Hmmm, this is a very interesting post by Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa:
Numerically this is a very small group, but it is the bearer of a model of Church that pleases not a few progressive Catholics. It recognizes a primacy of honor for the pope, but it does not accept that he is infallible or has jurisdiction over the bishops. It has its bishops elected by a synod composed of clergy and laity. At Mass it gives Eucharistic communion to all, as long as they are baptized in one of the various Christian confessions. It administers collective absolution of sins. It allows second marriages for the divorced.
And on this last point it converges with what is maintained by the Catholic “school of Bologna,” founded by Giuseppe Dossetti and Giuseppe Alberigo and directed today by Alberto Melloni, famous all over the world for having written and spread in five volumes translated into multiple languages the history of Vatican Council II that has undisputedly been the most successful, although it has been repeatedly excoriated by the Vatican.
For the “Bolognese” as well, in fact, only the councils that preceded the schism between West and East are fully ecumenical, as can be seen in their multi-volume edition of the “Conciliorum oecumenicorum generaliumque decreta,” criticized precisely for this reason by “L’Osservatore Romano” of June 3, 2007 with an unsigned official note attributed to Walter Brandmüller, today a cardinal.
In 2011, he came up with everything he could to ingratiate himself with Benedict XVI. He proposed that the pope pray in front of three Russian icons brought from Moscow to celebrate the critical edition of the Second Council of Nicaea edited by Melloni himself. He asked for a public audience to have him bless a facsimile edition of the Bible of Marco Polo to be sent to China, “where we have significant contacts.”
But without success. “There appears to be no possibility of an involvement of His Holiness in the initiatives mentioned,” was the frosty message to Melloni written by the substitute of the secretariat of state, Angelo Becciu. In part because “there remain reservations of a doctrinal character.”
The appointment, decided by Pope Francis last July 22, is that of friar Enzo Bianchi, founder and prior of the interconfessional monastery of Bose, as adviser of the pontifical council for Christian unity.
Bianchi, 71, was born in Piedmont and lives there, but for years he has been the true and undisputed leader of the “school of Bologna.” He is the only lifetime member of the administrative board of the “John XXIII Foundation for Religious Studies” that he oversees. And he is also the only one whom Melloni – very authoritarian with his subordinates – obeys with reverential fear.
“I believe that Pope Francis wants to reach the unity of Christians in part by reforming the papacy. A papacy that is no longer feared, in the words of ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew, with whom the pope shares a bond of friendship. The reform of the papacy means a new balance between synodality and primacy. This would help to create a new style of papal primacy and of the governance of the bishops.”
The international conference that the Bolognese institute captained by Bianchi and Melloni have convened in Bose from November 26 to 28 will have precisely the task of preparing the terrain for this reform of the papacy, which in its current form is maintained to be the main obstacle to Christian unity. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural
A look at religion in the Civil War from the internet series the Civil War in Four Minutes. Most people on both sides, as Lincoln noted in his Second Inaugural, assumed God was on their side. Some viewed their causes as crusades. Typical of those who embraced that interpretation is a Union officer who upbraided a chaplain who had given a stern sermon to the men of his regiment on the pains of Hell, and informed him that every one of his boys who fell in this great fight for human liberty was going straight to Heaven and he would allow no other doctrine to be preached while he was in command of the regiment.
Perhaps the most insightful view was that embraced by Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee and others who saw the War as the punishment for national sins. Rather than a crusade, the War was a chastisement that God was using for His purposes. I think there is much wisdom in this view. God often brings good out of human weakness, folly and even sin, and out of the Civil War, with all of its ghastly loss of life, came freedom for the slaves and a united nation. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
It is easy to get cynical about Bishops, and then one of them does something like this:
“Wow, we’re really surrounded by a lot of religious symbols,” said Scharfenberger when he arrived, pointing out statues of Mary and Jesus located on the second story of a building, once planned to house a Christian adoption agency, across Warren Street.
The men gathered on the sidewalk were part of a campaign called 40 Days for Life, a national movement calling for a peaceful approach to protest abortion through prayer, vigils and community outreach.
