Creation Ex Nihilo. If you’re protestant, this is likely the only Latin phrase that you’re comfortable with hearing. If you’re Catholic… Well, this is, quite sadly, likely one of the most influential Latin phrases that you’ve never heard. Simply put, it means: Creation out of Nothing, and explains one of the least talked-about tenants of our faith.
The debate over creation and evolution is one that has raged ever since Darwin first published his landmark work: On the Origin of Species, all the way back in 1859. Since that time, a great battle has been fought across the world as proponents of evolution battle to raise science over superstitious religions, while the Church has fought to preserve the doctrine of scripture and the Magisterium. Great debates have been held, high school cafeterias have turned into forums for dialogue, and countless jobs have been sacrificed on both sides of the issue. In recent years, especially within the Catholic Church, this particular debate has been largely sidelined in favor of other issues, with most people considering it a moot point. After all, does it REALLY matter what you believe when it comes to the origins of the world? What matters is Jesus, right?
Here, I intend to break down the issue in a logical, comprehensive manner, and show why the issue truly does matter to the Catholic Church of today. For the purposes of this article, I will not be covering the various scientific aspects of the issue. For more on this, I strongly suggest looking at the organization Answers in Genesis, who have hundreds of hours of free resources to peruse. They’re markedly anti-Catholic, but their science is solid, and they provide much evidence that points to the creation of a young Earth. I, on the other hand, will be attempting to show in a logical and, indeed, scientific manner that the theology of evolution is absolutely incompatible with the Catholic Church.
And thus, my thesis: In the Catholic Church today, a battle rages over Traditionalism and Modernism. Trads often point to the slow creep of Modernism, how it took over first one doctrine, and then another, and then another, until we reached the state of the Church today. Inevitably, there is a search for the first crack, the first breach that allowed Modernism to take its hold. And, here, I will make the case that evolution, and the acceptance thereof, provided the fuel that Modernism needed in order to secure its hold on the Church.
Evolution is a prime example of modernism that infiltrated the Church under the disguise of science.
Evolution is absolutely incompatible with Christian beliefs.
Acceptance of Evolution is what gave Modernism the fuel it needed to truly flourish.
First point: Before I can begin explaining why I believe that evolution is a prime example of modernism, we must first establish exactly WHAT modernism is. In short, modernism is the idea that the traditional teachings of the Church need updating due to the move into the modern era. Almost no one in the Church will deny that this is happening, and almost everyone will use the same term to denote the actions taking place. The differences come in how we react to such challenge to doctrine. I, quite obviously, am not a great fan of modernism. Jesuit priest James Martin, on the other hand, is an avid advocate for allowing gay couples to participate fully in the Church, and encourages the active pursuit of such a lifestyle. His logic, of course, is that modern reality has shown that condemning homosexual relations is a byproduct of a bygone age. Other battles currently being fought in the Catholic Church at this moment include allowing divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to be readmitted to communion, allowing contraception, and expanding the role of women in the Church.
However, while these are the battles currently being fought, they are by no means the breadth of the battles that have been waged. Other attacks on doctrine have been warred and completed, with “modern” doctrine taking the place of nearly two millennia of Tradition. Many of these battles may be such that, unless you’re particularly involved in the traditional Catholic sphere, you might not have even realized were ever issues. Several of these include: 1. The orientation of the priest. Prior to Vatican II, the priest faced away from the congregation, symbolizing that the priest was offering the mass to God. Now, the priest faces the people in order to make it a more personable experience.
2. The reception of communion a.In the hand vs on the tongue. b.Kneeling vs standing. c.When I first became a Catholic, I was simply taught to receive communion while standing, in the hand. I didn’t even know that there WAS another way to receive it for quite some time. Traditionally, not only was reception of communion only permitted while kneeling and on the tongue, laypeople weren’t even allowed to TOUCH the Eucharist.
3. Women wearing veils in church. I know this one is a bit of a touchy issue still, as many women consider it demeaning to be forced to wear a veil. There’s a long discussion that could be had here, but… If you’re in favor of women NOT wearing veils, I challenge you to ask yourself why. If your answer is “because we’ve realized that women have a greater role in society” or something along a similar tone, you’re only proving my point that the removal of chapel veils is the result of modernism.
