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Living Tradition, Oblates of Wisdom, P.O. Box 13230, St. Louis, MO 63157, USA
|No. 28||Roman Theological Forum | Article Index | Study Program||March 1990|
A Neo-Patristic Approach to Creation-Science by John F. McCarthy
Why Faithful Catholics Should Oppose Evolutionism by Clement Butel
by John F. McCarthy
by Clement Butel
Darwin has opened the door by which a happier coming race will cast out miracles, never to return. Everyone who knows what miracles imply will praise him, in consequence, as one of the greatest benefactors of the human race.6
It will not throw on Scripture the light that is sought, or prove any advantage to doctrine; it will only give rise to disagreement and dissension, those sure notes of error, which the critics in question so plentifully exhibit in their own persons; and seeing that most of them are tainted with false philosophy and rationalism, it must lead to the elimination from the sacred writings of all prophecy and miracles, and of everything that is outside the natural order.In his Motu Proprio Praestantia Sacrae Scripturae, St. Pius X reaffirmed the view of his predecessor when he said that the teachings of higher-criticism are "clearly nothing but commentaries of rationalism derived from a misuse of philology and kindred studies."
The job of exegesis is now seen to be de-mythologization. This means that everything in the sacred books which implies the supernatural is dubbed as a myth, a relic of primitive reality, which is said to be repulsive to the modern mind.9
The first question a theologian should seriously ask himself is: Can the Church logically leave us free to accept anthropological evolution on the one hand - as she does (DS 3896) - and on the other, condemn polygenism? This is the situation:Father O'Connell stated that "it constitutes a calumny on the memory of Pope Pius XII to say that he accepted the evolution of Adam." Although he does not intend them to be, Father Rahner's arguments, other than the false claims that Catholics are free to accept evolution and that Pius XII accepted the evolution of Adam, amount to good theological reasons why evolution should be rejected.
(a) If evolutionary hominization is acceptable, we have to accept that 'Eve' came about the same way as 'Adam.' Any other view can only be a worthless compromise.... The decision of the Biblical Commission in 1909 about the 'formation of the first man' is no longer acceptable in the exclusive literal sense if one accepts in general with Pius XII the evolutionary origin of man (which basically conflicts with this decree). We cannot think of 'Adam' in terms of evolution and deny this for 'Eve'.... One cannot therefore accept evolution for 'Adam' and then reject it for 'Eve.' Polygenism can therefore no longer be rejected in the case of one couple.
First of all they lay down the general principle that in a living religion everything is subject to change, and must in fact change, and in this way they pass to what may be said to be the chief of their doctrines, that of Evolution. To the laws of evolution everything is subject - dogma, Church worship, the books that we revere as sacred, even faith itself....Although Pius X firmly condemned Modernism and required that all entering Holy Orders should take an oath against it, he did not set up any body of Catholic scientists to critically examine the claims of the evolutionists. At that time, however, there existed a Catholic academy of science whose origins went back to the seventeenth century. Its revival, after some apparent lapse, was instituted by Pius IX and encouraged by Leo XIII, who in 1887 gave it a new constitution. It was given its present name, "The Pontifical Academy of Science," in 1936 by Pius XI. Apart from the individual work of members of the Academy, scientific research was being carried out by members of religious orders, the Jesuits being the most prominent in this regard. The Pope, no doubt, thought that such people of faith would in due course expose the false claims of evolutionism.
we freely acknowledge there is room for differences of opinion on such problems as species formation and the mechanisms of evolutionary change.... Nonetheless, we are convinced that masses of evidence render the application of the concept of evolution to man and other primates beyond serious doubt.21This amazing statement concerning the supposed existence of masses of evidence contrasts with one made the preceding year by Dr. Colin Patterson, a leading paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History, to members of its American counterpart. Dr. Patterson said that, after twenty years of research into evolution, he asked himself to name just one thing he knew for sure about it, but he could not come up with anything. When later he challenged evolutionist colleagues with the same question, he received abuse from some but no one was able to give him any certain information about evolution.22
Vatican Council II, Dei Verbum (1965).
Pope Leo XIII, Providentissimus Deus (1893) - http://listserv.american.edu/catholic/church/papal/leo.xiii/providen.asc
Pope Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis (1907) - http://listserv.american.edu/catholic/church/papal/pius.x/pascendi.html
Pope Pius X, Praestantia Sacrae Scripturae (1907).
Pope Benedict XV, Spiritus Paraclitus (1920) - http://listserv.american.edu/catholic/church/papal/benedict.xv/b15spiri.txt
Pope Pius XII, Divino Afflante Spiritu (l943) - http://listserv.american.edu/catholic/church/papal/pius.xii/p12divin.txt
Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis (1950) - http://listserv.american.edu/catholic/church/papal/pius.xii/humani.generis
Decree of the Holy Office, Lamentabili (1907) - http://www.knight.org/advent/docs/df07ls.htm
Replies of the Biblical Commission (23 June 1905, 27 June 1906, 30 June 1909, 16 January 1948).
Dei Verbum, the Dogmatic Constitution of the Second Vatican Council on Divine Revelation, is available in Austin Flannery, Editor, Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, ISBN 0918344395. All of the other documents listed above except Pascendi and Lamentabili are contained in Rome and the Study of Scripture (7th revised and enlarged edition: Grail Publications: St. Meinrad, Indiana, 1962).
For Pascendi and Lamentabili, see Denzinger-Rahner, The Sources of Catholic Dogma (trans. by Roy J. Deferrari: Herder, 1957; republished by Marian House, Powers Lake, North Dakota 58773).
Paul Cardinal Taguchi, The Study of Sacred Scripture (Australian Catholic Truth Society print).
P. D. Fehlner, 0.F.M. Conv., "In the Beginning," in Christ to the World (international review: Via di Propaganda, 1-C, Rome 00187 Italy), January-June 1988. A challenging analysis of the Catholic Church's teachings on origins that invites constructive debate.
Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (Burnett Books Ltd., 1985; Adler and Adler, 1986) ISBN 091756152X. Reviewed in Living Tradition No. 26 (November 1989).
Wolfgang Smith, Teilhardism and the New Religion (Tan Books, 1988). Reviewed in Living Tradition No. 25 (September 1989).
J.W.G. Johnson, The Crumbling Theory of Evolution (U.S.A. title: Evolution?). An informative presentation not evenly argued throughout.
Walter T. Brown, Jr., In the Beginning (Center for Scientific Creation, Phoenix, AZ 85016) ISBN 1878026054. Contains much information concerning the inadequacy of the evolutionist worldview.
Gary Parker and Henry M. Morris, What is Creation Science? (Master Books, 1984). A textbook for public schools written by two leading Protestant creation-scientists which avoids the use of biblical arguments.
Paul S. Taylor, The Illustrated Origins Answer Book (ISBN 1877775010). A well-organized book that contains numerous references relating to the case against evolutionism.
The books by Parker and Morris and by Paul Taylor are obtainable from creationist sellers in Australia, the United States, and elsewhere. For general information on books, interested persons could contact, for example:
In Australia: |
The Cardinal Newman Catechist Centre
1 Chetwynd Road
Merrylands NSW 2160
In the U.S.A.: |
Stella Maris Books
P.O. Box 11483
Fort Worth TX 76110.