John Paul II’s “Message” to the Academy of Sciences of Rome
renowned geneticist Giuseppi Sermonti wrote:
temptations are dangerous. You risk accepting modernity
just at the time when it is found to be in its death throes,
and, for the love of the world, becoming followers of
Darwin just as Darwinism is on the wane. You risk establishing
the moral law on the theory of man's evolution from monkeys,
when this theory has been henceforth refuted (Il Tempo
on July 10, 1987).1
above quotation seems to have taken on the marks of a prophecy
today, ten years later, when we read the commentaries on
John Paul II's "Message" to the "Pontifical
Academy of Sciences"2
in the journal La Nazione: "Faith and Science:
Satisfaction for the Pope's words, which have served to
give a facelift to Darwin's pet but still unproven theory
- soul or no soul, thanks to the monkey."3
far as Darwin's theory is concerned, La Nazione's
writer exaggerates, since that theory makes no exception
for the soul, which must also be considered to be a product
of evolution. It is, however, quite certain that John Paul
II's "Message" is indeed disconcerting for many
DISCOURSES: BASED ON THE MAGISTERIUM?
read in John Paul II's "Message":
am quite pleased with the first theme which you have chosen,
that of the origin of life as well as that of evolution.
[…] Before giving you a few more specific thoughts on
this theme, I would like you to remember the fact that
the Magisterium of the Church has already pronounced itself
on these themes, and in the limits of its own competence,
to be sure. I will now quote two addresses (documents).
the Pope quotes Pius XII's encyclical Humani Generis
which does mention evolutionism; as well as his own speech
(Oct. 31, 1992) to that same Academy of Sciences - an address
in which no mention is made of evolutionism, but of...Galileo
and biblical exegesis.
read in John Paul II's "Message":
for me, while receiving (October 31, 1992) those taking
part in the plenary assembly of your Academy, I had the
opportunity, speaking of Galileo, of bringing their attention
to the need for the correct interpretation of the inspired
Word of God, of the strictest observation of hermeneutics.
We must properly define the true meaning of Holy Scriptures
while brushing aside those faulty interpretations which
are wont to make them say that which they are not meant
to say. In order to encompass as well as possible the
field of the object of their study, the exegetes, as well
as the theologians, must continually keep themselves informed
of those results provided by the natural sciences (cf.
AAS85, 1993, pp.761-772; Address to the Pontifical Biblical
Commission, April 23, 1993, which preceded the later document
on "the interpretation of the Bible in the Church"
(AAS86, 1994, pp.232-243).
preliminary observation: Since it is a question of evolutionism,
it would have been more to the point to remind the scientists
of the limitations of natural science rather than the exegetes'
and theologians' duty of keeping themselves informed about
those "findings (which are certainly not infallible)
coming from the various natural sciences." This is
especially true in view of the fact that, in this matter,
exegetes as well as theologians have already let themselves
be over-imposed upon by some presumed "findings"
(simple hypotheses, in reality) of "sciences of nature,"
which have been strongly influenced - let us not forget
- by a philosophy based on atheism.
then Holy Scriptures, of which we would do well to "properly
define the true meaning," are - to put it plainly -
those first chapters of the Book of Genesis wherein are
revealed the origins of mankind. The above-mentioned "reminder"
of the necessity of the "strictest observance of hermeneutics"
is tantamount to saying, therefore, that up to the present
day, we have not yet been given "a correct interpretation"
of Genesis and that the sacred texts have been twisted to
say "that which they are not meant to say" regarding
the creation of mankind. Besides, the passing reference
to the "document on 'the interpretation of the Bible
in the Church'" that toxic fruit of the new Pontifical
Biblical Commission, simply boils down to saying: a)
that this new "correct interpretation" of Genesis
must now come to us through the new "Pontifical Biblical
Commission" whose members are to distinguish themselves
"by their Catholic sensitiveness,"4
but are, quite on the contrary, regularly chosen from amongst
the most notorious of new-modernist exegetes;5
b) that this new and finally "correct"
interpretation of the Book of Genesis should spring from
that method falsely called "historico-critical method,"
which simply reduces Genesis to a mythological tale, a method
conspicuously supported in the above-mentioned document:
"The interpretation of the Bible in the Church."6
Card. Ratzinger, in the preface to this document, makes
it clear that the "historico-critical method"
(in actual fact, that same criticism corning out of the
Protestant-rationalist mold) is still being hotly debated
and, above all, that the new Pontifical Biblical Commission
"is in no way to be considered an organ of the Magisterium"
(as, on the contrary, was the previous Biblical Commission).
