Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical, some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than an hypothesis.* In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies—which was neither planned nor sought—constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.
and Pope Benedict XVI, who called the supposed “clash” between creation and evolution an “absurdity” and hosted a big conference on evolution to which real scientists and not creationist scientists were invited:
…Pope Francis stated… pretty much what his predecessors have said.
“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” Francis said.
“He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment.”
And, right on time, the usual suspects weigh in to get everything wrong. MSNBC’s David Berger announces that Francis made a “significant rhetorical break with Catholic Tradition“; fundamentalists both Catholic and Protestant announce the End of Days again, and atheist fundamentalists like P.Z. Myers have hysterics and declare that evolution and creation are completely incompatible.
And lest you think this is anything recent, here’s St. Thomas on the doctrine of Creation, sounding pretty darned evolutionary:
Nature is nothing but the plan of some art, namely a divine one, put into things themselves, by which those things move towards a concrete end: as if the man who builds up a ship could give to the pieces of wood that they could move by themselves to produce the form of the ship.
— Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Physics II.8, lecture 14, no. 268
And he’s just cribbing from Augustine who likewise sees creation happening, not by God perpetually applying little fixes and magicking a tyrannosaurus out of thin air, but by Nature unrolling (Latin: evolvere) the potentialities that God placed in it from the start:
It is therefore, causally that Scripture has said that earth brought forth the crops and trees, in the sense that it received the power of bringing them forth. In the earth from the beginning, in what I might call the roots of time, God created what was to be in times to come. [Emph. added]
On the literal meanings of Genesis, Book V Ch. 4:11
Instead of reading dumb-inducing MSM misunderstandings of the Church’s teaching on Creation and mind-melting hysterics from fundamentalists both Christians and atheist, my suggestion is to go read the most excellent Michael Flynn on why evolution is perfectly compatible with Catholic teaching and why evolution and creation cannot contradict each other (though, of course both atheist and religious fundamentalists often labor to make them do so).
Also, you might want to check out Yr Obdt Svt. on the topic long before Francis revolutionized everyting on Monday. Truly astonishing how I anticipated what he’d say like that. It’s like I thought the Church has been saying this stuff for centuries or something.
Then, when you are done, go cleanse your palate with this hilarious piece from Eye of the Tiber:
Update: Mike Flynn helpfully adds:
I’ll see your Thomas Aquinas and raise you a Thomas Aquinas:
“Species, also, that are new, if any such appear, existed beforehand in various active powers; so that animals, and perhaps even new species of animals, are produced by putrefaction by the power which the stars and elements received at the beginning.” — Summa theologica, Part I Q73 A1 reply3
IOW new species would appear by means of the powers already invested in nature by God.
Or as the B-16 put it:
“Creation should be thought of, not according to the model of the craftsman who makes all sorts of objects, but rather in the manner that thought is creative. And at the same time it becomes evident that being-in-movement as a whole (and not just the beginning) is creation…” — Benedict XVI
IOW, species are four-dimensional and their evolutions over time are simply a part of the same creation, just as a fetus, an infant, an adolescent, and an adult are simply temporal parts of the same four-dimensional being.