Ateneo, La Salle, and RH Bill: Is the primacy of conscience incompatible with the primacy of Catholic teaching?

From RH Bill and the Catholic University:

OBJECTION 3.  The primacy of Catholic Theology in Catholic Universities is incompatible with the primacy of conscience

The primacy of Catholic Theology in Catholic Universities is incompatible with the primacy of conscience. As the Catechism says:

1776 “Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . . For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . . . His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.”

1782 Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. “He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters.”

Thus, if a Catholic professor claims that he is only following his conscience in supporting the RH Bill, then the Catholic Church cannot judge him that he is wrong, since conscience is the voice of God Himself.

RESPONSE:

Because the objection quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we must also turn to the same Catechism for our response.  Articles 1776 and 1782 constitute only half of the picture.  The other half are as follows:

1790 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.

1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man “takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.”59 In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.

1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

Thus, the Catechism says that conscience can err.  An Aztec emperor offering human sacrifice to the gods to bring rain to the parched fields is obeying his conscience.  A Nazi officer obeying the commands of Hitler to exterminate all Jews is obeying his conscience.  A woman who aborts her baby because she is still young and cannot afford to raise the child is obeying her conscience.  And the couple who uses condoms and pills because having children are burdensome are obeying their conscience.  If one elevates the voice of what people believe to be their conscience as the standard for truth, then truth becomes relative depending who says so, because  each one defines for himself what is good and what is evil.  Isn’t this what Satan, in the form of a serpent, told Eve in the Garden of Eden?

You certainly will not die!5 God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know good and evil. (Gen 3:4-5)

If men were left alone to their own consciences, the world will never know what is truly good and truly evil.  Let us take the Library as an analogy.  If the librarian does nothing and students get to decide for themselves where the best place for each book should be–on the floor, on the table, or on the shelf–then the library would be in chaos.  The state of disorder of the library can never decrease, and can actually increase, as the Law of Entropy states.  That is why a librarian is needed to put order in the books and impose rules: keep quiet when you are in the library and don’t return the books to the shelf but leave them on your desks.  Only the librarian has the shelving authority to put the books back in their proper places.

In a similar way, the morals of men will become highly disordered if men were left to themselves.  That is why God intervened in history and made covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel).  He chose the people of Israel to be His own and gave them the Ten Commandments.  He also established the Levitical priesthood to offer sacrifices in atonement for sin.  God appointed judges to interpret his laws; no one is allowed to hop from one judge to another in search for a favorable ruling.  But Israel rejected God by asking for a King like other nations.  God gave them Saul, but Saul was disobedient.  So God made David a King and promised him an everlasting Kingdom.  But the kings after David worshiped heathen idols, so God sent prophets to remind them of His covenant with  Israel at Sinai: He is their God and they are His people.  But Israel must obey God’s voice.  Yet Israel killed many of the prophets.  So in the fullness of time, God sent his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  And God Himself became the teacher of Israel.  He healed their infirmities, fed them in the wilderness, and established His Church as the New People of God, opening the doors of the Church not only to the Jews but also to the Gentiles.  He gave His Church the Sacraments to sanctify nations and the Teaching Authority to teach in His Name.  And for nearly 2,000 years the Catholic Church that Christ founded continued to exist throughout history, a witness to the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, the conversion of the barbarian nations of Europe, the conquest of Islam, the Age of Discovery, the formation of modern republics, the rise of Communism, the two World Wars, and the present age.   Christ fulfilled His promise that He will always be with His Church and His Church will never fall into error.  And the Church through the Ages has never failed to teach what is truly good and what is truly evil, even if the world does not wish to hear Her message, even as the world does not anymore see Her relevance, as what we have now today.

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Ateneo, La Salle, and RH Bill: Should Catholic teaching have primacy in Catholic Universities?

