If you’ve been anywhere near Facebook the past couple days, then you know that Pope Francis has shaken the stuffy old Roman Catholic Church to its core by his stunning remarks recently that — believe it or not — evolution and the big bang theory are not inconsistent with church teachings.
No. WAY. Right?
While it’s true Francis did say that, and more, it’s absolutely not true that this is some kind of watershed moment for Catholicism. Because, you see, since at least 1950, when the Humani Generis was issued by Pope Pius XII, the Holy See’s official stance has been that the idea of the physical bodies of mankind originating from pre-existing, ancestral forms through a natural process guided by God (i.e., theistic evolution) is compatible with the Bible and church tradition. This view was explicitly confirmed by Pope John Paul II in 1996, speaking before the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (the same body to which Francis addressed his comments that almost broke the Internet).
If anything, Francis’ remarks represent little more than a reiteration of what has been established church policy for well over 60 years. Which makes the media frenzy of the past couple days silly and even a little irritating at best, and lackadaisical, shoddy journalism (not to mention blatant click bait) at worst.
So, anyway, if you want to read a news story that doesn’t breathlessly fawn over Francis’ words as though history were in the making, look no further than The Times of Israel. (Time Magazine’s Elizabeth Dias got it right, too.)
Just to be clear, we at God of Evolution applaud Pope Francis for his comments, and the Roman Catholic Church for its entirely biblical stance on science and the theology of creation. Any religious leader who fearlessly endorses the compatibility of science and scripture is a victory for the gospel, as far as we’re concerned.
But the real story here is not “OMG POPE FRANCIS <3 EVOLUTION!!!!!" The real story is that arguably the oldest and most prominent Christian institution in the world has hearted evolution for decades.
Sort of makes you wonder how anyone can take Ken Ham seriously when he says his peculiar (and modern) interpretation of Genesis is the “traditional view.”