“My approach is about making a change in their hearts,” he said of those they were praying for, mentioned in prayers as the people in the building behind them (Planned Parenthood). “My hope is that the Lord moves them to do the right thing. That they get guidance to choose with their conscience.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
I will be liveblogging the election returns tonight beginning at 6:00 PM Central Standard Time. Pre-election polls indicate this should be a good election for the Republicans, we shall see. The main contest tonight will be in the Senate. If the Republicans take it, President Obama might as well go on a vacation for the rest of his term as far as passing legislation is concerned. Perhaps he will learn how to compromise and work with Republicans in order to craft legislation for the good of the nation. (Ah, a little levity at the beginning of a live blog is always a good thing!) As usual your contributions in the combox will be invaluable. See you tonight! →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Leftist comedian Mort Sahl used to say that the only man in Hollywood he trusted was John Wayne. Although light years from Wayne politically he said that Wayne was a man of honor and his word was always good, something he could not say for the rest of Hollywood. That came to mind when PopeWatch read this from Father Z:
Marco Tosatti, an Italian journalist whom I have always liked and for whom I have even greater respect now than before, has a piece at La Stampa which bears attention. What really caught my eye was his quotation at the end from a liberal journalist who works for a Left-leaning Catholic news agency, Adista.
This quote tells you more than a thousand other editorials on the Synod:
Finally a short note: It’s not very often that I find myself in agreement with Adista, a Catholic news agency. But I could not do otherwise than appreciate this editorial by Augusto Cavadi:
“Two observations to close. Newspapers are saying that this Synod has broken the Catholic Church. False: it brought into the light an old split, perhaps as old as the Church herself. Without going too far back, decades ago now the Catholic philosopher Pietro Prini had written about a submerged schism, invisible, on the part of many (bishops, priests and theologians included) in respect to the official Magisterium. In this split, it is instinctive to find oneself in sympathy with the progressives, but, and I have to add this out of love for sincerity, not without some discomfort. Between some of the current “progressives” and the immovable “conservatives”, my esteem goes to the latter, faithful to their own line of thought even when it is inconvenient to sustain it. In just a few months the change of wind has seen many bishops and pastors, who for decades accused the “reformers” of heresy, now showing themselves to be “open” and “sensitive”. This kind of thing disgusts me. These careerist conformists are too skilled in jumping onto the banged wagon of the powers-that-be-of-the-moment to merit our trust as fellow travelers.”
Next Johnsonville attracted his attention, where Sherman had collected his stores, and the gunboats once terrible conniption floated grandly and proudly at its doors, but Forrest’s artillery battalion, Morton, Rice and Waltham and Thrall, set fire to Sherman’s gunboats and transports, nor ceased till they had burned them all.
Line from Confederate song celebrating the victories of General Nathan Bedford Forrest
The handwriting was on the wall by the beginning of November in 1864 that the Confederacy was going down to defeat, but that did not stop General Nathan Bedford Forrest from staging perhaps his greatest raid. The Union had established a huge supply depot at Johnsonville, Tennessee on the Tennessee River and that was Forrest’s target. On October 29-30 with artillery he placed at Fort Heiman, Forrest captured three Union gunboats. Repairing two of them he used them for his attack on Johnsonville. With his artillery and his tiny flotilla, Forrest closed river traffic to Johnsonville, beat off Union gunboats, and got close enough to Johnsonville to bombard it. 28 Union steamboats and barges were lost, either sunk by Forrest’s artillery, or burned by the Union commander who feared that Forrest would capture them. Seeing the depot ablaze, Forrest withdrew, his mission accomplished. Forrest destroyed millions of dollars worth of Union supplies and destroyed 4 gunboats, 14 transports, 20 barges, 26 pieces of artillery. This raid crippled Sherman’s supply line, and made Grant nervous about Sherman’s planned March to the Sea with a raider of the caliber of Forrest left free to devastate Union supply lines. Here is Forrest’s report on the raid: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
In a last-ditch effort to raise funds for Democratic candidates heading into Tuesday’s election, the California congresswoman appealed to the purse strings of liberal voters. Quoting Politico, Mrs. Pelosi said that Republican candidates have raised “millions of dollars of TV advertising time” in districts Democrats easily held in the 2012 election.
