MANILA, Nov. 3, 2014 — Statements made by Pope Francis on evolution and the Big Bang theory recently sparked a frenzy in social media, but a free talk on Nov. 20, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the San Carlos Seminary seeks to show that faith and science are indeed “compatible.”
Dubbed “Creation, Evolution, and Faith,” the symposium, organized by Missionary Society of St. Columban, will be facilitated by Dr. John Anthony Feehan, MILI, author of the book “The Singing Heart of the World Creation, Evolution, and Faith.”
A repeat of the talk is scheduled on Nov. 22, Saturday, at the Remedios Jubilee Mission Center, Malate Catholic Church.
A renowned and award-winning environmental communicator in print and television, Feehan is also a geologist and botanist who has a background in philosophy and theology.
He taught the Masters in Ecology and Religion course run by the Columban Missionaries in Ireland, and was a senior lecturer at University College Dublin until his retirement in 2012.
“The Big Bang, which is today posited as the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine act of creation; rather, it requires it,” the British Catholic Herald quoted the pontiff as saying in his address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
“Evolution of nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation because evolution presupposes the creation of beings which evolve,” he stressed.
According to him, God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life.
But to anyone familiar with Church history and the magisterial teachings, this is old news.
Pope Francis only reiterated what his predecessor Pius XII openly affirmed in the 1940s, decades before Facebook and Twitter, most famously in the 1950 encyclical “Humani Generis,” and more recently by Pope St. John Paul II in a 1996 address.
Article 36 of Humani Generis stresses, “The teaching authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions… take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter – for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God.” (Raymond A. Sebastián)