…sits the Vatican’s Astronomer. Until this week, that’s been Rev. George Coyne, who, along with fellow Vatican Astronomer, Brother Guy Consolmagno, has been known to be more than a little controversial his approach to some topics.
The new Vatican Astronomer will be Fr. Jose Funes, 43, of Argentina.
The Catholic tradition is not the Fundamentalist tradition. Catholics do not take a strict, literal interpretation of the Bible, and indeed, there is a strong tradition of science teaching in the Church that long precedes Gregor Mendel (1822-1884), one of the founders of modern genetics.
So it is important to know that the dispute between “Church” and “Science”, especially re: evolution, is not a dispute about the facts: Evolution is a fact. It’s “survival of the fittest” that is a theory. It’s the jump from there to the place at which God is not needed to explain the workings of the universe that’s untennable. The misrepresentation of our understanding of physics, cosmology and even simple mechanics as an understanding with no need of God is an indictment of both teachers and scientists. Everyone who thinks that, even in principle, everything can be explained or understood without reference to God represents a failure of science and science teaching.
It looks like Pope Benedict has taken his flock at least one step in that direction, and maybe several.