Mrs. Pelosi warns voters that the GOP is poised to have the greatest majority in the House since President Herbert Hoover was in the White House over 80 years ago. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Do not think that I am come to destroy the Law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
Pope Francis does not like the Law it seems:
“This way of life of being attached to the laws, distanced (the Pharisees) from love and from justice. They followed the laws and they neglected justice,” he said. “They followed the laws and they neglected love.”
“Closed-minded men, men who are so attached to the laws, to the letter of the law that they were always closing the doorway to hope, love and salvation… Men who only knew how to close (doors).” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Article 1. Whether there is a Purgatory after this life?
Objection 1. It would seem that there is not a Purgatory after this life. For it is said (Apocalypse 14:13): “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. From henceforth now, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors.” Therefore after this life no cleansing labor awaits those who die in the Lord, nor those who do not die in the Lord, since they cannot be cleansed. Therefore there is no Purgatory after this life.
Objection 2. Further, as charity is to an eternal reward, so is mortal sin to eternal punishment. Now those who die in mortal sin are forthwith consigned to eternal punishment. Therefore those who die in charity go at once to their reward; and consequently no Purgatory awaits them after this life.
Objection 3. Further, God Who is supremely merciful is more inclined to reward good than to punish evil. Now just as those who are in the state of charity, do certain evil things which are not deserving of eternal punishment, so those who are in mortal sin, at times perform actions, generically good, which are not deserving of an eternal reward. Therefore since these good actions are not rewarded after this life in those who will be damned, neither should those evil actions be punished after this life. Hence the same conclusion follows.
On the contrary, It is said (2 Maccabees 12:46): “It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” Now there is no need to pray for the dead who are in heaven, for they are in no need; nor again for those who are in hell, because they cannot be loosed from sins. Therefore after this life, there are some not yet loosed from sins, who can be loosed therefrom; and the like have charity, without which sins cannot be loosed, for “charity covereth all sins” [Proverbs 10:12]. Hence they will not be consigned to everlasting death, since “he that liveth and believeth in Me, shall not die for ever” [John 11:26]: nor will they obtain glory without being cleansed, because nothing unclean shall obtain it, as stated in the last chapter of the Apocalypse (verse 14). Therefore some kind of cleansing remains after this life.
Further, Gregory of Nyssa [De iis qui in fide dormiunt] says: “If one who loves and believes in Christ,” has failed to wash away his sins in this life, “he is set free after death by the fire of Purgatory.” Therefore there remains some kind of cleansing after this life.
I answer that, From the conclusions we have drawn above (III, 86, 4-5; Supplement, 12, 1) it is sufficiently clear that there is a Purgatory after this life. For if the debt of punishment is not paid in full after the stain of sin has been washed away by contrition, nor again are venial sins always removed when mortal sins are remitted, and if justice demands that sin be set in order by due punishment, it follows that one who after contrition for his fault and after being absolved, dies before making due satisfaction, is punished after this life. Wherefore those who deny Purgatory speak against the justice of God: for which reason such a statement is erroneous and contrary to faith. Hence Gregory of Nyssa, after the words quoted above, adds: “This we preach, holding to the teaching of truth, and this is our belief; this the universal Church holds, by praying for the dead that they may be loosed from sins.” This cannot be understood except as referring to Purgatory: and whosoever resists the authority of the Church, incurs the note of heresy.
Reply to Objection 1. The authority quoted is speaking of the labor of working for merit, and not of the labor of suffering to be cleansed.
Reply to Objection 2. Evil has not a perfect cause, but results from each single defect: whereas good arises from one perfect cause, as Dionysius asserts [Div. Nom. iv, 4]. Hence each defect is an obstacle to the perfection of good; while not every good hinders some consummation of evil, since there is never evil without some good. Consequently venial sin prevents one who has charity from obtaining the perfect good, namely eternal life, until he be cleansed; whereas mortal sin cannot be hindered by some conjoined good from bringing a man forthwith to the extreme of evils.
