By Meg Jalsevac

  NEW YORK, February 8, 2007 ( – Christoph Cardinal Schonborn of Vienna delivered a speech Wednesday evening in a continued effort to correct the frequent misconceptions regarding the Church’s teaching on creation and evolution.  In his lecture, Schonborn took to task the US court that forbad the teaching of “intelligent design” in a Pennsylvania school and accused the court of mandating censorship in schools and the general public.

  Schonborn’s lecture was sponsored by the New York based Homeland Foundation.

  Schonborn was commenting on a 2005 US federal court ruling that forbad the Dover, Pennsylvania school district from teaching “intelligent design” creation theory in its biology classes.  The cardinal condemned the ruling saying that it only allowed for children to be taught an atheistic view of creation without any mention of a Divine Creator.  “A truly liberal society would at least allow students to hear of the debate,” he said.

  The judge in the Dover case ruled that “intelligent design” could not be taught in the school system because it was too closely related to creationism, a belief in the strict interpretation of the six days of creation as laid out in Genesis, the first book of the Bible.

  In his lecture, Schonborn reinforced the Church’s position that science alone cannot explain creation but was careful to explain that “the Catholic faith can accept” the possibility that evolution does, in fact, occur but only under the direction of God, Himself.

  Schonborn rejected the blanket acceptance of Darwinian evolution in today’s society and criticized the attempts to eliminate inquiry into Darwin’s findings.  “Commonly in the scientific community every inquiry into the scientific weaknesses of the theory is blocked off at the very outset,” Schonborn said of Darwinism. “To some extent there prevails a type of censoring here of the sort for which one eagerly reproached the church in former times.”

  Schonborn also cautioned against attributing the thoughts of others to the Church and told his audience to “listen to my arguments.”  When asked if he would endorse the beliefs of the Discovery Institute, a think tank based in Seattle that promotes the belief of “intelligent design”, Schonborn reinforced that he adhered only to the teachings of the Church saying, “I do not belong to any kind of boxes.”   

  Schonborn’s lecture comes at a time of particular discord between the scientific camps of “intelligent design” creation and Darwinian evolution. 

  As reported by, the spiritual leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexy II recently demanded that the communist government cease the exclusive teaching of Darwinian creation in Russian schools.  He encouraged instead the teaching of biblical creation saying, “Teaching the biblical theory of the world’s creation will not harm students.”

  Just last year, the Discovery Institute gathered 500 signatures from doctoral scientists on a statement which read: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

  In a similar instance to the Dover ruling, the Ministry of Education in the Canadian province of Quebec issued an order last year mandating even private, Christian schools teach Darwinian evolution or face closure.

  Read Previous Coverage:

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  Quebec Government Forcing Evangelical Private Schools to Teach Sex Ed, Darwinism