It is, therefore, in any case, and for many reasons, quite
inexact to speak of "two discourses" of the "Church's
Magisterium" on the themes of evolution and the origin
of life. The one and only public address of the Magisterium
on this question is and remains even today, Pope Pius XII's
Humani Generis, which, however, cannot be considered
the final and definitive pronouncement on this theme.
the other hand, we may well say that the Magisterium of
the Church has indeed already pronounced itself "with
two official discourses" on the "correct interpretation"
With the Decree (June 30, 1909) of the Pontifical Biblical
Commission, which was, at that time, an "organ of the
Magisterium," a decree whereby it was guaranteed that
the literal-historical sense [i.e., meaning] of the
first three chapters of the Book of Genesis cannot in any
way be questioned (i.e., doubted) when it is a matter
of facts concerning or affecting the very foundations of
the Christian Faith; including...the particular creation
of man and the formation of the first woman from the first
With Pope Pius XII's Humani Generis, which upholds the historicity
[i.e. the historical authenticity] of the first eleven chapters
of Genesis against the neo-modernists of the "new theology,"
while reaffirming the value and merits of the following
decree of the Pontifical Biblical Commission:
first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis, although,
properly speaking, not conforming to the historical method
used by the best Greek and Latin writers or by competent
authors of our time, do nevertheless pertain to history
in a true sense.
the dastardly deed of handing over the "correct interpretation"
of Genesis to the so-called "historico-critical method"
which, in casting off into the trashpile the Catholic doctrine
on the inspiration and absolute inerrancy [i.e.,
infallibility] of Sacred Scriptures, has in effect, simply
buried Catholic exegesis while even denying the historicity
of the Holy Gospels. All of which means establishing, in
the Catholic Church itself, that mythological interpretation
according to which Genesis is to be considered just a fabulous
tale, and so there is really nothing to be found in Holy
Scriptures on the origin of mankind.
LITTLE TOO MUCH AND A BIT TOO LITTLE
John Paul II's "Message," the following is said
concerning Pius XII's encyclical:
his encyclical Humani Generis" (1950), my
predecessor Pius XII had already declared that there was
no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of Faith
concerning man and his vocation, providing that certain
basic points be kept well in mind (cf. AAS42, 1950, pp.575-576)[...].
view of the state of scientific research of those earlier
days and also taking into account the particular requirements
of Catholic theology, the encyclical Humani Generis
considered the doctrine of evolutionism as a serious hypothesis,
worthy of research and of serious thought and this, just
as much as its opposing hypothesis. Pius XII added two methodological
conditions: that this opinion be not adopted as though it
were a certain and demonstrated doctrine and as if Revelation
could be completely disregarded in questions of this nature.
He also mentioned the necessary proviso that this opinion
be compatible with the Catholic Faith, a point upon which
I shall return.
nearly 50 years after that Encyclical, new knowledge leads
us to no longer consider the theory of evolution as just
a simple hypothesis. […] Pius XII had underscored this
essential point: if the human body takes [sic]
its origin from living, pre-existent matter, the spiritual
soul is immediately created by God (animas enim a Deo
immediate creari catholica fides nos retinere iubet,
Encyclical Humani Generis AAS, 42,1950, p.575).
it seems that John Paul II's message makes Pius XII say
a little too much on the one hand, and a bit too little
on the other.
little too much, because Pius XII in Humani Generis
is distinctly speaking of two evolutionisms. Of the first
closely observes those outside of Christ's fold will easily
and soon discover the main paths travelled by a great
number of scientists. In fact, they are the very ones
who make out that the so-called system of evolution can
be applied to the origin of everything; now, the proofs
of this system are in no way irrefutable, even in the
limited field of natural science. They do, however, accept
it without any prudence whatsoever, without proper judgment,
and we hear them professing smugly and brashly that monist
and pantheist hypothesis of some primeval and unique 'something'
completely and fatally subject to a never-ending evolution.
