As some of you may know I recently was more or less forced to leave my church home of eight years because I publicly via this blog said I believe that the earth is more than 6,000 years old. The leadership of the denomination insists that this idea is heresy. In that light it was interesting to note the article today about the Catholic church very publicly professed that they are no longer teaching creationism. Here is an excerpt from that article and the URL to the source.
Benedict and his predecessor John Paul have been trying to shed the Church’s image of being anti-science, a label that stuck when it condemned Galileo for teaching that the earth revolves around the sun, challenging the words of the Bible.
Galileo was rehabilitated and the Church now also accepts evolution as a scientific theory and sees no reason why God could not have used a natural evolutionary process in the forming of the human species.
The Catholic Church no longer teaches creationism — the belief that God created the world in six days as described in the Bible — and says that the account in the book of Genesis is an allegory for the way Godcreated the world.
The Galileo thing has been a constant millstone around the church’s neck in regard to science. It is nice to see that the biggest Christian denomination in the world has finally embraced God given scientific revelation. It is too bad that my previous church still stubbornly clings to the seven twenty four hour day theory. Of course the Bible story is an allegory for what actually happened just as many of the other stories in the Bible are allegories. The people at the time these stories were written were just not ready for the full truth. With the stories being allegorical take nothing away from the message presented. To take a literal view of these stories is myopic and hurting God’s kingdom on earth.
6 thoughts on “Creationism Gone in Catholic Church”
In case you’re interested, let me help you with your understanding.
1. The Catholic Church is not a Christian denomination. It is the mother of all Christian churches. All Christian denominations stem from Catholicism.
2. The Catholic Church does not say that belief in Creationism is wrong. We believe the Bible is what it is and that the Creation story is true. It is just not science. We believe the Bible tells us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.
3. The Catholic Church is not and never has been in the business of science. So the Catholic Church will never affirm evolution, the big bang or anything else. That’s science’s job. We already know what happens when science and religion mix, or contend against each other.
4. Please do not rely on Yahoo, AP or any secular media to give you news about what’s happening in the Catholic Church. Verify with a reliable Catholic News Service like National Catholic Register. Here’s their story on what happened in the Vatican: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/pope-benedict-celebrates-the-epiphany/
Looking for a new Church? Come home to Rome. If you want help, let me know.
The scriptures DO NOT teach a literal seven day creation. That is interpretative. There are several theories about the creation story and you describe one of them that the Catholic Church has decided to embrace. We really just do not know what happened. Science, with the use of DNA, has now been able to trace our male/female species back to one woman in Africa. She lived thousands of years ago – many thousands of years more than six or seven thousand years. The Creation stories are man’s feeble attempts to explain what he did not have the skills to prove. Now he has the skills to dig deeper into the creation mystery thanks to God. I am so thankful! It makes Him even more amazing. We must not limit our Creator.
David, thanks for the comments. I have had some on this blog who claim that the Eastern Orthodox church is the mother church as you say. They say they predate the RC church by at least two hundred years.
But I have studied Galelio’s case and at that time the Catholic church was very much in the “science” business. Why else would they take such severe action against him.
I did look at your link and really didn’t see anything pertaining to creationism or anything else from the Reuters article. Are you saying the Reuters article was just fabricated by the author? I am not in the business of trying to prove anyone is wrong here so I will stop on that point.
RJ, I’m just saying if you hear something about the Catholic Church in secular media, it’s probably a misrepresentation.
The EO Church and the RC Church were one at one time, so they can actually claim the same origin. But that’s another topic.
Regarding Galileo, while the Church handled the case badly (as they have handled problems badly more recently), the case was not about science. Galileo presented a radical theory with no proof. He was right, he just couldn’t prove it. The Church asked him not to present something as fact which could not be proven and which would contradict the faith. Just so you know, Copernicus was a Catholic astronomer who first posited the modern theory of heliocentricity, and was a Catholic priest. Galileo was told he could discuss the Copernican system as a scientific hypothesis, offering astronomical and physical arguments for and against it, but that he must not advocate the theory. Any teacher knows this common distinction. You can and must discuss theories that are questionable, but that’s different from advocating a theory. Galileo agreed to follow the Congregation’s injunction. He continued to work on arguments for and against the theory, but he did not advocate it, even though he still believed that it was true and that good arguments would be forthcoming.
As Galileo developed arguments for the heliocentric system after the condemnation by the Congregation of the Index in 1616, he was greatly encouraged when an old friend of his was elected to the chair of Peter in 1623. Maffeo Barbarini mounted the papal throne August 6, 1623, as Urban VIII. The new pope invited Galileo to visit him, and the two talked together as they walked in the papal gardens. Reportedly, Urban told Galileo that the 1616 decision was an unfortunate one, but that it could not be revoked—or at least that it was not prudent to do so. Urban encouraged Galileo to write a new book on the heliocentric system, but he warned him to be careful not to advocate the new theory, only to offer arguments for and against it.
For the next seven or eight years Galileo wrote the famous Dialogue on the Two Great World Systems, which was published in 1632. The censor of Florence, where Galileo lived, approved this book, but it was condemned by certain other clerics. This is where historical opinion divides. Some thought that Galileo was not advocating the Copernican theory, while others thought that the book clearly did. In essence, the question at the trial of 1633 was whether Galileo had in fact disobeyed the injunction of 1616. Galileo maintained at his trial that he did not advocate the theory in the Dialogue. The official readers of the book concluded differently.
This is what led to his trial. His abjuration was motivated by his belief that he should submit to the judgment of the Church because he consistently said of himself that he was a faithful son of the Church. He was placed under house arrest in his villa in Arcetri, just across the river from Florence, for the remainder of his life as his penance. He died in 1642 at 78 years of age. But he was not hindered in his work, since he published his greatest work of science in 1638, The Discourse on the Two New Sciences.
What severe action did the Church take against Galileo?
Proving my point, that the Church wasn’t against science, it was looking to make sure that science didn’t contradict theology.
David, thanks for the extended story of Galileo. I must say you are more up on the details than I am. Although I could come back with some replies I will let you have the last words on that issue.
I think you are being a little cynical on the “secular” press. Not everything they say are misrepresentations or do you think they just pick on the Catholic church? 🙂 If misrepresentation were the norm then our democracy would be in even deeper trouble than it already is.
Thanks again for the comments and come back often to give your opinions on my posts about Catholics or any other topic for that matter. It is good to have a diversity of opinions to study. No one has it totally right.
Give you a couple examples? OK, let’s go! Recent ones, too. The Pope did an interview for a book which was published recently. The book was about 300 pages long. The media extracted this from this 300 page book “The pope condones condom use.” However, that’s nothing of what he said. He said that, in a narrow instance, condom use is preferable to non-condom use, and the instance was in the case of an HIV positive male prostitute using a condom so his tricks wouldn’t get his disease. About 2 years ago, the pope went to Africa, and on his way granted an interview which headlines read from CNN: “Pope visits Africa, reaffirms ban on condoms”. Well, there’s never been a ‘ban’ on condoms. The Catholic Church does not have that kind of power. It does say that using condoms makes a sex act sinful. What the pope said is that condoms are not THE answer to the AIDS crisis in Africa, that abstinence works every time it’s tried. Here’s what he actually said: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0901215.htm
When it comes to how we practice the faith, people say we ‘worship Mary’, that we practice cannibalism, and so on. Of course, if you ask a Catholic, this is patently false.