Updated: October 30, 2014 08:42 PM GMT
(Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble Collaboration)
A leading Vatican astronomer said that although some see Pope Francis' recent words on the Big Bang as signifying a change in the Church's stance on the issue, the pontiff in fact said nothing new.
“It is important to emphasize that Pope Francis was not saying anything new or 'breaking with tradition' as I saw one commentator put it,” Brother Guy Consolmagno, SJ said Wednesday.
Br Consolmagno is an American research astronomer and planetary scientist at the Vatican Observatory, which is an astronomical research and educational institution supported by the Holy See.
Storms of media reports initially arose following a speech Pope Francis gave at the unveiling of a bust of retired pontiff Benedict XVI for the plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Monday.
In his speech, Pope Francis said that “The Big Bang, which nowadays is posited as the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine act of creating, but rather requires it.”
He also touched on evolution, saying that the “evolution of nature does not contrast with the notion of creation, as evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve.”
Due to the explosion of headlines on the web saying that the Pope had officially endorsed a change in the Church’s position on these two theories, Br. Consolmagno said that it's important to remember that both theories came as a result of the work of a Catholic priest and a Catholic monk.
“The genetic basis of modern evolutionary theory is based on the work of Gregor Mendel, a Catholic monk; and the modern Big Bang theory was first proposed by Georges Lemaitre, a Catholic priest,” he said.
Br. Consolmagno explained that the theological basis for these theories can also be found in scripture, and cited St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians as one biblical source.
What Pope Francis said, he noted, is “completely consistent” with what numerous other popes in recent history have said.
Source:Catholic News Agency