Now, this is very precisely the very same postulate adopted
by the partisans of communism so that, when the souls
of men have been deprived of every idea of a personal
God, they may the more efficaciously defend and propagate
their dialectical materialism.
above quotation constitutes in simple terms the (Church's)
official condemnation of evolution, be it materialistic,
atheistic or pantheistic: all of which deny the dogma of
creation. In his message, John Paul II unfortunately neglects
to recall the above-mentioned condemnation of Pius XII,
and it is this omission which has probably prompted those
screaming headlines about Darwin's unmerited rehabilitation
as was done in the previously-mentioned newspaper La
the investigation and expounding of the true sense
of the Sacred Scriptures, that is, the truth actually
conveyed by them.
the principles governing the right interpretation
of the Sacred Scriptures and associated, therefore,
with the science of exegesis.
materialist system according to which all things
proceed from only one principle, viz. matter, by
way of evolution.
a false philosophy, which consists in confounding
God with the world.
the study of the writings of the Fathers of the
Church and the science of their contents.
that branch of philosophy which is concerned with
the theory of the origin, nature, grounds, method
and limits of knowledge.
atheistic and materialistic evolutionism was running rampant
"outside the Christian fold" at the time of Pius
XII, the so-called theistic evolutionism was, indeed, already
prevailing inside the fold of Christ. Since this last type
of evolutionism admits God's influence upon evolution and
the direct creation of the human soul, it was supposed that
it could be established in the Catholic Church itself. The
theistic evolutionists, one of whom was Carlo Colombo (who
later became Paul VI's theologian!) appealed to "progress"
of science which they used - we know not with what good
faith - to turn hypotheses into absolute certainties.8
The background to all of this is well described by
several Catholic circles there has spread the impression
that the question of man's origin has recently received
such encouraging results from paleo-anthropological research,
that we are now obliged, for the sake of truth as well
as of prudence, to cast aside our previous convictions
based on the Bible, the doctrine of the Fathers of the
Church, as well as the constant teaching of the Church.9
the doctrine [or teachings] of the Fathers, even though
carrying much weight, was not able, in this case, to settle
the question once and for all.
Ruffini, himself a cardinal member of the Pontifical Biblical
Commission and zealous defender of the traditional and obvious
meaning of Genesis chapter 2 (7-24), writes in one of his
fundamental works on evolutionism10
that there is lacking in the Fathers' teachings one
of the two indispensable conditions for declaring that the
creation of the human body from the slime of the earth be
considered as belonging to the deposit of Faith. In fact,
in order for the doctrine of the Fathers to be able to vouch
for the divine and apostolic Tradition and testify therefore
in favor of divine Revelation, it is necessary that: 1)
the Fathers show themselves unanimous (at least morally)
to attest to a truth; 2) they must attest
to this truth as a truth of Faith, for example, by declaring
guilty of heresy anyone attacking it or else by affirming
that such is indeed the teaching of the Church, or by any
other equivalent way. As to the direct creation of the human
body from the slime of the earth, we have the unanimous
accord of the Fathers, but in their texts, there is lacking
the second essential condition (with the exception of a
doubtful text of St. Jerome) which explains the theologians'
state of uncertainty in qualifying this doctrine (for some
a "de fide truth," for others, simply a
enabled theologians as well as authorized exegetes or those
close to Pius XII, such as Boyer, Pirot, Ceuppens and Bea,
to affirm that in the biblical narrative we must retain
the fact (of God's special intervention in the creation
of the human body) and leave it to science to determine
the way in which it was done: that is, if God formed the
human body from inorganic or organic matter (the latter
being a nice way of saying: from an animal). In this case
[i.e., from an animal], "slime of the earth"
in the biblical text would simply be understood in its figurative
meaning, and not in its literal sense, as it has always
been believed. Pirot, for example, had written:
God made use of the body of an animal to fashion the body
of the first man (or not) remains a question to be addressed
not by exegesis, but by (the science) of anthropology.11
Ceuppens, another qualified exegete:
think that both theories can be equally justified or defended.12
Bea, who at the time was the Rector of the Biblical Institute:
question belongs, as do many others, to that category
of various problems which should constitute the object
of research in the applied sciences of paleontology,
biology and of morphology.13
Boyer, who was then professor (and then rector) at the Pontifical
also exaggerate those who ...are most scandalized...by
the idea that the founts of Revelation do not clearly
exclude some kind of participation of some inferior living
species in the fashioning of the first human body.14
assertions of authorized persons gave rise to a great deal
of negative reactions on the part of theologians and exegetes
equally qualified in these matters.
