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December 7, 2005
Cardinal Schonborn on Evolution and Creation

Monika and any other German-speakers may want to check out the homepage of the Archdiocese of Vienna.

For English speakers, the page includes the first two installments (1, 2) of a series of catecheses by Cardinal Schonborn on evolution and creation. (Link via Amy Welborn.)

If you remember, Cardinal Schonborn was the one who kicked off the crapstorm of controversy on evolution and creation over the summer with his Op-Ed in the New York Times.

Excerpt from the second catechesis:

Now there is another misunderstanding that is constantly found in the ongoing discussion, and I have to deal with it right here at the beginning. I refer to what is called "creationism.� Nowadays the belief in a creator is automatically run together with "creationism.� But in fact to believe in a creator is not the same as trying to understand the six days of creation literally, as six chronological days, and as trying to prove scientifically, with whatever means available, that the earth is 6000 years old. These attempts of certain Christians at taking the Bible absolutely literally, as if it made chronological and scientific statements - I have met defenders of this position who honestly strive to find scientific arguments for it - is called "fundamentalism.� Or more exactly, within American Protestantism this view of the Christian faith originally called itself fundamentalism. Starting from the belief that the Bible is inspired by God, so that every word in it is immediately inspired by Him, the six days of creation are taken in a strict literal way. It is understandable that in the United States many people, using not only kinds of polemics but lawsuits as well, vehemently resist the teaching of creationism in the schools. But it is an entirely different matter when certain people would like to see the schools deal with the critical questions that have been raised with regard to Darwinism; they have a reasonable and legitimate concern.

The Catholic position on this is clear. St. Thomas says that "one should not try to defend the Christian faith with arguments that are so patently opposed to reason that the faith is made to look ridiculous.� It is simply nonsense to say that the world is only 6000 years old. To try to prove this scientifically is what St. Thomas calls provoking the irrisio infidelium, the scorn of the unbelievers. It is not right to use such false arguments and to expose the faith to the scorn of unbelievers. This should suffice on the subject of "creationism� and "fundamentalism� for the entire remainder of this catechesis; what we want to say about it should be so clear that we do not have to return to the subject.

And now to our main subject: what does the Christian faith say about "God the creator� and about creation? The classical Catholic teaching, as we find it explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or more compactly presented in the Compendium of the Catechism, contains four basic elements.

Check out the whole thing.

Posted by Papa-Lu at December 7, 2005 9:04 AM
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