Design crowd got me thinking: “Why do I listen to this smug holier-than-thou crap?” And I believed in evolution back then. But the evolutionists were just such jerks about it, that I decided to rebel and stop being a brain-washed NPR zombie.

Thus my search for God began. Now my continued search for someone in the Catholic Church who does not sing the praises of evolution has brought me to Tradition. Trad priests are the only Catholic priests who still believe that God created the world.

Observer - May 19, 2014

Not all biologists attend the church of “St Darwin”. One such guy is Rupert Sheldrake and his book ‘The Presence of the Past’ caused quite a stir a few years back. He is a scientific ‘heretic’ and persona non grata within his profession. However, his book is coolly argued, thought provoking and well worth reading.

LaGallina - May 19, 2014

Not all biologists believe in evolution.

tantamergo - May 19, 2014

I think we can see in the anthropocentric global warming nightmare just how peer pressure, elite opinion, and most of all funding conspire to drive supposedly enlightened, rational, disinterested scientists to become rabid partisans of cultural/political dogma. AGW is the most pathetic excuse for “science” I have seen in my entire life. It is an entirely political agenda driven by a small cabal of well connected scienticians using brute force to crush all opposition and push a totally unsubstantiated theory as fact.

Which is rather exactly like evolution. I don’t know why we keep falling for it.

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