was at this juncture that Pope Pius XII intervened with
his encyclical Humani Generis when he wrote:
remains for Us now to speak about those questions which,
although they pertain to the positive sciences, are nevertheless
more or less connected with the truths of the Christian
Faith. In fact, not a few insistently demand that the
Catholic religion take these sciences into account as
much as possible. This certainly would be praiseworthy
in the case of clearly-proven facts; but caution must
be used when it is rather a question of hypotheses, having
some sort of scientific foundation, in which the doctrine
contained in Sacred Scripture or in Tradition is involved.
If such conjectural opinions are directly or indirectly
opposed to the doctrine revealed by God, then the demand
that they be recognized can in no way be admitted.
these reasons the Teaching Authority of the Church does
not forbid that, in conformity with the present state
of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions,
on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place
with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as
it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming
from pre-existent and living matter - for the Catholic
Faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created
by God. However, this must be done in such a way that
the reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable
and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged
with all necessary seriousness, moderation and measure,
and provided that all are prepared to submit to the judgment
of the Church, to whom Christ has given the mission of
interpreting authentically the Sacred Scriptures and of
defending the Dogmas of Faith.
at this point, as a note, Pius XII refers to his Allocution
to the members of the Academy of Sciences (Nov. 30, 1941,
AAS, vol. XXIII, 1941, p.506) wherein he had affirmed:
numerous research works in the fields of paleontology,
of biology as well as in morphology on other problems
concerning the origins of man have, to date, come up with
nothing positively clear and certain. It behooves us,
therefore, to leave to the future the answer to this question,
if, perchance, science, enlightened and guided by Divine
Revelation, is able to provide certain and definitive
results (answers) on such an important question.
is, therefore, a bit of an exaggeration to say that Pius
XII had "already affirmed that there was no opposition
between evolution and the doctrine of the Faith." It
is, on the contrary, quite accurate to declare that in Humani
Generis, the Roman Pontiff makes no pronouncement, leaving
to the scientists and theologians the task of bringing forth
arguments both pro and con, while reserving to the "judgment
of the Church" the last word once they have finally
obtained (if possible) "certain and definitive results."
And it is still too much to have Pius XII say that "if
the human body takes [sic] its origin from living,
pre-existent matter, the spiritual soul is immediately created
by God." Pius XII never used the present indicative
tense, the tense of reality and of certitude, and never
would have done so. What he did say, since he was only speaking
hypothetically, was that even if the human body should have
had its origin in an animal (which is still light years
away from being a demonstrated fact) the immediate creation
of the human soul would remain firm and unaltered.
the same vein, it is stretching the truth to pretend that
Pius XII "considered the doctrine of evolutionism as
a serious hypothesis, worthy of research and of serious
thought and this, just as much as its opposing hypothesis."
a matter of fact, Pius XII does not say that theistic evolution
is a serious hypothesis, but that it is a hypothesis to
be studied with all "necessary earnestness (or seriousness)"
(which is, quite obviously, not the same thing at all);
he maintains that it is a hypothesis not "worthy"
but "which needs" to be weighed and judged "with
all necessary seriousness, moderation and measure"
and that everyone is duty-bound to be submitted to the judgment
of the Church. And lastly, it is too much to say that Pius
XII considers the evolutionist hypothesis "worthy of
research and of serious thought and this, just as much as
its opposing hypothesis." In fact, right after this,
Pius XII deplores the case where…:
however rashly, transgress this liberty of discussion
(i.e., that liberty of discussion allowed by Humani
Generis), when they act as if the origin of the human
body from pre-existing and living matter were already
completely certain and proved by the facts which have
been discovered up to now and by reasoning on those facts,
and as if there were nothing in the sources of Divine
Revelation which demanded the greatest moderation and
caution in this question.