4. Icons in churches. Visit a Traditional Latin Mass, and you’ll almost certainly be overwhelmed with statues, paintings, and other forms of imagery. Most modern church buildings have had these removed, citing the same reasons: It’s the modern era, we can’t have these stuffy old saints cluttering up the place. Not when we can slap a fancy resurrectifix over the altar.
5. The placement of the tabernacle. Why have that ugly gold box cluttering up the stage where it clashes with all the modern architecture? This may sound like a flippant argument, but… Having the tabernacle placed in a side room off the side of the chapel is becoming more and more common, and I personally have seen it mostly in hyper-modern-style churches where style and flair is key.
6. Whether or not hell is real (or, if it is real, whether or not people actually go there). Bishop Barron has become slightly infamous in recent times for his remarks about all men going to heaven (if you’re not familiar with that particular incident, stop reading and google “Bishop Barron dare we hope”). Many people simply aren’t concerned about the Four Last Things anymore (death, judgement, heaven, and hell).
7. Whether or not God chastises his people.
8. The practice of devotions (such as rosaries, other chaplets, and scapulars).
9. The proper treatment of relics. A bit of a rant here: It is a mortal sin to sell a relic. And yet, today, relics are bought and sold like candy in Catholic gift shops around the world. My wife and I have been given five 3rd-class relics over the years (Two Padre Pio relics, a St. Therese of Lisieux relic, a St. Bernadette relic, and a relic of the True Cross). Some of them have been gifts from close friends, but two of them (the True Cross and the St. Bernadette relic) were given out as “freebies” in other purchases that we made. While we’ve placed them inside our home altar and do our best to honor them, there’s no guarantee that such a thing would actually happen! If you give away a relic to someone who won’t treasure it, then you’re carelessly sending a relic to a home where it could be thrown away, tossed in a corner, or otherwise desecrated. It’s incredibly irresponsible as a shop owner, and the practice needs to stop NOW.
10. The use (or lack thereof) of Holy Water and other sacramentals in Catholic homes.
11. Belief in angels and demons. When you attend Mass, you are in the presence of many angels. You have a guardian angel. The thoughts that go through your head are not necessarily yours, as demons have the power to implant such thoughts. Which is why having a good relationship with your guardian angel is PROBABLY a good idea.
12. The use of Latin.
13. The pursuit of indulgences (yeah, those are still a thing).
I could go on for quite awhile longer, but I think you get the point. Almost everything listed above has either been cast aside or altered due to the advance of modernism and the idea that believing in stuff like this is the product of middle-age superstition. As a brief aside from my own field of expertise: There’s a reason why, in modern-day entertainment, you rarely see fantasy mixing with science fiction. Characters aboard starships will rarely be seen praying (or, if they are, their god will be revealed to be an alien entity of some form). Mystical forces will be explained using scientific terms. The fact of the matter is that our society has so greatly ingrained the concept of modernism that, even in our imaginations, most people can’t comprehend a technologically advanced race of people who still bother to believe in silly ol’ gods. End aside.
So… That was long, but I think you should have the idea by now. The question now becomes: Where did this cancer begin? When did the flower first begin to bloom in the minds of people that, as we moved into the modern era, we had to update our beliefs? Well, to examine that issue, I’d like to turn once more to fiction. I know, I know, it’s an odd way of doing things, but bear with me.
When looking at the realm of science fiction, two entries truly stand out that defy my earlier statement, Star Wars and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. In Star Wars, the mystical Force gives the Jedi their power, allowing them to do great feats and accomplish great deeds (and even grants that tiny percentage of the population a shadow of an afterlife if they’re powerful enough). In Deep Space Nine, the Bajorans worship mystical, timeless aliens known as the Prophets. While they ARE technically aliens, they’re depicted as more powerful than some gods in other works of fiction, so I’ll count them as being essentially real. In these works, something interesting begins to emerge: The perfect, and, dare I say elegant, blending of religion and technology. Special weapons are crafted for the Jedi, technological creations that reflect the spiritual reality of their dimension. Meditative devices are made for the Bajorans to help them pray, starships and mass communication allow for better communication of the religion across the solar system, etc. In one case, technology reflects the religion of the universe, while in the other, the religion makes natural use of the technology available for furthering their cause. In both cases, however, the presence of technology in no way, shape, or form inhibits the progression of religion, and in fact enhances it in special and unique ways.
