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Pontifical academy discusses human evolution

Catholic World News - April 26, 2013

A working group of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences met from April 19-21 to discuss the evolution of man.

“In this first transcendent origin of the human being we should in fact admit the direct participation of God,” said Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, the chancellor of the academy.

In a text issued jointly before the meeting, Bishop Sanchez, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, and Henry de Lumley, the director of the Institute of Human Paleontology in Paris, said that “nine billion years went by between the Big Bang and the formation of a primitive lifeless ocean on planet Earth, then another four billion years passed by between this primitive ocean and man, with 100 billion brain cells and the ability to question his role in the history of the universe and of life and to reconstruct his own history.”

“Believers in Abrahamic religions know that the starting point is not amorphous chance or a twist of fate, as hypothesized by skeptics and materialists,” they continued. “Christians know they owe their origin to the Holy Trinity, who, with an act of love, granted them a privileged place to know and love God and to be the stewards of creation. This had already been glimpsed by religions in general and also by the pre-Christian philosophers.”

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is not an organ of the Magisterium; as its web site explains, it “is an independent entity within the Holy See. Although its rebirth [in 1936] was the result of papal initiative, and though it is placed under the direct protection of the reigning Supreme Pontiff, the Academy defines its own goals with regard to its statuted aim: ‘...to promote the progress of the mathematical, physical and natural sciences and the study of epistemological problems relating thereto.’”

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  • Posted by: Salome - Apr. 26, 2013 6:33 AM ET USA

    I do hope that Bishop Sanchez means by 'Abrahamic religions' the religions that believe the story of Abraham as set down in Genesis, where Abraham demonstrated his obedience to God by his willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac. Any religion that teaches an alternative version of the story teaches a different Abraham, and is thus not 'Abrahamic' as Christians would understand it.

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