Thursday February 12th, 2009
ImageIn celebration of Darwin’s theory On the Origin of Species the Vatican has announced that they think that he may have been right after all. Indeed according to Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture the idea of evolution could be traced to 4th Century theologon St Augustine and later to St Thomas Aquinas in the middle-ages.
Father Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti, Professor of Theology at the Pontifical Santa Croce University in Rome, backed this up by stating that both St Augustine and Aquinas had 'never heard the term evolution, but knew that big fish eat smaller fish and forms of life had been transformed slowly over time'.
Next month marks the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s theory of evolution and to honour the occasion there will be a papal backed conference the Pontifical Gregorian University. It has been reported that the Vatican will also be playing down the idea of ‘Intelligent Design’, a theory of their own that claims that ‘higher power’ must be responsible for the complexities of life. They now believe that this is only cultural phenomenon rather that anything scientific or theological.
It has also been claimed that Darwin’s theories have never been formally nixed by the Roman Catholic Church. Monsignor Ravasi has backed up the claim by referencing comments made by Pope Pius XII 50 years ago, when he described evolution as “a valid scientific approach to the development of humans.”
Professor of natural philosophy Marc Leclerc, who teaches at the Gregorian University said 'time has come for a rigorous and objective valuation of Darwin by the Church as the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth approaches.” He also lays the blame for the confusion towards the RCC’s views of the subject at the feet of Creationists who he says claim that Darwin’s theories are 'totally incompatible with a religious vision of reality'.
In related news The Church of England also appears to have hopped on the ‘turnaround bandwagon’ with a page on its website paying tribute to Darwin’s 'forgotten' work in his local parish, which proves science and religion need not be at odds.
Where will it all end?
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