last affirmation simply means that Pius XII does not at
all consider theistic evolution "just as much as its
opposing hypothesis" and that his obvious reservation
of judgment on this question is rather more negative (non-licet)
TRADITIONAL AND EVIDENT SENSE OF GENESIS
is true, in fact, that the argument based on Patristics
is not sufficient in this case to settle this question once
and for all. However, the unanimous consent or agreement
of the Fathers concerning the formation of Adam's body from
the slime of the earth has ever remained an argument of
great weight and strength against the hypothesis pretending
that the human body was derived from some animal. Another
argument of the first order remains the unanimous accord
of theologians as well as of all of the Christian faithful
on the creation of the human body from the slime of the
earth: a common doctrine, therefore, and, for many theologians,
one of Divine Faith, up to the present time: "This
question of the origin of the human body stemming from the
animal kingdom," Ludwig Ott writes, "only arose
under the influence of evolutionism."15
This above all: it is not at all easy to reconcile
evolutionism, even of the theistic kind, with the sacred
texts on the origins of the human body. Genesis teaches
us that God created the soul of man directly and formed
his body from pre-existent matter [i.e., "slime
of the earth," Gen. 2: 7] Organic or inorganic matter?
Organic, that is, living matter, the evolutionists argue.
However, the most obvious and literal meaning given by the
Bible is not that of some organic (living) matter, but that
of some inorganic, inanimate (non-living) matter: "
And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth"
(Gen. 2:7). And to Adam following his sin, God did say:
"Thou wilt return to the earth out of which thou wast
taken: for dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return"
(Gen. 3:19), without mentioning other texts supporting Genesis.
Moreover, Genesis (2:7) informs us that God, after having
fashioned man's body, "breathed into his face the breath
of life and man (Adam) became a living soul." The question
which now arises is, therefore, that which, in his day,
Card. Ruffini posed in an article published in the Osservatore
Romano just a little while before Humani Generis:
are we to safeguard the unmistakably clear biblical account
or testimony telling us that the body of the first man
became alive through God's breathing upon it, if, as the
evolutionists claim, it [that body] was already alive
turn, the exegete Francesco Spadafora observes that in order
to support the evolutionist hypothesis, even of the most
limited sort, one must "twist" the sacred texts.
exegetes who favor a mitigated evolutionism in fact translate
Genesis (2:7): "God formed man of the slime of the
earth and breathed into his face the breath of life, and
man became a living person," and no longer "a
living soul" (or a living being). But the Hebrew "nefesh
chajjah" in Genesis is always used with the meaning
of "living being" and is also applied to animals
(cf. Gen. l: 21-24; 2:19; 9:10,12,15). How is it therefore
possible to justify the translation "living person"?
And, if the proper and precise translation is, as it indeed
is "living soul" (living being), it simply means
that Adam's body, before his soul was infused into it by
God's breathing, was not yet alive and therefore inorganic
matter, not organic; dust of the earth, not animal. Moreover,
according to the evolutionist's type of exegesis, "dust
of the earth" would mean: "an animal already created
from the dust of the earth" and, really now, this is
a bit too much! 17
Conclusion: "theistic evolutionism which would
also like to be considered Christian"18
is in no way at all supported by the self-evident
and natural meaning of the sacred text.
this obvious meaning is also the meaning traditionally accepted
by the Catholic Church, starting with the Fathers (of the
Church); a meaning duly approved by Church Authority (Provincial
Council of Cologne, 1860, approved by the Holy See, retractions
demanded of Leroy, Zahn, Bonomelli, etc., by the
Holy Office); a meaning which still remains, in spite of
the evolutionist wave, the "most common meaning,"
which the exegetes, such as Galbiati himself, admitted.19
Mgr. .Spadafora writes that:
is evident that the Biblical narrative presents some anthropomorphisms
[=similitudes, not myths] (God who forms Adam from the
dust of the earth); this the Fathers noted down well and
yet all of them have admitted and accepted the idea of
a direct and particular intervention on God's part including
His fashioning of the first human body from inorganic
Card. Ruffini warns:
speak about the origin of man, while changing and modifying
our beliefs of past ages, always constitutes a point which
can lead, if not to blatant errors, at least to a weakening
and decline of those positions of the utmost importance
for the Faith.21
sense together with prudence, as a matter of fact, require
that even in the case of a non-defined question of exegesis,
traditional belief be not argued without sufficiently grave
and well-grounded reasons. In any case, before evolutionism
has ever rigorously proven its hypotheses and the evolutionist
theologians and exegetes have come up with arguments much
more firmly grounded than their presumed simple-minded "scientific
progress," with which they are light-years away from
proving the case for evolutionism, these (evolutionists)
will have indeed shown themselves to be..:
of novelty, and fearing to be considered ignorant of recent
scientific findings, they try to withdraw themselves from
the sacred teaching authority (Pius XII, Humani Generis).
