Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Catholics and Evolution
[Schönborn's] article can offer a useful alert if taken at a theological
level. Evolution, they point out, has sometimes been invoked to justify atheism, as well as immanentism (that God is a vague life force) or deism (that God set the universe in motion and has nothing more to do with it). To the extent Schönborn’s point is that Christianity cannot accept a universe without an active, personal God, they say, there’s little to dispute.
If taken as a scientific statement, on the other hand, these observers warn that Schönborn’s insistence on seeing “purpose and design” in nature could steer the Catholic church towards creationism in the bitter cultural debate, especially prominent in the United States, between evolution and intelligent design. Doing so, they say, risks overstepping the bounds of the church’s competence, as well as reopening a divide between science and the Catholic church that had seemed largely overcome.
If you have been following the issue of evolution, design, and the Catholic Church following Cardinal Schönborn's New York Times Op-Ed, this is a must read article -- it gives us more information about who Cardinal Schönborn is, the range of opinion in the church, and additional background on the Pope's probable position.