By Michael Chaberek O.P.
For Catholics, the query of evolution touches on all of the most crucial issues: the character of God and his paintings on this planet, the character of lifestyles, and the prestige of guy within the universe. it's also a subject matter of perennial controversy and confusion. a few see the Darwinian idea of evolution as a huge agent in discrediting the Church's doctrine on production, undermining biblically-based morality and the concept that of human exceptionalism. Others regard Darwinian concept as suitable with biblical religion and Catholic culture. Has the Church itself "evolved"? Or are there yes truths which are everlasting and irreplaceable?
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Extra info for Catholicism and Evolution: A History from Darwin to Pope Francis
Lyell believed this method to be highly reliable. Thus, during the decade prior to the publication of The Origin of Species (1859), Darwin had at his disposal a complete system of ideas regarding evolution. From his childhood, Charles Darwin (1809–1882) was fascinated by nature. He eagerly observed and collected various plants and animals. His poor ability to work systematically prevented him from graduating from medical school in Edinburgh, where his father had sent him at the age of sixteen. Therefore, with further encouragement from his father, he went to Cambridge to study theology and thus prepare himself for the function of a pastor of the Church of England.
The ordinary notion may, I think, be described as this,—that the Almighty Author produced the progenitors of all existing species by some sort of personal or immediate exertion. But how does this notion comport with what we have seen of the gradual advance of species, from the humblest to the highest?. . Some other idea must then be arrived at in regard to the mode in which the Divine Author proceeded in the organic creation. Let us seek in the history of the earth’s formation for a new suggestion on this point.
Catholicism currently lacks a straightforward answer to the question of whether evolution, understood as the origin of species, is compatible with the Church’s teaching. Furthermore, until at least the middle of the 20th century, the Church maintained a coherent and clearly expressed position (on the level of the ordinary teaching) on the issue of the direct creation of man, with reference to the soul and the body. Therefore, the opinion that the Catholic Church never had any difficulty with Darwin’s theory contradicts what is found in Church documents.
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