• Pope John Paul II
    • His Holiness Pope John Paul II
      October 22, 1996
      To the Pontifical Academy of Sciences

      Truth cannot contradict truth

      ...For my part, when I received those taking part in your academy's plenary assembly on October 31, 1992, I had the opportunity with regard to Galileo to draw attention to the need of a rigorous hermeneutic for the correct interpretation of the inspired word... Taking into account the state of scientific research at the time as well as of the requirements of theology, the encyclical "Humani Generis" considered the doctrine of "evolutionism" a serious hypothesis, worthy of investigation and in-depth study equal to that of the opposing hypothesis... Today, almost half a century after the publication of the encyclical, new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis... What is to be decided here is the true role of philosophy and, beyond it, of theology. --Truth cannot contradict truth - full text

      Full text from the October 30 issue of the English edition of L'Osservatore Romano compiled by Christus Rex.

      VATICAN CITY, OCT 23, 1996 (VIS) - In a Message made public today to the members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, meeting this week in the Vatican in plenary session, the Holy Father recalled that Pope Pius XI, who restored this academy in 1936, called this group of scholars "the Church's 'scientific senate'" and asked them "to serve the truth." The Pope expressed delight on the plenary's theme on the origin of life and evolution, "a basic theme which greatly interests the Church, as Revelation contains, for its part, teachings concerning the nature and origins of man." If the scientifically-reached conclusions and those contained in Revelation on the origin of life seem to counter each other, he said, "in what direction should we seek their solution? We know in effect that truth cannot contradict truth." --VIS 961023

      The Pope's acknowledgement was welcomed as a significant advance by scientists, even though some said it had come late. "It will allow many Catholic scientists, who have been engaged for some time in research on human evolution, to continue their work without any censure or difficulty," said Francesco Barone, a leading Italian scientific philosopher. --Pope accepts theory of evolution - Reuters, 24 October 1996

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