Reply to Objection 3. He that falls into mortal sin, deadens all the good he has done before, and what he does, while in mortal sin, is dead: since by offending God he deserves to lose all the good he has from God. Wherefore no reward after this life awaits him who dies in mortal sin, whereas sometimes punishment awaits him who dies in charity, which does not always wash away the sin which it finds, but only that which is contrary to it.
During the Civil War Abraham Lincoln commuted, as did Jefferson Davis, almost every military sentence of death for desertion or cowardice that reached his desk. One of his last acts before his own death was to pardon a soldier on April 13, 1865. As Lincoln put it,”I don’t believe it will make a man any better to shoot him, while if we keep him alive, we just may get some work out of him.”
On November 2, 1864 he telegrammed General Grant ordering him to suspend the pending execution of Nathan Wilson, who had been found guilty of desertion from the 22nd Massachusetts. Unlike most men Lincoln pardoned, Private Wilson was politically connected. His uncle was New York State Senator Albert Hobbs, a Republican, who had interceded with Lincoln on behalf of his nephew. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
VATICAN––In a stunning break with centuries of Catholic teaching, Pope Francis announced today that the forces of Gravity and Electromagnetism are real, adding that “God is not a magician with a magic wand.” This is in stark contrast with the teaching of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, whose third Encyclical is entitled “God the Magician: Why Gravity Doesn’t Exist.”
During this address to the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences, Pope Francis rocked the Catholic world, which has been a staunch enemy of science since the Church’s public excommunication, execution, and dismemberment of Galileo in 1633. His statements have been called “progressive” by the liberals in the Church who, contrary to the Catechism of the Council of Trent, deny that every falling object is pulled downward by an angel created for that specific purpose by Jesus and Mother Mary.
“It is not inconsistent with the Catholic faith to believe that matter warps space-time,” Pope Francis stated, “such that objects that would normally have travelled in a straight line would bend their path along this curvature and even fall toward the heavier object.” This is a direct contradiction of the teaching of Doctor of the Church St. Bonaventure, who proved through Aristotelian philosophy that objects are attracted toward one another through Love of God and neighbor.
His Holiness did not limit his remarks to gravity, but included the “thorny issue” of electromagnetism in his remarks as well, stating that a Catholic has the right to believe that light travels through space as an electromagnetic wave. This implies a non-literal reading of the Book of Genesis, which says: “And God said: ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light, which is the brightness of God’s teeth when he smiles.” →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
“There are no real personalities apart from God. Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self. Sameness is to be found most among the most ‘natural’ men, not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerers have been; how gloriously different are the saints.”
Something for the weekend. It being All Saint’s Day, For All the Saints seemed appropriate. Written by Anglican Bishop William Walsham How in 1864. Ralph Vaughn Williams in 1906 wrote the music, Sin Nomine, the tune of Sarum being used up to that time.
All Saints Day reminds us of all those holy men and women whom God, in His infinite mercy, sends us as torches to light our path in a dark world. Filled with God’s love and grace, they make golden the pages of our histories with their lives and witness. Feeling the lure of sin just as much as any of us, they turned to God and reflected His love to us. They come in all sorts of humanity: men and women, all nationalities, wise, simple, warriors, pacifists, miracle workers, saints whose only miracle was their life, humorous, humorless, clergy, laity, old, young, united only in their Faith and their love for the Highest Love. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
I couldn’t help but have a little fun on this All Saint’s Day reprising a post on Come, Come Ye Saints, the Mormon Anthem. Catholic me is light years removed from the theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but I have always admired the hardihood of the early Mormons and their descendants I have personally known have seemed to all major in nice, so as a group I have fond respect for them.
A jazz arrangement of the hymn. The song was written as the Mormons were making their epic trek in 1846 from Illinois to Utah in order to carve their new Zion out of the wilderness. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
The soon-to-be “former Prefect of the Sacred Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura,” Cardinal Raymond Burke, isn’t letting his alleged “demotion” to head the Knights of Malta get in the way of his speaking out about the scandal caused by the first round of the Synod on the Family. No, it seems that the Cardinal is speaking out even more forcibly.
