The Pope Is Asked To Address Evolution
Three scientists, two of them Roman Catholic biologists, have asked Pope Benedict XVI to clarify the church's position on evolution in light of recent statements by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, an influential theologian, that the modern theory of evolution may be incompatible with Catholic faith. The scientists asked the pope to reaffirm earlier statements on the subject by Pope John Paul II and others "that scientific rationality and the church's commitment to divine purpose and meaning in the universe were not incompatible." It is crucial, their letter says, "that in these difficult and contentious times the Catholic Church not build a new divide, long ago eradicated, between the scientific method and religious belief."
Lawrence M. Krauss, a physicist at Case Western Reserve University, wrote the letter on behalf of himself and the two biologists, Dr. Francisco J. Ayala of the University of California, Irvine, a former Dominican priest, and Kenneth R. Miller of Brown University, a Roman Catholic who has written on the reconciliation of science and faith. Cardinal Schönborn's remarks, which appeared Thursday in an essay on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times, were prompted in part by an essay Dr. Krauss wrote in Science Times in May on the compatibility of religion and evolution. The Vatican press office, contacted Tuesday, had no comment on Cardinal Schönborn's article.
Personally, I believe today's article misrepresents Cardinal Schoenborn's stance on evolution. When you read the Cardinal's op-ed piece, what he in fact insists on is that the "neo-Darwinian" view that animals evolved as a result of "an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection" is unacceptable for Christians. He rightly states that the Church teaches that the hand of the living God directed the emergence of life on earth, no matter how long it took. Our world shows the marks of divine design, not mere random chance. It strikes me that practically any Christian would have to agree with that. Surely the fact that God created heaven and earth and is the Lord of life is not negotiable for Christians, no matter how liberal they are--isn't it? Benedict XVI has already put it beautifully himself: "We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary."