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150th Anniversary of Darwin's 'Origin of the Species'
Published: Tuesday, November 24, 2009
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Charles Darwin's landmark book Origin of the Species was published on November 24, 1859. Today, 150 years later, it's still controversial.

A Gallup Poll released Feb. 12, the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth, showed that 39 percent of Americans accept evolutionary theory while 25 percent do not. Another 36 percent of respondents had no opinion.

A conference in March, 2009, sponsored by the Vatican, reaffirmed the Catholic belief that Darwin's theory is not incompatible with Catholic teaching. Popes Pius XII, John Paul II and Benedict XVI in particular have expressed interest in biological evolution.

Pope Pius XII wrote in a 1950 encyclical that there was no conflict between evolution and faith, as long as there were certain firm points of faith where no concession can be made.
More than half a century later Pope John Paul II cited the encyclical in offering firm support for Darwin's work, telling the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 1996 that "new knowledge leads to recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis."

Organizers of the March conference suggested that many Catholics remain unsure of the issues that Darwin's theory raises.

For a more in depth look at some of these issues, you might want to read this article from the November issue of St. Anthony Messenger, as well as theCatholic Update "Creationism: What's a Catholic to Do?"

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