can now understand why this "intervention" of
the Magisterium of the Church which is Humani Generis
made no final pronouncement on theistic evolutionism, preferring
to postpone such a decision to a later date when both science
and theology would be able to offer "certain as well
as definitive indispensable proofs."
now we have a novelty contained in John Paul II's recent
nearly 50 years after the publication of that encyclical
[of Pius XII] new knowledge leads us to consider no longer
the theory of evolution as just a simple hypothesis.
is this "new knowledge"? The "Message"
limits itself to saying that:
fact is remarkable that this theory has progressively
imposed itself upon the attention of research workers,
in the wake of new discoveries in diverse disciplines
of knowledge. The convergence, or coming together, unsought
and unprovoked, of findings of independently carried out
research, constitutes in itself a significant argument
in favor of this theory.
the "convergence" of those findings has yet to
be shown because for a long time already, great difficulties
have arisen against evolutionism, including those fields
of science which, only a short while ago seemed so favorable
to it: embryology, genetics, geology, paleontology , etc...And
that this convergence, if it does indeed exist anywhere,
be "unsought and unprovoked" remains to be seen,
since it is in the habit of evolutionary scientists to twist
their findings to fit into their hypotheses: "Many
evolutionary authors take into account only those elements
which favor their own theoretical conceptions," admitted
Professor Piero Leonardi of the University of Padua22
in his debate with Mgr. Spadafora, a renowned exegete.
any case, a "significative argument" does not
in any way constitute a decisive proof nor a rigorous demonstration
such as is demanded and required in the field of science,
and especially in the case of a question touching the Christian
Faith in which we would find ourselves obliged to "put
aside our previous convictions based on Sacred Scriptures,
on the doctrine of the Fathers as well as on the traditional
teaching of the Church." The "Message" of
John Paul II himself says, yes, that..:
knowledge leads us to no longer consider the theory of
evolution as just a simple hypothesis.
it is not at all said that this "new knowledge"
leads evolution to be considered as a scientific certainty
as the mass media deduced and proclaimed everywhere (a misunderstanding
easily foreseen and which those responsible for it had the
duty to "nip in the bud"). The rest of the text
of the "Message" is as follows:
is the importance of such a theory? Touching this question
means to enter into the field of epistemology. A theory
is a meta-scientific elaboration, distinct (or separate)
from the results of observation but similar to them. Thanks
to it [ i.e., a theory], a set of facts and data
can be brought together as a whole and interpreted in
an integrated and undivided explanation. Theory shows
its validity insofar as it is open to verification; it
is constantly evaluated on the level of facts; and where
it is no longer demonstrated by facts, it manifests its
limits and inadequacy. At this point it must be thought
if all of this has been well understood, the "theory
of evolution" must no longer be considered as a hypothesis,
but as a...theory! And, since a theory, as the same "Message"
admits, must also itself be verified "on the level
of facts" and eventually "rethought," it
seems that evolutionism has gained absolutely nothing from
such a promotion (and that such a promotion has served only
to create the above-mentioned misunderstanding).
MYTH HENCEFORTH TORN TO SHREDS
is all the more so since evolutionism "on the level
off acts"- which the "Message" seems to ignore
strangely - has already declared itself bankrupt.
will limit ourselves to a few quotations, but which carry
a lot of weight. In 1980, in a congress held in Chicago,
160 scientists from all over the globe acknowledged the
shipwreck of their system against the reef of the fixedness
(or stability) of species:
complete absence of any links between men and monkeys is
but the most obvious in the series of illusions: the absolute
non-existence of links of one species to another is not
at all an exception: this is the universal rule in nature.
