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Thursday, April 19, 2007

New York Times: On Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI is the pope who made clear that the Catholic Church can accept evolution but not Darwinism (unguided evolution). Here's an article in the New York Times by Russell Shorto on Benedict's life and times that, amazingly, is
not really a hatchet job:
As a longtime university professor, the pope is well known for his collegiality, his reaching out to, and exchanging ideas with, a broad spectrum of Catholics as well as with nonbelievers. This may explain why, despite the fact that his core conservative convictions are unchanged, he has managed to get many left-leaning church figures to rally around his central focus. Notker Wolf, abbot primate of the worldwide Benedictine order, himself a Bavarian who has known the pope for decades, was critical at the start, based on Ratzinger’s actions in his previous job. But Wolf, too, was won over. As we sat in the serene Sant’Anselmo monastery on the Aventine Hill in Rome, which serves as the headquarters of the Benedictines, he distilled the pope’s core message for me this way: “Western society has become detached from the roots of its creator. This is the basic view of the pope, and it is my view also. What the Muslims say about the decadence of Europe is partly right, and that’s because we think we have to set up everything as if God doesn’t exist. On the other hand, faith also has to be reasonable - it has to stand in front of reason. I would say that he means this not just regarding terrorism but also charismatics. He says we have to remain sober in this religious way of thinking. The old Occidental tradition has been a fruitful tension between faith and reason.”

Of course, fruitful tension between faith and reason require that you assume that you are not a meat puppet or a bunch of chemicals running around in a bag, right? Oh, and here's an item on the Pope's current thinking on evolution.

Oh, and here's an item on the Pope's current thinking on evolution. Plus, columnist Mark Henderson who, according to a friend, is sure to get these things wrong, says, "The Vatican is growing uneasy about evolution. Although his predecessor endorsed it as “more than a hypothesis”, Pope Benedict XVI thinks it is “not a complete, scientifically proven theory” and has come close to backing creationism in its new guise of intelligent design. His reason: “We cannot haul 10,000 generations into the laboratory." Well now, that's definitely wrong. Benedict's predecessor John Paul II did not at any time endorse "evolution"as understood by the Darwin lobby, a fact that Richard Dawkins understood quite well. Benedict isn't "growing uneasy" about Darwinism. He never supported it at any time. All too simple, I guess. Must be a conspiracy.

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