I have previously discussed my admiration for Pope Francis, who strikes me as a truly holy man in every true sense of that term. Francis has pulled the Church into the Twenty-First Century with massive reforms and new approaches. This week saw one of the most remarkable such changes: Pope Francis announced that it is perfectly consistent to be a Catholic and an evolutionist. For many Catholics who cannot deny the evidence that the Earth is billions rather than thousands of years old, the announcement shows that it is possible to believe in both God and evolution.
Pope Francis declared that the Big Bang theory “doesn’t contradict the intervention of a divine Creator, but demands it.” The comment came at the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, gathered in the Vatican to discuss “Evolving Concepts of Nature.” Francis said that the creator “brought all things into being . . . from a supreme Principle of creative love.” He added that “[e]volution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”
On my recent visit to the Vatican, I was told by multiple people that there has been a massive increase in visitors due to the unprecedented popularity of this Pope. Indeed, churches are reporting rising congregations after years of decline due to the draw of Pope Francis. Ironically, he is the greatest evidence that institutions like humans can evolve into better and higher forms.