Thus, I think it is easy to say that technology in and of itself is no deterrent in the minds of the masses to the proper practice of religion. Despite this simple fact, it is easy to look at our modern world, examine the psychology and physiology of modern man, and determine that the only true difference between ourselves and the medieval peasant is access to technology. So then… Why this modernist push that we see in the world today? I feel I should point out that, while it is most apparent in the Catholic Church to people such as myself, other religions are suffering similar fates. Most Muslims are not as devout as the warriors that the Crusaders once fought against, Hinduism has been turned into common exercise, the list goes on. What happened?
The answer, as with this entire topic, is far from simple. However, I do think that we need to turn to the presence of technology in our world today, and will employ another *very* brief example from the world of fiction in order to do so. When speaking of the genres above, what terms are used? For the olden days, the mystical and the spiritual journeys, we use the word “Fantasy.” Something fantastic, something magical, something that could only be born from our imaginations. On the other side, we have Science Fiction. Despite most of these stories being just as fantastic and unrealistic, we see that hard word: Science. Reality. Grounded. With a bit of fiction tacked on top. This example continues even further when looking at the dozens of articles you’ve likely seen on social media over the years: “20 amazing inventions predicted by Science Fiction!” And yet… Where are the posts labeled: “20 doctrines of the Catholic Church reflected in Fantasy!” One is common. The other… Isn’t.
And thus, my thesis for this point: Technology, and the progression thereof, has become inextricably linked with the concept of Science. Now, in and of itself, there isn’t anything at all wrong with that concept in the slightest. The Catholic Church actually formulated the scientific method, and Catholics were behind the vast majority of early inventions and scientific discoveries. This is because, in the traditional Catholic understanding of the word, “science” is the process through which we discover how God wrought the world together. Science is the understanding and uncovering of God’s handiwork in the universe, and the subsequent application of those discoveries. At its heart DOES lie a sense of progression, but only in the sense of gaining a greater understanding and awe for the creator, who built our world in an amazing and marvelous manner.
For almost two thousand years, science progressed in this manner. Philosophy gave way to material sciences, which began to give birth to discoveries about how the world and the universe worked. In every case, when a new discovery was made, it was made in light of God. Scientific progress was placed into an ever-widening sphere of knowledge about how God worked. Then, something changed. Instead of making discoveries and attempting to figure out how they fit into God’s plan, we began attempting to figure out how to make God fit into our discoveries. It became a constant struggle that many of us are familiar with: desperately trying to figure out how God’s plan and power can still continue to function in light of X or Y innovation.
I’ll return to the above-described process in due time, but for a moment, I’d really like to delve into the concept of this change. Whether it was fast or slow, at SOME point, the switch flipped, and we as a human race demoted the supernatural to something that could work with the natural world, rather than seeing the natural world as an extension and creation of the supernatural world. When did this happen? Well… I think you know what I’m going to argue.
The concept of evolution was not a new one when Darwin published his landmark essay on the subject. In fact, it can be dated to the time of the Romans, where philosophers mused about organisms descending from other types of organisms. It can be seen again throughout history, gaining steam once more in the 1700s as “modern science” (i.e. science not founded on God) began to take form. Even still, it wasn’t truly given credibility in the world at large until 1859.
As a brief aside, I really don’t think that it was a coincidence that Darwin published his report almost exactly one century prior to the announcement of Vatican II, but that’s another matter entirely. The fact of the matter is that, despite being a relatively fringe subject prior to Species, a massive debate between scientists and philosophers took place at Oxford University less than a year after publication. While all sides present claimed victory for the debate, such a high-presentation confrontation brought a great deal more attention to the theory, resulting in its sweeping acceptance throughout much of the scientific world in the years to follow. Papers were published, and the concept of evolution became one that nearly everyone in the world was familiar with in an incredibly short order.
