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Letters

Evolution/Original Sin (letter)

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 Contents - Aug 2001AD2000 August 2001 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: The Assumption of Our Lady: 15 August - Michael Gilchrist
Melbourne's new Archbishop receives Pallium from John Paul II - AD2000 Report
News: The Church Around the World
After 14 years: why does AD2000 continue? - Michael Gilchrist
Denver Archdiocese: the future of Catholicism - David Scott
US bishops implement papal teaching on Catholic universities - Charles E. Rice
Appreciating the Mass: a successful new publication - Fr Robert Egar PP
Australian scholarship for African priest
Letters: Balanced presentation (letter) - Denis O'Leary
Letters: BEC success stories (letter) - Errol P. Duke
Letters: BECs not new (letter) - John Barich
Letters: Radical feminists (letter) - Dr T.R. White
Letters: Statement of Conclusions (letter) - Mark Power
Letters: Orthodox seminary (letter) - Paul Chigwidden
Letters: Finding more priests (letter) - Theo Silvas
Letters: Evolution/Original Sin (letter) - John Schmid
Letters: Vatican II 'ambiguities' (letter) - George F. Simpson
Letters: Choosing life (letter) - Mark Whybrow
Letters: St Thomas Aquinas (letter) - Valentine Gallagher
Letters: Generous response (letter) - Fr Stephen B. Muchemwa
Letters: Mass leaflet (letter) - Stephanie McClarty
Letters: Correct statement (letter) - Elizabeth Carr
Books: Genetic Turning Points, by James Peterson - Bill Muehlenberg (reviewer)
Books: The Cross of Anzac, by Tom Johnstone - Mark Posa (reviewer)
Books: Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God, by Scott Hahn - Catherine Sheehan (reviewer)
Books: Learning to Pray, by Julie Keleman - Anthony Cappello (reviewer)
Books: The DNA of God: Newly Discovered Secrets of the Shroud of Turin, Garza-Valdez - Anthony Cappello (reviewer)
Books: The Christian Travellers' Guides: France, Britain, Italy, Germany - F.T. Long (reviewer)
Events: Victorian Thomas More Winter School 2001 in Ballarat, 3 - 5 August 2001
Events: Cardinal Lustiger to visit Australia, 6 August 2001
Events: Second National Chesterton Conference, 30 Sept - 1 Oct 2001
Reflection: Clerical celibacy: Giving ourselves up completely to God and the people He loves - Fr Dennis W. Byrnes PP

The debate on evolution and Original Sin has surfaced once more in AD2000. Carol Phillips (June AD2000) urges us to read Darwin on Trial by Philip Johnson.

I would urge people to read:

* Catechism of the Catholic Church, sections 388-390;

* Humani Generis, Pope Pius XII's encyclical, sections 35-38;

* In the Beginning by Cardinal Ratzinger, Third Homily ("Creation and Evolution") and Fourth Homily ("Original Sin");

* Questions People Ask by Rev Dr Leslie Rumble MSC, section 28. This answer mentions Darwin attributed the whole evolutionary process to God.

From the above sources it is clear that Church teachings are concerned with doctrine - what we are obliged to believe. Where it does not conflict with the Church's teaching, the Church leaves the evolution debate to science. Whatever the scientists finally agree on (if ever) can have no influence on doctrine.

Whether God formed Adam directly from the dust of the earth or through evolution does not have any bearing on doctrine already defined. Adam was the first man and as the Catechism states: "Revelation gives us the certainty of Faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents" (390). And: "The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God - it is not 'produced' by the parents ..." (366).

God does not always follow the laws of nature which He made. The Incarnation, the Resurrection and the Eucharist (transubstantiation) are the obvious examples. Non-human parents of Adam - if this was God's plan - would have been no problem for Him. Psalm 113b says: "But our God is in the heavens, He does whatever He wills." And St Paul (Epistle to the Romans 11:33) says: "How incomprehensible are His judgments and how unsearchable His ways! For who hath known the mind of the Lord or who hath been His counsellor?"

JOHN SCHMID
Boronia, Vic

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 14 No 7 (August 2001), p. 14

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