Well, it makes a change to his regrettable predecessor’s embrace of intelligent design. Herr Ratzinger, or Pope Maledict as some have dubbed him, was more kin to American creationists than to any scientist.
But what did Francis actually say, as I cannot imagine a Catholic pope abandoning miracles altogether.
“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” Francis said.
What is he actually saying here? That Jesus didn’t magically create the loaves and fishes? That he didn’t magically arise from the dead? If magic isn’t appropriate when talking about the origin of the universe or the evolution of species, is it ever appropriate? And if not, whither Catholicism and the rest of Christianity?
I think he’s going to have to flesh this out some.
“The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it.
“Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”
And why does the big bang require a creator? Because the church, indeed all of religion, is pointless if it doesn’t. Pope Francis isn’t abandoning magic, he’s restricting its sphere of operations to suit his agenda. He’s not that different from Pope Maledict on this point, just willing to make more allowances.
And as for the notion that “evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve”, what does that even mean? Did Jesus magically wave his wand and poof the first creature capable of evolution into existence, knowing full well it would eventually evolve into humans?
Francis is apparently silent on that probably because he hasn’t a clue where he’s going with it.
I don’t doubt Francis is as decent a human being as any Catholic prelate can be. I doubt he’s stupid, unlike some. But this feeble attempt to reconcile theology with reality and science ain’t going anywhere. It made more sense for Pope Maledict to reject science and reason, as theology is bereft of both. Francis is just confused.