NEW YORK, July 11, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On July 7, after years of media-generated confusion, Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, a theologian who helped author the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church, wrote in the New York Times clarifying the Church’s understanding of human origins.
Since 1996, the world’s secular media have claimed that Pope John Paul II endorsed Darwinian evolution as being “more than a hypothesis.” The remark, taken out of context, established in some minds that the Catholic Church was ready to abandon its adherence to the notion of a personal God who created life, the universe and everything.
In his article, Schonborn said, that the “defenders of neo-Darwinian dogma have often invoked the supposed acceptance - or at least acquiescence - of the Roman Catholic Church when they defend their theory as somehow compatible with Christian faith.”
“This,” the Cardinal says bluntly, “is not true.”
Schonborn unequivocally establishes that the Catholic Church does not endorse Darwinism. “Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense - an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection - is not.”
Cardinal Schonborn, a close associate of both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, continued, saying, “Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science.”
The New York Times, never missing an opportunity to bash prominent Catholic prelates, has suggested that Schonborn has changed his tune regarding the legitimacy of Darwinian evolution. But Darwinism, the idea that life sprang and developed into its myriad forms by means of “an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection” has never been supported by Catholic teaching.
As early as 1950, Pope Pius XII wrote that it is Catholics teaching that all human beings in some way are biologically descended from a first man, Adam. “The faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all,” Pius wrote in his encyclical Humani Generis.
Two days after the Cardinal’s article appeared, the New York Times followed up with an interview with Schonborn in which he reiterated that he had been encouraged by Pope Benedict XVI to continue to refine Catholic teaching on evolution.
Read Cardinal Schonborn’s essay:
Read New York Times coverage of scientific reaction (free registration may be required):