From RH Bill and the Catholic University:

OBJECTION 1: Catholic theology is just one of the many sciences taught in Catholic universities

Catholic theology is just one of the many sciences taught in Catholic universities. Therefore, Catholic doctrine taught in theology is just one of the many scientific opinions, so that in the case of the RH Bill, for example, if there is conflict between the conclusions of economics and theology regarding the use of contraceptives, a professor in a Catholic university can equally choose to side with the economic argument or with the theological argument, because one argument is equally as good as the other as they are both products of human reason. This means that even if the Church hierarchy (the CBCP) or the Pope declares that contraception is intrinsically wrong and should be condemned, a Catholic professor can dismiss these teachings if he finds what for him are weightier justification for the use and promotion of contraceptives, such as population explosion, too many children to feed, or women’s right over their bodies, etc.

RESPONSE:

Catholic Theology is indeed a science.  In Science, truth may either be what is known to be true (postulates or axioms or laws) or whatever is deduced from these (theorems). For example, in Physics Kepler’s law that describes the elliptical orbit of the planets around the sun may be thought of as a theorem of a more fundamental law: Newton’s Law of Gravitation. Similarly, in Catholic Theology, doctrines are deduced from two sets of axioms: Sacred Scriptures and Apostolic Tradition.  The summary of Catholic doctrines is published in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

But the axioms in philosophical sciences–which we have to accept by faith until proven wrong–are not certain.  For example, remove the parallel postulate in Euclidean geometry and you arrive at intersecting parallel lines in spherical or projective geometry.  Also, though Newton’s Law of Gravitation can predict many things, Einstein’s General Relativity can predict more things, such as the precession of Mercury’s perihelion and gravitational lensing.  Scientists are continuously revising theories as they search for the the ultimate Theory of Everything (TOE), the one equation that shall rule them all: the structure of the universe, its beginning, and its end.

Unlike the axioms in philosophical science, the axioms of Catholic Theology are certain, because God has revealed them Who can neither deceive nor intend to deceive.  In this sense, Catholic Theology is nobler than other sciences.  Aquinas has more to say on the nobility of Catholic Theology (Sacred Sciences) in his Summa Theologiae:

“Since this science is partly speculative and partly practical, it transcends all others speculative and practical. Now one speculative science is said to be nobler than another, either by reason of its greater certitude, or by reason of the higher worth of its subject-matter. In both these respects this science surpasses other speculative sciences; in point of greater certitude, because other sciences derive their certitude from the natural light of human reason, which can err; whereas this derives its certitude from the light of divine knowledge, which cannot be misled: in point of the higher worth of its subject-matter because this science treats chiefly of those things which by their sublimity transcend human reason; while other sciences consider only those things which are within reason’s grasp. Of the practical sciences, that one is nobler which is ordained to a further purpose, as political science is nobler than military science; for the good of the army is directed to the good of the State. But the purpose of this science, in so far as it is practical, is eternal bliss; to which as to an ultimate end the purposes of every practical science are directed. Hence it is clear that from every standpoint, it is nobler than other sciences.”  (Part 1, Question 1, Article 5)

Unless we can prove that Aquinas made a mistake in his argument, then we have to agree to his conclusion:

From every standpoint, Catholic Theology is nobler than other sciences.

If this statement is true, then we arrive at the following statement:

A Catholic University must uphold the primacy of Catholic Theology among all sciences.

Hence, a Catholic University must be institutionally faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church.  This is explained in detail in Ex Corde Ecclesiae of John Paul II:

27. …. One consequence of its essential relationship to the Church is that the institutional fidelity of the University to the Christian message includes a recognition of andadherence to the teaching authority of the Church in matters of faith and morals. Catholic members of the university community are also called to a personal fidelity to the Church with all that this implies. Non-Catholic members are required to respect the Catholic character of the University, while the University in turn respects their religious liberty(26).

28. Bishops have a particular responsibility to promote Catholic Universities, and especially to promote and assist in the preservation and strengthening of their Catholic identity, including the protection of their Catholic identity in relation to civil authorities. This will be achieved more effectively if close personal and pastoral relationships exist between University and Church authorities, characterized by mutual trust, close and consistent cooperation and continuing dialogue. Even when they do not enter directly into the internal governance of the University, Bishops “should be seen not as external agents but as participants in the life of the Catholic University”(27).

Thus, for example, if a Biologist will say that man has many ape-like ancestors and that there could be many Adams and Eves, putting the whole plan of salvation and the Sacrifice of Christ to naught, then it is the duty of Catholic University to uphold the Catholic teaching on our first parents as expressed in Humani Generis of Pius XII:

37. 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 in 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.

Similarly, if Economists propose the promotion of contraception through the RH Bill as a vehicle for economic prosperity, then it is the duty of the Catholic University to uphold the Catholic teaching on contraception as expressed in Humanae Vitae of Paul VI:

14. Therefore We base Our words on the first principles of a human and Christian doctrine of marriage when We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children. (14) Equally to be condemned, as the magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary. (15)

Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. (16)

Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberatelycontraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good,” it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (18)—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.

On the nature of homosexuality and Original Sin

Question

Hi Dr. Sugon,

I sent you further inquiries about your thoughts on the nature of homosexuality last May 18, and I was wondering if you have received it. I am very much looking forward to discuss and be enlightened about matters which I still am not aware of, and I think that this conversation wonderfully helps me in doing that. In case you haven’t received it, I’ll be copying my reply here. Again, thanks, and I hope to hear from you soon.

“Yes, I say that homosexuality is partly a biological phenomenon, however, I did not say that because it is a biological phenomenon that homosexuals do not have a choice on their lifestyle. Homosexuals have the choice to live conservatively, that is not denying their homosexuality, but living in a way which does not scream the essence of stereotypical homosexuality (i.e. cross-dressing, application of excessive make-up). They also have the choice to dress and express their ideas more through clothing and other sociocultural avenues. But, what they don’t have a choice at is their attraction orientation – just as a straight man does not have a choice to get attracted to women and vice versa, unless society affects them to act otherwise. The same thing goes with your example of a murderer. I do not claim that killing is good, but a murderer who was born with schizophrenia or other psychological disorder is not deemed morally responsible for the act of killing, because he technically did not have a choice; his body was programmed to act that way. Therefore, this murderer, instead of being sent to jail, is sent to a psychological facility in which he will serve his term. What I think then is that, generally, homosexuals must not be held responsible for their orientation, and thus be condemned for it, because they don’t have a choice on who to get attracted to. (One particular exception may be a man who was born with the probability of getting attracted to women, but chooses to engage homosexually.)

To clarify, are you suggesting that homosexuals can be “trained”? I disagree with this point, and I will provide sociocultural references that show that such a transformation to becoming a heterosexual is improbable. Although we can try putting homosexuals in psychological facilities, or perhaps have the Church assist in an action to rehabilitate them from their homosexuality, society is not designed to act upon such an action. The case is different from the psychologically impaired, because there is a probability that they hurt themselves or others when they do not get treated. It is improbable that a particular gender is more inclined to doing harm to people than other genders, so it is not necessary to “treat” them. Also, becoming stable and constant in early years, gender is part of one’s identity (Kail, 2010). Therefore, trying to manipulate one’s gender through conditioning entails tainting one’s identity. With that, society deems that a mandate or even to advocate change in gender is unethical. That is why centers for homosexual rehabilitation do not exist.*But, I do not deny that there are still people who try to convert homosexuals, however, because gender is established and constant, these most of these people fail. Stories of fathers drowning their children in a drum of water and physically abusing them seem to attest to this.

Yes, man has free will, but this free will is affected by many factors. Thus, human behavior is not governed by biological instincts alone, but rather affected by it, together with the environment. We do not just punch the person who accidentally stepped on our foot, because we think that he did not mean and know what he did, even if, by our fight-or-flight mechanism, our bodies tell us to punch him or flee the scene. Homosexuality acts in the same way. Since social mores and teachings do not give enough reason to convince homosexuals to constrain their biological instnict to get attracted to the same sex, homosexuals think that they are justified in following their biological instinct.

Moreover, the link you provided me is Vatican’s official statement on the nature of marriage and homosexual unions alone. I am still stumped on what the Church claims about the essence and nature of homosexuality: where did it come from, for example.“-

*I have looked into this matter, and I stand corrected in saying that there are homosexual rehabilitation centers. However, it is highly frowned upon by the society and by the Catholic Church herself, because, again, it’s unethical.

Response:

Dear ____

Yes, I received it a long time ago, but it got buried in my many emails for not responding soon enough.