In his most recent interview posted at CNSNews.com, Cardinal Burke speaks about the “very serious responsibility to try to correct as quickly and as effectively as possible the scandal caused by the midterm report.”
And that wasn’t all Cardinal Burke had to say. About Church teaching regarding marriage, he said:
We have to recognize that if we don’t get it right about marriage–in other words, if we’re not faithful to the word of Christ, to the truth which Christ announced to us about marriage–in the Church, I don’t know how people can trust us with regard to teaching the truth of the faith in any other matter.
We’re talking here about the very foundation of the life of the church, the first cell of our life, in the marital union and the formation of the family and if we don’t uphold the sanctity of the marital bond we have really not only abandoned the Catholic faith but really abandoned the Christian faith in the sense that we are abandoning the natural law itself.
Crucial in the Cardinal’s understanding of the Church is its essentially conservative nature. Popes and bishops cannot “invent” or “change” Church teaching because it is divinely revealed, coming from Scripture and Tradition. Instead, Popes and bishops must fearlessly proclaim Church teaching–in this regard, concerning marriage and sexuality–by relying upon what the Church has already produced to explain its teaching rather than abandoning it for new, untested theories like that of “gradualism.” Cardinal Burke said:
The Church must now in this period hold up the beauty, the splendor, of this teaching for the sake of her own members that they not be confused about the truth but also for the sake of our world and the church’s call to serve the world by proclaiming the truth and by giving witness to it.
And, so, I’m praying very fervently that this coming year that this confusion will stop and instead that there will begin to be a strong emphasis on the beauty of the truth of the Church’s teaching on marriage and on human life and human sexuality.
If there was any scandal, it wasn’t generated by the Synod’s final midterm report but the mainstream media’s manipulation of the contents of the discussions transpiring within the Synod and the first midterm report which contained statements that were well-suited to advance the mainstream media’s agenda. However, with those statements deleted from the final midterm document, the mainstream media couldn’t but relish the opportunity they were provided to pit one midterm report against the other, painting the former as more sensitive, inclusive, and understanding of and merciful to humanity while identifying their bogey-man as Cardinal Raymond Burke.
If the members of the mainstream media think Cardinal Burke is one who is easily going to back down when the issue concerns Church teaching, his recent interviews suggest they’re barking up the wrong tree.
Hopefully, this most recent interview portends more of what’s to come if the scandal generated by the mainstream media isn’t stopped dead in its tracks.
To read the CNSNews.com interview transcript, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
Here is Christopher Johnson’s take on the unusual, yeah that would be the kindest word, pontificate of Pope Francis. Please recall that Christopher Johnson is a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith:
Pope Francis’ Synod on the Family is about halfway over. Although that “bombshell” document which thrilled liberals just a few weeks ago turned out to be a dud, at least for now, many on the left still think that Roman Catholicism is definitely trending their way as this Guardian leader indicates:
Three things in particular need to change. They are all connected by a particular interpretation of natural law, a phrase in Catholic moral theology that means “Nature doesn’t work like that”. The first is the theory that sexual intercourse is only really an expression of love when efficient contraception is not involved. This, codified in the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, has been entirely rejected by the Catholic couples at whom it was aimed. Then there is the claim that homosexuality is an “objective moral disorder” – since gay desire does not aim at making babies, or rely on the rhythm method to avoid them. Finally, there is the belief that marriage can only be once and for life, so that all subsequent arrangements are more or less sinful.
Essentially, church doctrine should be whatever the majority of the laity decides it should be. For some reason, that concept sounds vaguely familiar.
Over the past 50 years, the language in which these things are condemned has gradually softened, from one of disgust and condemnation of “perversion” and “living in sin”, to the ostensibly neutral and objective claims of “moral disorder”. Pope Francis has opened the door to a language that would be much more welcoming still – one that might suggest that there is nothing uniquely dreadful about sexual sins, nor uniquely morally significant about sexual acts. This is a long way from the claim that nothing consenting adults agree to can be morally wrong: no Christian church could agree with that. But it is perhaps still further from the position of Catholic traditionalists today.
