October 30: The Big Bang

Pope Francis made waves yet again this week, when he pronounced the theories of the Big Bang and of evolution compatible with the Christian faith. “The Big Bang, which today is held as the beginning of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator, but requires it,” he told the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. And, again: ”Evolution in nature is not at odds with the notion of creation because evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve.”

In truth, he was not breaking new ground, because Pius XII had already written of the possibility of compatibility in 1950 and St. John Paul II had already confirmed it in 1996. But Pope Francis uses language that translates easily into layman’s terms—the language of the catechist or the evangelizer—and perhaps that is why he makes news.

But in Evangelii Gaudium, he had already included science in the scope of evangelization. “Dialogue between science and faith also belongs to the work of evangelization at the service of peace.”

We can understand his address at the academy, then, as the living out of a principle he had already defined in his apostolic exhortation. “Evangelization is attentive to scientific advances and wishes to shed on them the light of faith and the natural law so that they will remain respectful of the centrality and supreme value of the human person at every stage of life. All of society can be enriched thanks to this dialogue, which opens up new horizons for thought and expands the possibilities of reason. This too is a path of harmony and peace.”

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