In a referendum on evolution between me and the pope taking place among Catholics since Thanksgiving, I am kicking papal butt.
Back in November, I took Pope Francis to task for saying: "God is not … a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life. Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve."
A respected writer for the Wanderer, James K. Kilpatrick, defended the pope's position. He was inundated with letters from fellow Catholics who support my position and question why the pope doesn't just accept the Bible as true.
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I followed up with a sequel to keep the debate alive.
In an update by Kilpatrick in the Wanderer, he wrote: "The letters we receive are supportive of Farah's point of view. What follows are excerpts from a few of the most interesting and informative.
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- D.R.K., of Sheridan, Oregon, writes, "It's a shame the Church can't find a pope who – without shame and embarrassment – can boldly state that the Bible is true." He warns of the slippery slope he sees in veering from a literal reading of Genesis: "Is it easier to defend Mary's Immaculate Conception and the fact that not only was she born without sin, but was also sinless her whole life? Or that Gabriel appeared to her and told her that she would be the Mother of God through the act of the Holy Spirit? Or that Jesus died and rose again? Or that at the consecration the bread and wine are transformed into Christ's Body and Blood? The problem that Mr. Farah sees, and apparently the pope does not, is that Catholics who are told they don't have to believe Genesis will not believe the other things either, and, as we now know, they don't."
- J.H.G., of Manahawkin, New Jersey, agrees: He asks how I could possibly consider myself "a faithful, educated, and obedient Catholic, when you continue to totally disregard a whole series of explicit Magisterial rulings and Church teachings" on "creation, Adam and Eve, original sin and the proper interpretation of the Bible?" He points to the 1901 Pontifical Biblical Commission, which ruled that "the transgression of the divine command" given to Adam and Eve "is a narrative which corresponds to objective reality and historic truth" and whose "literal and historical meaning may not be called into question."
- J.H.G. maintains that if I "reject that idea" I am "not in accord with Catholic teaching. Or do you think you know better that St. Paul who wrote, 'as the serpent seduced Eve by his guile'." (It is not clear from his letter whether J.H.G. is as critical of Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis on this topic as he is of me.)
- J.H.G. underscores his case by quoting from Pius XII: "[T]he sources of revealed truth and documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam." Also from Leo XIII: "We call to mind facts well known to all and doubtful to no one; after He formed man from the slime of the earth on the sixth day of creation and breathed into his face the breath of life, God willed to give him a female companion, whom He drew forth wondrously from the man's side as he slept." Also from Pope Pelagius I: "Adam himself and his wife, who were not born of other parents, but were created, one from the earth, the other from the rib of the man." J.H.G. adds similar pronouncements from Pope Clement V and Innocent III.
- T.W. of Oxford, Conn., sees the issue similarly. He writes, "Pope Leo XIII taught in Providentissimus Deus that the literal interpretation of Scripture is to be accepted as the correct interpretation, unless reason or necessity requires otherwise. Pope Pius XII taught in Humani Generis that it must be believed that all inherit original sin through their descent from Adam. If Adam came from apes, and if Eve also came from apes and not from Adam's rib, what a shame that their parents and relatives were not given immortal souls like they were.
"The Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation (www.kolbecenter.org) notes: 'We must believe any interpretation of scripture that the Fathers taught unanimously on a matter of faith or morals (Council of Trent and Vatican Council I).' All the Fathers who wrote on the subject believed that the creation days were no longer than 24-hour days (Consensus of the Fathers of the Church, Origen being an exception). The work of creation was finished by the close of day six, and nothing completely new has since been created – except for each human rational soul at conception (Vatican Council I).
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"Vatican I declared: 'If anyone does not confess that the world and all things which are contained in it, both spiritual and material, were produced, according to their whole substance, out of nothing by God; or holds that God did not create by his will free from all necessity, but as necessarily as he necessarily loves himself; or denies that the world was created for the glory of God: let him be anathema.'"
Kilpatrick invites continued correspondence on the topic for his own publication, First Teachers – by email: [email protected]; or by postal mail: P.O. Box 15, Wallingford CT 06492.
Media wishing to interview Joseph Farah, please contact [email protected].