In other words, I actually didn’t say what I clearly just got done saying because shut up.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who heads the church in England and Wales, has said that he did not vote for the tepid language on gay people because he felt it did not go far enough, and that even an earlier draft, referring to the special gifts they can bring to the church, did not, in his opinion, offer an appropriate welcome. He would never have said this even five years ago, under the previous pope.
Quick reminder: James Pike wasn’t convicted of heresy because he wasn’t a heretic. James Pike wasn’t convicted of heresy because the bishops of the Episcopal Organization at the time thought that convicting anyone of….shudder…heresy in this day and age was a perfectly horrid idea.
But this does not mean the Vatican has been entirely captured by the Guardian’s view of the world. As Francis said, the first duty of the pope is to maintain unity. That sets clear boundaries to how far he can go and probably clear boundaries to how far he would want to go. Even if he dreamed of a move in a wholly liberal direction, he could not without risking a schism, and it would be impolitic even to shuffle in that direction without issuing fierce denunciations of liberal errors – as indeed he has done.
The problem is that these proposals suggest, to this outsider anyway, that if they are accepted as is, a de facto (but most definitely not de jure) schism may begin to happen whether Francis wants it to or not. Why do I think that? Three reasons.
The first is language. Control the language and you’ve basically won the cultural war. And the simple fact of the matter is that the left now controls the language.
Consider what words “welcome” and “love” now mean. “Welcome” used to mean that, while you and I may disagree on things, that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. And “love” used to mean that I want the best for you which may mean that from time to time, I’m going to tell you the truth, however personally unpleasant you may occasionally find what I have to tell you.
These days, “love” and “welcome” are now basically synonyms for, “I and I alone am the single determining factor in deciding whether or not you are loving and welcoming. And in order to be loving and welcoming to me, you must immediately renounce any views you have on any issue which differ from my own.
“Failure to do so will personally offend me, which is not obviously not a loving or a welcoming act on your part.” To a very great extent, too many people in the Church have absorbed these ideas.
The second reason I have for thinking a de facto Catholic split is not off the table is that I was an Episcopalian for 48 years and I know that the Christian left doesn’t think in months or in years but in decades. They think long-term, they’re patient and they take their time. Austen Ivereigh thinks Francis’ revolution is already over. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Little shocks PopeWatch but this did: a sensible story in Time Magazine about media coverage of Pope Francis:
It is official: the media has gone bananas in its coverage of Pope Francis.
The OMG-Pope-Francis-Supports-Evolution story of the past two days is just the latest example. Almost every news outlet, major and minor, has plastered Pope Francis’ name across the interwebs and proclaimed he has finally planted the Catholic Church in the evolution camp of the creation-evolution debate. The only problem? Almost every outlet has got the story wrong, proving once again that the mainstream media has nearly no understanding of the Church. And that madness shows no signs of stopping.
Pope Francis’ real role in this evolution hubbub was small. He spoke, as Popes do, to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Monday, which had gathered to discuss “Evolving Topics of Nature,” and he affirmedwhat Catholic teaching has been for decades. “God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life,” he said. “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”
Anyone who knows anything about Catholic history knows that a statement like this is nothing new. Pope Pius XII wrote an encyclical “Humani Generis” in 1950 affirming that there was no conflict between evolution and Catholic faith. Pope John Paul II reaffirmed that, stressing that evolution was more than a hypothesis, in 1996. Pope Benedict XVI hosted a conference on the nuances of creation and evolution in 2006. There’s an official book on the event for anyone who wants to know more. Pope Francis’ comments Monday even came as he was unveiling a new statue of Pope Benedict XVI, honoring him for his leadership.
None of that seems to matter to the media; the internet exploded all the same. Site after site after site ramped up the Pope’s words and took them out of context. Headlines like these added drama: NPR: “Pope Says God Not ‘A Magician, With A Magic Wand.’” Salon: “Pope Francis schools creationists.” U.S. News and World Report: “Pope Francis Backs the Big Bang Theory, Evolution” (with a subhed: “Also, the pontiff says he’s not a communist”). Huffington Post. Sydney Morning Herald. Telegraph. USA Today. New York Post. The list goes on and on. Only Slate did its homework. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading