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Vatican To Re-Evaluate Darwin

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« on: February 10, 2009, 01:14:17 pm »

                                               Vatican to re- evaluate Darwin

                             Conference to focus on evolution and the Christian faith

- Vatican City,
February 10, 2009 -

The Vatican is preparing to re-evaluate 19th century British naturalist Charles Darwin 200 years after his birth and 150 years since the publication of his landmark work, On the Origin of Species.

As opposed to the Anglican Church, the Catholic Church never condemned Darwin's work and next month will examine his theory of evolution in depth from the point of view of Christian faith.

This will be done at a March 3-7 conference sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture to be attended by a host of international scholars and theologians.

''Now more than ever it is necessary to scientifically discuss the various scientific aspects of the theory of evolution, a theory which has been at the center of the history of science for Catholic and non-Catholic scholars,'' said Father March Leclerc, a professor of philosophy at the Gregorian University here who has organised the five-day debate.

The conference was illustrated in Rome on Tuesday by Father Leclerc who said it will begin with discussions on scientific aspects of Darwin's theories and then review its philosophic ramifications.

The seminar will wind up with a theological debate on ''evolution from the point of view of Christian faith, starting with a correct explanation of the Bible's teachings on creation and then moving on to how the Church has viewed Darwin's theory,'' he added.

There will also be some discussion on 'intelligent design' or Creationism, the literal interpretation of Genesis which fundamentalist Christians accept as the truth, ''but this will be impossible to examine scientifically,'' Father Leclerc said.

According to the Vatican's 'culture minister', Msgr. Gianfranco Ravasi, ''it is important to establish a dialogue which unites science and faith''.

''Neither approach alone is sufficient to fully explain the mystery of man and the mystery of the universe. Problems arise when they overlap to the extent that scientific theory becomes an ideological system applied to reality as a whole, which is the absurd case of social Darwinism,'' the head of the pontifical culture council added.

A well-known Biblical scholar in his own right, Msgr. Ravasi observed how ''the author of Genesis was most certainly conditioned by the scientific truths and limits of his time and did not intend to explain what literally took place but rather focused on a theological question: what meaning does man have in the universe''.

Darwin will be the focus of a two-day conference at Rome's scientific Lincean Academy, Wednesday and Thursday, as well as a major exhibition at the capital's Palazzo delle Esposizioni, which runs from February 12 to May 3.

After Rome the show will move to Milan in the summer and Bari in the Autumn.
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