There an amusing story of CathNews today about the Vatican refusing to apologise - as the Anglicans have just done - for controversies over Darwin and the theory of evolution.
Archbishop Ravasi of the Pontifical Council for Culture pointed out in a press conference that:
(1) The Catholic Church had in fact never condemned Darwin or the theory of evolution, nor was his book ever placed on the banned books list;
(2) Evolution theory "is not incompatible from the outset with the teachings of the Catholic Church, nor the message of the Bible," he said.
In fact, St Augustine was the first to point out that the Genesis account of creation should probably not be interpreted too literally give that the first few 'days' takes place before the sun had been created to 'govern the day'. In fact Humani Generis, issued by Pope Pius XII in 1950 specifically allows Catholics to accept physical evolution provided they hold that (a) the human soul is directly and individually created by God and (b) Adam was the first parent of us all. Back in 1950, Pope Pius XII felt the debate was still open. More recently, Pope John Paul II suggested that in fact evolution was now the clear scientific consensus.
(3) The time had come to 'abandon the habit of issuing apologies and treating history as if it were a court always in session' (take that Anglican wimps)!
Yay Vatican! Tell the ratpack always out for blood where to go jump!
Now I know many traditionalists do in fact support creationism, or 'Intelligent Design'. They are free to do so. But they shouldn't do so because it is the teaching of the Church - it ain't.
And expect to see more on this subject given the conference the Council is sponsoring next year entitled 'Biological Evolution: Facts and Theories. A Critical Appraisal 150 years after The Origin of Species', to be held in Rome from March 3 to 7, 2009.