While I’ll demonstrate this in detail in the section below, the fact that we must deal with is that evolution, as presented by Darwin, came as such a great shock because it provided a method through which the world could have been created without God. Prior to that time, while there were certainly those who believed that the world had been produced through natural causes, their theories were as vague as many pagan creation myths. With this, quite suddenly, Science had a method through which the world could have been created without the need for gods or the supernatural. Suddenly, atheists throughout the world had a book that they could point to. And THIS is where the switch was flipped.
As has been stated numerous times, science was first developed properly by the Catholic Church. It was a way of understanding God, and there was never any reason to question its findings (as a brief aside, if you actually examine the court case, Galileo was found guilty because he was a professor at a Catholic university who had begun teaching his theory before it had been properly tested, NOT because the Pope feared that it would exclude God). Because of this, when science suddenly dropped the bombshell that the world had been formed without God… There was a good bit of confusion, which is only natural given such a massive “revelation.” As Darwin’s revolution began to take place, the Popes took no official stand, likely due to this apparent conflict of interest between supporting science and advocating a theory that was blatantly anti-God.
While the Church as a whole remained silent, the battle was quickly waged on the ground. In the early days, excommunications from bishops began to fly, and pro-evolution papers were petitioned for listing on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (prohibited reading materials). As the battle continued, though, the early defenders began to perish and move on… And widespread acceptance of the theory drew nigh.
Second Point: Evolution is absolutely incompatible with Christian beliefs If you’ve studied this argument much at all from a Catholic perspective, you’ll likely point to the document Humani Generis, authored by Pope Pius XII in 1950. In it, Pius XII states that there is no conflict between evolution and Catholicism. To quote: “The Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter.”
I’ve heard a number of Catholic evolutionists use this exact statement to justify their belief in the theory. The distinct issue is that… Well, Pius XII didn’t stop there. While he doesn’t directly say that evolution is false, he DOES go on to say that we as Catholic MUST believe in a literal Adam and Eve. To quote: “When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which through generation is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.”
Pius XII said it well enough, but I’ll summarize in more modern English: Evolution doesn’t directly contradict Christianity, but due to the doctrine of Original Sin, a true and literal Adam must have existed in order to commit that Original Sin. Here, I’ll go into a brief discourse on the doctrine of Original Sin and what exactly it means. At its core, it’s fairly simple. Adam sinned, and, from that sin, every single human born since then has also lived in sin. This is explained explicitly in Paul’s letters, see Romans 5:12 as one of several examples. The sacrament of Baptism is born from this, as baptism washes away original sin. If, as explained by evolution, a large group of creatures slowly evolved to become human, then, by necessity, there would have been a large group of first humans, or first “Adams.” Interestingly enough, St. Thomas Aquinas himself (arguably the greatest theologian of all time, if you’re not familiar with him) wrote on this subject back in the 1200s, indicating that this has been an issue of considerable debate for some time. His opinion was the same as Pius XII’s, i.e. that Catholicism requires belief in a literal Adam.
Of course, if you support evolution, you’re likely pointing a finger at me and exclaiming “Well, if you accept this second portion of Pius’s writing, why don’t you accept the first?”
The answer to that is quite simple: I actually do accept both parts. Let’s look at the language, shall we? Pius XII was known as a keen theologian, for using words exactly as he meant them. And thus, in the first portion, he states that the Church does not forbid research into the subject. This makes a great deal of sense: As stated above, the Church has always advocated for the pursuit of science, and so it makes little sense to forbid the pursuit of such a subject. Nevertheless, in the second part, he states that, in regard to polygenism, we bear “No such liberty,” and that the faithful “Cannot embrace the opinion that…”. The words used here are far stronger, far more forceful. In the first section, he simply advocates for the pursuit of knowledge, which I would heartily agree with. In the second portion, when turning to the theological reality of the theory, he forbids belief in certain portions of the belief.
And… That’s really where things have stood, officially, in the Catholic Church up until this point. Based off this doctrine, the concept of Theistic Evolution has emerged. In short, this theory essentially states that evolution has indeed occurred more or less as the secular world has portrayed it, with the notable caveat: God was guiding it the whole time. Instead of Natural Selection, God was the one altering the genes (or, at the least, ensuring which species were selected to survive), and thus evolving the world piece by piece until the modern day. Those Catholics who are familiar with Humani Generis will typically add that, at some point, God took two primordial ape-like creatures and elevated them to full humanity, thus creating a literal Adam and Eve who could subsequently sin and produce the doctrine of Original Sin as stated by the Catholic Church. There are several issues with this theory as well, but I’ll get into that in a moment. For now, I would like to make a rather inflammatory statement that I will subsequently back up with facts:
The concept of Theistic Evolution is one of the single most ridiculous things that has ever been conceived in the minds of men.
