Pope John Paul II on Science and Faith

From: Robert Schneider <rjschn39@bellsouth.net>
Date: Sat Apr 02 2005 - 22:34:46 EST

In a previous note I referred to two addresses by Pope John Paul II on the relationship between science and faith. The earlier is in the form of a letter addressed to the Rev. Dr. George V. Coyne, Directory of the Vatican Observatory, and introduces the papers read at the Vatican Observatory Conference entitled Physics, Philosophy and Theology: A Common Quest for Understanding (Vatican City State, 1988). You can read this letter on line at the ITEST site: http://itest.slu.edu/theologicalview/readings2/pope.html, and also at http://clavius.as.arizona.edu/vo/R1024/ppt-Message.html.

The Pope's 1996 Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on evolution and Catholic teaching can be read at http://www.its.caltech.edu/~nmcenter/sci-cp/evolution.html. It introduces the papers read at the Vatican conference on Molecular and Evolutionary Biology held that summer (Vatican City State, 1998).

Five years ago, I was in the audience during a debate between an evolutionary biologist and an ID proponent in Lexington, KY. The biologist mentioned that Pope John Paul II had supported acceptance of evolution. The ID guy, a local dentist, said, "I don't know who the pope's advisers are," insinuating that they can't be very good. They are in fact the 80 members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, thirty of whom are Nobel laureates (the honor is not restricted to Catholics: members are appointed without any ethnic or religious discrimination), and an inner circle of advisers who include Coyne. In 1996, TIME magazine ran a short story on the pope's address on evolution, and of course they had to interview a creationist, so they called Henry Morris. He said that he thought the pope had been poorly advised.

Bob Schneider
Received on Sat Apr 2 22:37:03 2005

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