The short answerto your question on the nature of homosexuality is this: I don’t know.

The long answer is: God created only male and female.  And God blessed them: “Be fruitful and multiply!”  If God only made male and female, how is it possible that some men are attracted to men and women to women?  The answer to this question is related to the more fundamental question: If everything that God created is good (read Genesis 1), why is there evil in the world? Answer: God made the angels good, but He gave them free will to reject or accept his love.  Some angels used their free will to reject God’s love, and they became demons, with all the powers of angels before their fall, but filled with malice and hatred against God.  Their choice is irrevocable.

Now, if God made humans only male and female, why are there lesbians and gays?  Answer: before their Fall, Adam and Eve have perfect control over their passions.  This is called Original Justice.  But Satan, the leader of the fallen angels, is envious of the privilege of Adam and Eve, for they and their descendants shall become children of God if Adam and Eve pass the test.  But misery seeks company.  So Satan tempted Eve to disobey God’s commandment not to eat from the forbidden tree, and she brought his husband Adam with him in her disobedience.  Because of their disobedience, Adam and Eve lost their perfect control over their passions.  This is Original Sin.  And this defect of Adam and Eve is passed on to their descendants, together with increase birthpangs, difficulty of tilling the ground, and ultimately, of bodily death.  Thus, homosexuality is a result of Original Sin.  It is very difficult to cure, but the struggle to overcome ones homosexual tendencies is itself a path to sanctity, a cross that a homosexual has to bear in order to reach heaven.  God can provide us with all the graces that we need to overcome temptation.  We only need but ask.  As Christ said: “For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened….how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (Lk 11:9-13).

Let us always pray and fast.  Fasting helps us control our passions.  If a homosexual can learn how to control himself from eating meat on Fridays, he will build up spiritual reserves to combat his hunger for the human flesh during sexual intercourse with a fellow man (or with a fellow woman as in the case of lesbians).  Some passions are difficult to remove; they are like stubborn demons that refuse to get out of a man.  The apostles, too, encountered several cases of demonic possessions that the apostles have difficulty sending out.  The apostles complained to Christ, and Christ said to them: “”But this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting.”  In the same way, homosexuality can also be cured, but it can only be done by prayer and fasting.  The only way to see if this method works is to try it.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Sugon

Reproductive Health Bill debate: can a good Catholic remain good amidst a thousand condoms and pills?

Pro RH Bill Argument:

“If a Catholic member has a morally-formed conscience with regards to these issues, a thousand free condoms and contraceptive pills being dangled before him WON’T tempt him to make use of them. It is as simple as that for me. An analogy has been offered by my daughter: Why did God allow the existence of the Forbidden Tree in the Garden in the first place? Why did He only command Adam and Eve: “do not eat” of its fruit yet gave them free access and freedom to exercise their free will? God could just have very well  PHYSICALLY prevented both of them easy access to it or installed formidable baricades around it.

Response:

A green leaf placed near a fire, can only resist the heat up to a certain point (when most of the leaf’s water content turns to vapor). Then the green leaf catches fire.  A strong rock cliff facing the sea can withstand a strong wave or two.  But after years of bombardment (we call this weathering), the rock cliff gets chipped here and there, then the cracks become bigger, until the rock splits into fragments.  In the same way, if you flood a well-formed Catholic with condoms, he can resist the first assaults.  But when the condoms become a common sight, and he sees little boys and girls blow them as balloons,  he sees demonstrations in TV how to use condoms, he finds condoms available in toilets for Php 5, and everywhere he goes he sees couples copulate in in broad daylight, will the good Catholic still resist? And what if the woman that he likes approaches him, gives him a box of condoms as Valentine’s gift, kisses him, and takes off her clothes?  If you are St. Francis, you shall jump into thorns.  If St. Benedict, into snow.  If St. Aquinas–you’ll grab a firebrand and chase the temptation away.  But what if you are just an ordinary Catholic who goes to mass only during Easter andChristmas, and whose last Confession was 10 years ago, can you still resist?