Why do I think this? For an answer, let’s scroll back up the page to the section where I describe the theory of evolution taking its hold on the world. If you’ll recall, the concept of evolution was not a new one at the time of Charles Darwin. It had been around for thousands of years, and had been researched and studied, but rejected every time because it didn’t line up with Catholic beliefs.
Prior to that point, science that didn’t involve God simply couldn’t be taken seriously by anyone. Up until that time, the only real institutions of higher learning were controlled by the Church. Practically, you couldn’t become a scientist or philosopher without either going through Church-approved teachings or forgoing the title of Doctor. You could also take studies with other religions, of course, but science was still held as it was meant to be: A study of God and his creation. Darwin’s theory on evolution, rather than expounding a completely new idea, came up with a new innovation: The concept of evolution AS DRIVEN BY NATURAL SELECTION. The whole POINT of Darwin’s revolution was that atheists didn’t NEED a god in order to explain the world. Replacing Natural Selection with God as the driving force of evolution completely undermines Darwin’s entire thesis anyway, so… You know… Why not just go all the way?
So then… What is it about evolution that’s so controversial to Christianity? At this point in history, fully explaining the full scope of both evolution and Christianity is a daunting and nigh-impossible task. And thus, I will revert to the simplest possible explanations of both lines of thought:
Christianity: God the Father sent Jesus his Son through the work of the Holy Spirit into the world in order to save men. Evolution: Humanity has evolved over the course of billions of years, slowly rising from single-celled organisms to become the creatures we are today.
Just… Look at those two schools of thought. In one, the focus is entirely upon US, in the other, the focus is entirely upon GOD. A simple glance at the Bible reveals the need for humility. A simple look at the saints of the Church reveals the need for humanity. One of the reasons why I love the Latin Mass so much is because it takes any and all emphasis off the congregation and places it entirely upon the Eucharist, thus fostering that sense of humility within us. The sense that we will never be greater than our master, that we will always be indebted to our Creator for creating us. I once heard a priest give a homily on the fact that we only exist because God is constantly sustaining our essence. If he were to stop supporting us, we would vanish in an instant. Evolution, on the other hand, tells that we are, and always have been, evolving. We are, at this moment, the pinnacle of the evolutionary process.
Whether you’re a scientist who spends their entire life studying the bones of Neanderthals, a philosopher who spends their entire life studying the effects of evolution on the subconscious, or simply an ordinary citizen who accepts evolution as fact, you accept this basic premise of evolution whether you fully understand it or not. Let me restate it: Evolution builds up US, Christianity builds up GOD.
Now, I fully recognize that there’s a very simple counter to this argument: Humans naturally build themselves up. Humility is something we have to work for constantly, thus, evolution presents no particular issue. In fact, it could almost be seen as poetic: Coming from the slime, we built ourselves up, puffed ourselves up with pride, and now we must learn to submit to the will of the Father. Except… Well, let’s look at this a bit more closely.
Why were we created? Why, through whatever mechanisms he used, did God create the human race? Well, per Catholic doctrine: To glorify himself. That’s the long and the short of it. Yes, God loves us, and he does delight in us. That said, we were created so that we could glorify him, that we could join him in heaven and reflect his glory back to himself. This can be proven by dogmatic documents from the First Vatican Council, where Pope Pius IX declared: If anyone does not confess that the world and all things which are contained in it, both spiritual and material, were produced, according to their whole substance, out of nothing by God; or holds that God did not create by his will free from all necessity, but as necessarily as he necessarily loves himself; or denies that the world was created for the glory of God: let him be anathema.
Conversely, let’s look at what that would mean if Theistic Evolution were accurate: God formed the world, drew up humans and formed them in a process DESIGNED to exalt mankind, and then… Told them nope, don’t do that? It makes no logical sense. Sin, in all forms, MUST be born from mankind’s own sin, not God’s design process.
