Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

From the March AD 1997
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Bulletin

    Update: On Evolution.

    Cal Thomas, who wrote one of the more strident columns on the Holy Father's address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, recently made it known that some of the confusion resulted from a faulty English translation of the Pope's remarks.1 Integrity in journalism is refreshing - compliments to Mr. Thomas.

    According to John Vennari, in Catholic Family News, "the original French text contained the phrase l'evolution, c'est plus qu'une hypothese. So the translation could either be 'more than a hypothesis' or 'more than one hypothesis.'"2  The press was quick to pick up the first meaning in order to proclaim that the Pope had declared "evolution to be more than a hypothesis" - as though he were declaring it to be a fact:

    Today more than a half century after this encyclical [Humani generis], new knowledge leads us to recognize in the theory of evolution more than a hypothesis. The convergence, neither sought nor induced, of results of work done independently one from the other, constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of this theory.3

    Cal Thomas cites the following translation by the English edition of L'Osservatore Romano as official:

    Today almost half a century after the publication of the encyclical [Humani generis], new knowledge has led to the recognition of more than one hypothesis in the theory of evolution."4

    Unfortunately, neither Thomas nor Vennari quotes the French version or L'Osservatore Romano's translation of the "convergence ... constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of this theory."

    Thomas' closing remark applies equally well to scientists who thinks they are theologians as to theologians who think they are scientists: "As God said to Job, 'Where were you when I laid the foundations of the universe?'"

1. Cal Thomas, "Translations of pope's speech made for confused coverage," Sun-Sentinal, January 1997.
2. John Vennari, "The Evolution Collision - Dignitatis Monkey," Catholic Family News, December 1996, vol. 3., no. 12.
3. Sun-Sentinel, Oct. 25, 1996, page 1.
4. Thomas, ibid., emphasis his.


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