NY Times, Jan 19
ROME, Jan. 18 - The official Vatican newspaper published an article this week labeling as "correct" the recent decision by a judge in Pennsylvania that intelligent design should not be taught as a scientific alternative to evolution.
"If the model proposed by Darwin is not considered sufficient, one should search for another," Fiorenzo Facchini, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Bologna, wrote in the Jan. 16-17 edition of the paper, L'Osservatore Romano.
This isn't the official Catholic teaching (it's close), but a new paper that reflects the opinions of many scholars. As someone who attended Catholic Schools from K to college and then on to the seminary for an MDiv in theology, I have NEVER come across Genesis vs Science. In religion class, were taught that God created the world but not how. We were taught to see the point in a particular bible story, not take it literally because it wouldn't make sense otherwise. True. In science class we learned Darwin. There are new evolutionary discoveries made all the time and that doesn't discount science at all. Well it shouldn't.
The Vatican has too many astronomers and scientists to try to push the "god created the world in 7 days" story with a straight face. There are too many educated people in that religion to buy the fairy tales. Well hopefully. Perhaps my parent's generation are rather old school, but the baby boomer generation wasn't quite as gullible.
Another interesting tidbit in Vatican news was the Extreme Makeover of Judas. Perhaps he was really misunderstood and we should look upon him more kindly, it is being said. After all, if he didn't turn Jesus in, he wouldn't have died on the cross for the sins of the world. Perhaps Judas was fulfilling a divine mission, some say. (That opens up a can of worms.) And didn't Jesus die on the cross for all man's salvation? Wouldn't Judas have been included? Well some Vatican scholars feel that this is all too confusing for the flock to consider and we should drop the discussion. This is typical. But many scholars are beginning to come clean about the myths we were brought up on. Kudos to them. We can take it.
If you ask me, the flock is already confused especially if they have read all the biblical accounts of Jesus' death. At the last supper, Jesus says woe to the man who betrays the son of man. Yet in Matthew's gospel, Jesus tells Judas to do what he has to do. The 4 official gospels of the bible portray Judas differently depending on the motive of the particular gospel. Oh yes, each gospel has its own agenda. There are even more gospels that were tossed aside by the early church fathers who put the New Testament together... probably for very political reasons.
Free will aside, Judas fulfilled a prophecy. Whether or not he was added in the gospels to make a point may never be determined for sure by Catholic scholars. It is worth considering that Judas was a myth. A terrible myth that spurred on anti-semitism through out the ages. His name became synonymous with the Jewish people. I'd more likely consider that Judas was a myth rather than go with the "let's give Judas a break" theory.
The early church fathers did a number on many characters including Mary Magdalen who was actually Jesus' favorite disciple. It was so unpatriarchal to suggest that she was his closest companion that she was portrayed until recently as a prostitute. If you read the gospels carefully, it is quite evident that she was the least fearful personality among the disciples and most concerned about Jesus. Peter and his companions were quite cowardly- downright scaredy cats. The church fathers played that down, hoping the flock wouldn't notice it in the gospels.
The patriarchs felt so icky when thinking about women that they had to make Jesus' mother a virgin even though she had other children. The christmas story in the gospels was stolen from pagans. I could go on and on but space forbids it. I'd like to see the true story of Lot and the fairy tale of Soddom and Gomorrah straightened out too. In a nutshell, the sin of Soddom and Gomorrah was inhospitality and those were tar pits that blew up not fire and brimstone from the mean guy in the sky. Lot was a shithead to boot. That's another post.