This, in turn, brings me back to the doctrine of Original Sin. It may seem like I’m beating a dead horse at this point, but there’s actually still quite a bit more than I can draw from it. In the book of Genesis, Chapter 3, God curses the entire world as a result of man’s sin. Results of this curse include, but are not limited to: Pain in childbearing*, thorns/thistles growing from the ground, actually having to work for a living, having to wear clothes in public, and more. Importantly, while the passage doesn’t explicitly state this, it can be assumed that the effects of this curse also included some of the other negative aspects of life that we experience today: Genetic disorders, diseases, and more. This particular doctrine comes from the words spoken on the Seventh Day, when God declares that all he had created was “very good.” It may seem like a throwaway line, but… If things were, indeed, “very good,” we can assume that things such as disease and illness, natural disasters, etc, had not yet entered the world.
**A possible counter to this argument comes from the fact that God is known to send blights, plagues, and more upon the world that would, by all accounts, be considered less than “very good.” Thus, it would seem possible for God to create all of this during creation week and still have it be “very good.” However, God’s sovereignty over things of evil in no way, shape, or form means that they are good. This can be seen from the book of Job, where Job declares “Should we accept only good from the Lord, and not evil?” Thus, at the beginning, shortly after man’s creation (whether that be through evolution or a more literal creation), there was none of the decay that we see in the world stemming from the curse surrounding Original Sin.**
However, a quick look at the fossil record reveals that many of the creatures purported to have lived prior to man’s existence displayed the effects of this curse. Dinosaur bones have been found with cancer or riddled with other diseases. Evidence of ancient natural disasters is abundant. The list here could go on for quite some time (and a hearty discussion could be had over whether or not animals in the Garden of Eden ate meat, thus potentially adding a few more effects of the fall to the list), but the point remains: If God created the world through the use of evolution, then either A: The curse placed on humanity for original sin was little more than blustering words without any real effect, or B: Things such as cancer and hurricanes must be seen as “very good.”
Both of these conclusions simply don’t work in the context of Christianity. And thus, my point: Whether looking at the prideful aspect of creation through evolution, the fact that evolution gained such a strong foothold because of its inherent anti-God approach, or the fact that evolution de facto negates the doctrine of Original Sin, it cannot be seen as being reconcilable with Christianity.
**There’s also a hearty discussion to be had here about humans coming from dust vs. being raised up from other forms of living matter, but I’ll admit that I’m not well-versed enough in this particular area of theology to offer any helpful commentary.**
Point 3: Evolution provided the fuel for Modernism to flourish It’s a bold point to make, but hear me out. As I’ve stated multiple times in the past: Evolution had been around as a concept long before Darwin came along. Darwin’s theory simply provided a theoretical mechanism for its function. As it became ever-more widespread, an idea began to flourish in the minds of those who accepted it: We came from animals.
It’s as simple and as grandiose as that, and has given birth to two separate fonts of corruption.
I’m just an advanced animal, so I’m going to take as much as I can in this life.
I’m just an advanced animal, so I need to honor nature as high as my fellow man.
The first line of thought is the far more malicious and obvious. Social Darwinism, which most of us learned about in Middle School, roared out of the gate as soon as the cracks began to seep. Men and women, already corrupt and desiring money and power, saw their opportunity.
If, through living under some rock, you haven’t heard of Social Darwinism, allow me to explain. In short, it’s a business term used to describe more successful businesses surviving and thriving while other businesses perish underneath. Entire textbook chapters have been dedicated to the subject (and likely several full novels that I’ve neglected to read), but the effects are easy to see in the Industrial America of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Terrible worker conditions, maleficent monopolies, it was a horrid time in our history. Massive companies crushed the working man underfoot, citing the “survival of the fittest” as their reasoning. Now, all this was shut down with due process, and is condemned by most evolutionists as their philosophy being taken too far, but… That’s just the point. If you take Christianity, TRUE Christianity, to an extreme, you get the saints. If you take evolution to the extreme, you get… This.