The more scientific researchers have tried to follow any
traces of transition from one species to another, the more
they have been deceived and disappointed (Newsweek,
in 1980, in Italy, Giuseppe Semonti, a world-renowned geneticist
and professor at the University of Perugia, together with
Roberto Fondi, professor of paleontology at the University
of Sienna, published their work Dopo Darwin: Critica
all'evoluzionismo - After Darwin: A Critique on Evolutionism
(Rusconi, Milan) in which the "myth" of evolutionism
gets its so well-deserved scientific burial. In 1985 there
followed, by the same Semonti, another work: Luna nel
bosco - Moon in the Woods (Rusconi, Milan), once more
taking evolutionism to task. Finally, on August 25, 1992,
the Corriere della Sera published an article entitled:
"Scientists Meet in Congress: We Do Not Come from Monkeys;
Darwin Challenged on Evolutionism." The newspaper story
was all about the annual congress of the British Association
for the Advancement of Science, the very same association
to which was presented for the first time the theory of
evolutionism. The author of the article was the English
scientist Richard Milton, author of The Facts of Life:
The Myth of Darwinism Torn to Shreds. The Corriere
della Sera wrote:
is not alone in his challenge. Many indeed are the scientists
who have seriously questioned Darwin's thesis.
moreover, never did convince all of the scientists). And
all of this after a whole army of biologists, of paleontologists,
of embryologists, of zoologists, of botanists, of geneticists,
of anthropologists from all nations exhausted itself for
over a century in a vain attempt to flush out from under
cover the faintest trace of a supposed evolution. Together
with Card. Ruffini we ask the "theistic" evolutionists,
"Was it really worthwhile to wander off from the divinely
revealed. path, a path so straight, so simple yet so logical
and rational even in its smallest details?"23
being as they are, we need to ask ourselves the (pertinent)
question: why did John Paul II's "Message" to
the Pontifical Academy of Sciences seek to undertake the
restoration of a myth henceforth completely discredited
and lying in shambles before the world? The following seems
to us to be probably the most likely answer: Amongst the
"mythomaniacs" of evolutionism stands the Jesuit
Teilhard de Chardin, who, in order to try to justify his
"weird and fantastic theology" (i.e., his "Christlike"
evolutionism or still, his evolutionism of "holy matter"
towards the Omega-point, where Christ is reduced to a zenith
of the process of "humanization"!), never hesitated
in having recourse to scandalous hoaxes: the "Piltdown
Man," a fraud made up from a man's skull and the mandible
of a monkey;24
and his "sinanthropus" of Peking (Peking Man...)
fashioned with the bones of monkeys killed by ...modem hunters!25
"theology," despite the monitum [i.e.,
a solemn warning] of the Holy Office against his works,
triumphed at Vatican II, especially in Gaudium et Spes,
thanks to the efforts of De Lubac.
the Catholic hierarchy, starting with the Roman Curia, is
teeming with highly-placed clergymen unfortunately infected
with "acute teilharditis" - according to Gilson's
formula for De Lubac26
- and the first of all, as we have already so rigorously
documented, is the Prefect of the ex-Holy Office, Card.
Ratzinger, for whom, exactly as with Teilhard, in Jesus
Christ, it is not God Who was made flesh, but it is man
John Paul II himself following the example of Paul
VI, does not hesitate to quote Teilhard de Chardin. Above
all, take the case recently quoted in a Passionist review..:28
letter written in 1981 by Card. Casaroli, John Paul ll's
Secretary of State, to Mgr .Poupard, on the occasion of
the public celebrations of Teilhard's centennial, indicated
a very favorable attitude toward him (i.e., Teilhard)
on the part of the Holy See, thus dispelling all those fears
propagated by great theologians of rare intelligence and
of great aggressiveness.
are they depicted today, by the followers of Teilhard, all
those great theologians who were so opposed to that Jesuit's
condemned works, in particular Fr. GarrigouLagrange, O.P.,
whom they will never forgive for having proved that their
"new theology" proceeds unrestrained to heresy
by the "path of shims and fancies."29
Passionist publication forgets, however, the fact that,
almost immediately, on July 22, 1981, a press release from
the Holy See hastened to make it clear that the letter sent
by Casaroli "in the Holy Father's name" was not
at all meant..:
constitute a revision of the previous stand taken by the
Holy See vis-a-vis that author (Teilhard), and especially
with reference to the Monitum of the Holy Office (of June
30, 1962) warning the faithful that that author's works
were teeming with ambiguities and grave doctrinal errors.
