The Daily Telegraph announced today that "The Vatican claims Darwin's theory of evolution is compatible with Christianity". This stops just before an official Papal Bull endorsing Darwin, but it is the next best thing, and by admitting that evolution should not be "dismissed" and stating that it is entirely compatible with the Christian view of Creation, the Vatican is not just saying what Christian freethinkers like yours truly have been saying for ages, but has hopefully delivered a swingeing death blow to the burgeoning Creationist and Intelligent Design movements.
The Daily Telegraph continued by quoting from two senior Roman Catholic authorities:
"Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said while the Church had been hostile to Darwin's theory in the past, the idea of evolution could be traced to St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas. Father Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti, Professor of Theology at the Pontifical Santa Croce University in Rome, added that 4th century theologian St Augustine had "never heard the term evolution, but knew that big fish eat smaller fish" and forms of life had been transformed "slowly over time". Aquinas made similar observations in the Middle Ages". Monsignor Ravasi also pointed out that 50 years ago, Pope Pius XII described evolution as a valid scientific approach to the development of humans.
Next month there is even a Papal backed conference marking the 150th anniversary of Darwin's On the Origin of Species, at which Intelligent Design will be described as a "cultural phenomenon" rather than a scientific or theological issue. And Marc Leclerc, who teaches natural philosophy at the Gregorian University, has stated that too many of Darwin's opponents, primarily Creationists, mistakenly claim his theories are "totally incompatible with a religious vision of reality".
This is all very good news for science and for common sense, and we sincerely hope that sincere Christians across the world will follow the Papal lead, and shun the superstitious drivel spouted by Creationist leaders, who secretly hope for a totalitarian theocracy. Muslim religious leaders have already accepted the concept of an ancient universe, and now, it seems that Christian leaders have done likewise. We applaud them for it, and await further developments with interest.