With that, let’s turn the dial back a few notches and look at a slightly “milder” application of this philosophy: Birth Control. Now, please don’t get me wrong: As a Catholic, I would hold the use of birth control as a greater mortal sin than worker oppression, though neither one are exactly virtues. Nevertheless, the use of birth control is a bit more private, and thus less restricted to a few maniacal billionaires.
Attempting to control birth has been a battle ever since the dawn of time. Women have fought against the prospect of having children as far back as history has been recorded, but up until modern times, it was never particularly effective. That all changed with the advent of… You guess it… Evolution.
What’s the connection? I’m glad you asked! In answer: A man named Thomas Malthus. If you’ve studied social theory at all, you’ll know that name by heart. If you haven’t: Thomas Malthus, in the year 1798, theorized that if left unchecked, the population would eventually outgrow the resources needed to sustain said population. Notably: Malthus’s theories were instrumental in the formation of Darwin’s theory of natural selection. In fact, Darwin’s entire theory is founded upon Malthus’s contributions!
If you haven’t made the connection yourself, let me help: Darwin’s theory of natural selection states that those animals with better adaptations to survive will be the ones to survive, while less adapted creatures die off. This theory came about as a result of listening to Malthus, who stated that once the population of the human race grew too large for the available resources to support them… Well, it wasn’t going to look pretty.
Malthus’s theories picked up steam in the wake of evolution in the 1870s, and soon, the Malthusians had become a proper school of thought with a good deal of political power, particularly in Great Britain. Under the influence of the Malthusian League, an advocacy group established in 1877, knowledge of birth control began to rise among the general population. In a vein similar to the Oxford Debate, a trial was held over the printing of a document titled “Fruits of Philosophy,” which explored birth control in detail. The Malthusian League ensured that these proceedings brought the issue into the public eye, resulting in far more widespread acceptance among the populace.
As birth control became far more “reliable” and widespread, a new movement began growing that would come to fruition with the Sexual Revolution. Suddenly, sex could be enjoyed for pleasure without the need for those pesky children. Suddenly, men could enjoy the company of a woman without having to worry about becoming a father. Suddenly, killing children became an entire industry across the world.
Wait! I can hear you shouting now: How does simple contraception make the jump all the way to abortion? Well… I think I’ve already laid it out. With sex being heralded as a simple pleasure that could be enjoyed with anyone of either gender, babies became more unwanted than ever. With the knowledge given by evolution that we’re little more than animals, what’s the harm in killing one or two if the law will allow it?
Sure, a condom isn’t going to abort a child, but it’s a simple series of steps to get there. First, physical barriers are accepted. Then physical barriers with chemicals to kill sperm. Then just taking the chemicals orally or through an implant. Importantly: CHEMICAL CONTRACEPTIVES, SUCH AS THE PILL, ARE DESIGNED TO MAKE THE WOMB AS INHOSPITABLE TO LIFE AS POSSIBLE. IT IS ESTIMATED THAT MILLIONS OF SINGLE-CELLED CHILDREN ARE ABORTED IN THIS MANNER EVERY SINGLE YEAR WITHOUT THEIR PARENTS EVER REALIZING IT. If you support birth control, in ANY FASHION, you are supporting abortion. That’s the long and the short of it.
But anyway… Sex became more and more about pleasure. Is it any wonder, then, that homosexual relations became normalized in our culture? After all, if it’s pleasurable to you, why not just do it? We’re just animals. And, as has been exposed and discussed by many true Catholics (I suggest Church Militant as a resource for a further discourse on this subject), it was homosexuality worming its way into the clergy that has resulted in the current abuse crisis that we now face today.
Moving on from the first “point of corruption,” I now turn to the second. The idea that we must treat animals, and indeed all of nature, as though it holds equal footing with humanity. This idea has given birth to a massive number of corrosive and deadly heresies, which are currently wreaking havoc on the world today.
For an example, look no further than the disastrous Amazon Synod. If you’re not familiar with that particular bit of heresy, just look here for my article on the Three Days of Darkness. Anyway, in the synod, Pope Francis repeatedly referred to “Mother Earth,” allowed the worship of an idol representing the Earth, and wrote endlessly about the care that we must give to our ecosystem, including the possibility of introducing “ecological sins.”
