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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. Thank you. Wishing you a blessed Lenten season.

Why doesn’t the pope settle the debate between creationists and evolutionists?

Question:

Why doesn’t the pope settle the debate between creationists and evolutionists? It would seem the easy way around a tough problem.

Answer:

He doesn’t do so because a key issue in that debate is beyond his power to settle–the question of scientific fact. His authority to teach extends to matters of faith and morals, not to questions of science. Some people argue the facts support the theory of evolution; others say they don’t. This is more a scientific question than a theological one.

Incidentally, Catholics holding to a form of evolution compatible with Catholic teaching are also “creationists” (although in a different sense of the word) because they affirm the Creator and his necessity.

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