Creationism and evolution can co-exist, says cardinal
Darwin gets thumbs-up (again) from the Catholic church
By Lucy Sherriff
Published Wednesday 5th October 2005 15:11 GMT
Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, considered a contender in the recent papal race, has apparently distanced himself from remarks he made in the New York Times in July when he said that an "unguided, unplanned process of natural selection" was not "true".
His remarks were widely interpreted as a signal that the Vatican no longer accepted that the theory of evolution could co-exist with a belief in the teachings of the Roman Catholic church.
In 1996, Pope John Paul II issued a formal statement on the compatibility of science and religion. Schoenborn is considered something of an expert on church doctrine, so Schoenborn's apparently revisionist reading of that statement came as something of a surprise.
However, in a lecture given at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna on Sunday, Schoenborn said that it was possible he had not expressed himself clearly.
"Such misunderstandings can be cleared up," he said, according to a Reuters report.
The 60-year-old cardinal now says that there need not be an inherent conflict between divine creation and evolution. He says that one is a matter for religion, the other for science, and that the two disciplines are complementary.
Schoenborn said: "Without a doubt, Darwin pulled off quite a feat with his main work and it remains one of the very great works of intellectual history. I see no problem combining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution, under one condition - that the limits of a scientific theory are respected."