Vatican Observatory head clashes with cardinal on evolution

The director of the Vatican Observatory has distanced himself from the perspective on evolution recently put forward by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn.

Writing in the London Tablet, Fr George Coyne SJ says that Cardinal Schönborn "darkened the waters" in discussions of faith and science when he said recently that Darwinian evolutionary theory is incompatible with Christian faith.

Catholic World News reports that in a column that appeared in July in the New York Times, and attracted worldwide attention, Cardinal Schönborn explained that while the Church can accept some aspects of evolutionary theory, the notion that human life evolved through "an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection" contradicts the belief that God created human life.

Fr Coyne, in his Tablet essay, contradicts the cardinal's position, claiming that a Christian can recognise God's providence while still holding the belief that life "evolved through a process of random genetic mutations and natural selection."

Fr Coyne, a US Jesuit, is an astronomer who divides his time between two posts: teaching astronomy at the University of Arizona and directing the Vatican Observatory, which is located on the grounds of the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.

Cardinal Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, is a theologian, and the chairman of the editorial committee that produced the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Vatican Observatory head clashes with cardinal on evolution (Catholic World News 5/8/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
George Coyne: God's chance creation (The Tablet 6/8/05)
[Cardinal] Christoph Schonborn: Finding Design in Nature (New York Times 7/7/05)
Vatican Observatory | Vatican Observatory Staff - George V. Coyne SJ | Honouring Page for George V. Coyne SJ

Cardinal redefines Church's view on evolution (CathNews 11/7/05)
Vatican Observatory sponsors conference on evolution (CathNews 22/6/04)
Vatican scientist joins effort to define new object in solar system (CathNews 29/3/04)

John L Allen: Schönborn and evolution (National Catholic Reporter 5/8/05)
George Coyne: God's chance creation (The Tablet 6/8/05)
Bush remarks prompt new debate on intelligent design (Catholic World News 3/8/05)
Evolution in the Eyes of the Church (Zenit 28/7/05)
Catholic experts urge caution in evolution debate (National Catholic Reporter 29/7/05)

8 Aug 2005