had happened? A group of cardinals of the Roman Curia had
immediately and sharply protested against Teilhard's undeserved
praise, and, consequently, this attempt at rehabilitating
that heresiarch suffered a partial setback.30
sincerely hope to be mistaken, but we do fear that John
Paul lI's "Message" to the Pontifical Academy
of Science was not intended to be so much a restoration
of evolutionism already "in shreds," as a renewed
attempt to officially approve or sanction the modernist
error of Teilhardism, which is not only a form of evolutionism,
but which is, in fact, much more and much worse: for it
is, in truth, a dangerous and radical distortion of Christianity,
wherein the fundamental dogma would no longer be the Incarnation
of God, but the "ascent of man"31
with the consequent cult of Man made God instead of
God made Man.
Courrier de Rome, Mar. 1997)
Sermonti, who refers to his book La luna nel bosco
(Rusconi,1985), is also the co-author with Roberto Fondo
of the work Dopo Darwin-Critica all' evoluzionismo.
Cf. Osservatore Romano, Oct. 24, 1996.
La Nazione, Oct. 25, 1996.
Motu proprio Sedula Cura of Paul VI, art. 3.
Byrne, Ravasi etc. Cf. Si Si No No, Oct. 31,
Si Si No No, Dec. 31, 1994.
Enchiridion Biblicum no.338.
V. C. Colombo, "Trasformismo antropologico e teologia,
" La Scuola cattolica, 77 (1949), pp.17-43;
on p.26 it is claimed that the theory of evolution belongs
to science ''as demonstrated facts and theories."
E. Ruffini in his article "Responsabilita dei paleoantropologi
cattolici" in Osservatore Romano,June 3, 1950.
Ruffini, La teoria dell'Evoluzione secundo la scienza
e la Fede, (Rome, Orbis Catholicus, 1948).
L. Pirot, Adam, Dict. de la Bible, Supplement, I,
P. F. Ceuppens, Le polygenisme et la Bible, Angelicum,
A. Bea in Biblica XXV(1944), p.77.
C. Boyer, De Deo creante, 1948, p.412.
L. Ott, Compendio di teologia dommatica ed. Marietti,
E. Ruffini. op. cit.
F. Spadafora Dizionario Biblico; ed. Studium,
Rome, word Adam; see also in Temi di esegesi
(I PA G, Rovigo, pp.154-160), Evoluzionismo e Poligenismo.
Parente-Piolanti-Garofelo, Dizionario di teologia
dommatica, ed. Studium, Rome, 1952, p.130.
La Sacra Biblia, ed. Marietti, vol. I, p.21,
Dizionario Biblico, loco. cit.
Cf. Palestra del clero,]an. 15, 1949.
V .A. Kohn, Falsi profeti, ed. Zanichelli; 30
Giorni, December 1991, p.66; and Grandi civiltà del
passato of Hobby and Work.
Cf. Osservatore Romano, Dec. 2, 1948, O.Fribault's
article-A.Dubois who take up Boule's plain refusal. See
also Si Si No No, Oct. 1978, pA. "Un gesuita
traditore di Cristo e della Chisa."
E.Gilson's letter to A. Del Noce, Nov. 14, 1967 ,published
by Il Sabato, Dec. 29, 1990.
Cf. Si Si No No, March 31, 1993, pp.1 sq.
La Sapienza delta Croce, April -June, 1996 p.137.
Cf. Si Si No No, March 31, 1994, pp.3 sq.;
on the defamation of Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange cf. Si Si
No No, Jan. 31, 1993 and Feb. 15, 1993, pp.1.sq.
Cf. Si Si No No, June 15, 1981, pp.1 sq. and
Sept. 15, 1981 pp.5 sq.
Cf. Cardinal Siri, Gethsemani.
Courtesy of the Angelus
Press, Kansas City, MO 64109
translated from the Italian
Fr. Du Chalard
Via Madonna degli Angeli, 14
Italia 00049 Velletri (Roma)