To this… Look, there’s nothing wrong with taking care of the environment. Leave it exactly as you found it, pick up your litter, take care of endangered species, all that’s good. I’m not saying that we need to cast due care aside, but under the influence of an evolutionary thesis, this can be raised to an unhealthy level. I seriously don’t even know where to begin when exploring this subject. Calls to alter our entire society in order to lower carbon emissions. Proposals to institute forced population control to lower human impact on the environment. Animal shelters that put down animals are vilified. This mentality, this belief, is endowed into nearly every single person in America at this point. The simple fact that Thanos is seen as a nuanced villain because he wanted to save the climate by killing off half the human race should tell you something! Most people agree that he took it too far, but universally, fans of the Marvel series seem to think that his motives were virtuous. This idea, this concept, that “humanity is the virus” is a lethal one, and springs forth directly from the acceptance of evolution.
To close this section, I’ll point to the simple rise of Modernism itself. Now, like so much else on this list, modernism had been around since before the advent of evolutionary theory. As early as 1832, Pope Gregory XVI wrote an encyclical condemning religious indifferentism (a heresy which Pope Francis has since embraced). Many popes followed suit in condemning different modernist heresies following this event, including Leo XIII, Benedict XV, and every Pius since IX. However, as with much else, it took on a much uglier head following the advent of evolutionary theory. Prior to 1860, encyclicals and condemnations were all that was needed. Following 1860, Vatican I was called to address the heresies, several of which directly related to evolution (as discussed above). Eventually, Pius X had to institute a vow against modernism that all clergy were required to take. And yet… The Catholic Church remained silent.
I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that the Church basically collapsed immediately following the release of Humani Generis. As I stated above, I really don’t think that the document allows for a true belief in evolution, but that’s how it’s been taken by many in the Church. Acceptance of evolution has become widespread, even as belief in the True Presence and other pillars of the Catholic faith fade from the public mind. After all, if you reject the VERY FIRST WORDS of the Bible, then… What’s left? Where do you stop rejecting things?
If you accept millions of years for evolution, do you still accept Noah’s Flood as a real event? Do you accept the Tower of Babble? What about the events of Job, which clearly describe dinosaurs? Do you only start interpreting the Bible historically when Abram is called by God? But then… What about the plagues on Egypt, the great wonders and miracles wrought by God over the history of the Israelites? Do you accept the gospels themselves, which give precise lineages of Jesus all the way back to Adam? WHERE DO YOU STOP REJECTING THINGS?
If you reject the creation story, you lose the protoevangelium, where both Jesus and Mary are foreshadowed.
If you reject Noah’s flood, you lose the Covenant made with Noah and the foreshadowing of baptism.
If you reject the Tower of Babel, the sundering of the human race, you lose the fulfillment and reunion of humanity within the Catholic Church.
If you reject the miracles wrought by God, then… What do you have left? Why even bother to BE Christian at that point?
In closing, I’ll simply state my primary thesis once more, now backed up my facts and analysis: Corruption has always been a part of the world, and particularly part of the Church. Nevertheless, it had NEVER been able to take hold until the advent of evolutionary theory and the rise of the authority of science. Even today, if you state “I believe in a Young Earth Creation,” the first response you’ll hear, from both Catholics and atheists, is “You don’t believe in science?”
The authority of God has been rejected. Many people have done so in the past, but evolution gave these agents of chaos (both within the Church and outside) the power they needed to get the job done. And… Oh, get the job done, they have. If you look through the news today, what always provides the final trump card on an issue? Experts. Scientific experts. The more of them that are cited, the better. In a sense, scientific experts are heralded as the bishops of this atheistic movement. EVERYTHING taught must be compared against science, instead of science being compared against the Magisterium. In that pursuit, reason must be followed above superstition.
One final time: Evolution, as described by Charles Darwin, rejects God fully and completely. As a Christian, accepting that God guided evolution undermines the guiding principle of evolution while still keeping all the negative effects of such a belief. If you’re worried about looking stupid in front of your peers… Saying that God guided the process is going to make you sound just as crazy to them as stating your belief in a Young Earth. In today’s times, we have to stay grounded if we’re going to survive.
This is how we do that.
*It should be noted here that Mary, held to be the only woman without sin, is also held to have experienced no pain in childbirth. Fun fact.