5-August-2005 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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VATICAN OBSERVATORY HEAD CLASHES WITH CARDINAL ON EVOLUTION

London, Aug. 05 (CWNews.com) - The director of the Vatican Observatory has distanced himself from the perspective on evolution put forward by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn .

Writing in the British Catholic newspaper, The Tablet , Father George Coyne, SJ, says that Cardinal Schönborn "darkened the waters" in discussions of faith and science when the cardinal said that Darwinian evolutionary theory is incompatible with Christian faith.

In a column that appeared in July in the New York Times , and attracted worldwide attention, Cardinal Schönborn explained that while the Church can accept some aspects of evolutionary theory, the notion that human life evolved through "an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection" contradicts the belief that God created human life.

Father Coyne, in his Tablet essay, contradicts the cardinal's position, claiming that a Christian can recognize God's providence while still holding the belief that life "evolved through a process of random genetic mutations and natural selection."

Father Coyne, an American Jesuit, is an astronomer who divides his time between two posts: teaching astronomy at the University of Arizona and directing the Vatican Observatory, which is located on the grounds of the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.

Cardinal Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, is a theologian, and the chairman of the editorial committee that produced the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

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