Before his Fall, Adam has perfect control over his passions.  This is called Original Justice.  His nakedness and Eve’s nakedness does not incite malicious thoughts on him.  When God placed the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the middle of the Garden of Eden, Adam can perfectly control his desire for the fruit, so this is not a test of desire but of obedience.  There is no need to put walls and barriers, because this is a test of free will to obey God, in order to merit eternal life for him, for Eve, and for us their descendants.  When Adam ate the forbidden fruit, he disobeyed God and this is Original Sin.  As one of the consequences, Adam lost his perfect control over his passions and desires (c.f. concupiscence).   So God knows that even if He forbade Adam to eat the fruit of the Tree of Life, Adam will sooner or later eat the fruit. To prevent this from happening, God banishedAdam and Eve from the Garden and placed an angel to guard the gates of paradise.  From this analysis, we see that since we are descendants of Adam and Eve who lost our perfect control over our passions and desires, despite having our Original Sin washed away by the waters of Baptism, then putting a temptation before us like free condoms would have a chance that we fall to the temptation.  So the best way is to follow a way similar to  what God did by putting a barrier between the condom and the man, by not making condoms more available, by stopping the passage of the RH bill.

Original Sin and Darwinian Evolution: Luis Gonzalez-Carvajal Santabarbara vs the Catechism of the Catholic Church

I was reading a book by Luis Gonzalez-Carvajal Santabarbara entitled This is Our Faith: Theology for College Students, translated from the 16th Spanish Edition by Jesus Vazquez (Claretian Publications, Quezon City, 2005).  The first chapter on Original Sin made me squirm on my seat.

I

Gonzalez denies the historicity of Adam and Eve and the transmission of Original Sin to their descendants:

In the first place, considering the modern sense of justice, it seems unacceptable that a sin committed at the dawn of humanind could be inherited by those born a million years later.  Divine justice would come off badly if, in effect, we had to share the responsibility for an action that we neither committed nor could have avoided…

Paleontology also poses very serious objections.  At which stage of evolution should we place the first couple…. As for their intelligence, why speak at all?  After Darwin, it seems impossible to assert that the first humans were more perfect than the present ones.

And the worst of it is that it is also difficult to speak of a “unique” first couple, because predictably the biological unity that evolved was not an individual, but a “community”.  Today the monogenetic hypothesishas lost ground to the polygenetic hypothesis.  And this poses new problems to the dogma of original sin.  If there were more than one original couple, which one had sinned?  If mind had, just my bad luck.  Otherwise, it’s another person’s….

In the light of new data offered by science, what we should then do is to try to reformulate the dogma of original sin, which has its place in a border zone between theology and human sciences. (pp 2-3)

Being born with “original sin” does not mean that the sin committed y Adam is imputed to us but that the consequences of his sin affect us.  We recall the personal guilt cannot be transmitted. (p. 11)

However if redemption could be spread to all without any single person descending physically from Christ the Redeemer, there is no reason to think that the propensity to evil could only be transmitted through physical generation. (p. 11)

As for physical death, we should assume that it would have existed just the same even if original sin had not taken place. Animals also die and they have not sinned. (p. 12)

The message of original sin can be summed up thus: in the world and in our heart a greater amount of evil resides than what we expect, taking into account the ill will of humankind. (p. 13)

II

Against the theological speculations of Gonzalez, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear that Adam and Eve are really our first parents and they committed the first sin:

The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man.  Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents. (Art. 390)

What are the consequences of Adam’s Sin for humanity?  The Catechism continues:

Following St. Paul, the Church as always taught that the overwhelming misery which oppresses men and their inclination toward evil and death cannot be understood apart from their connection with Adam’s sin and the fact that he has transmitted to us a sin with which we are all born afflicted, a sin which is the “death of the soul.”  Because of this certainty of faith, the Church baptizes for the remission of sins even tiny infants who have not committed personal sin. (Art. 403)

How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants?  The whole human race is in Adam “as one body of one man.”  By this “unity of the human race” all men are implicated in Adam’s sin, as all are implicated in Christ’s justice.  Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature.  By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve commited a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state.  It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice.  And that is why original sin is called “sin” only in an analogical sense: it is a sin “contracted” and not “committed”–a state and not an act. (Art. 404)

Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal faulty in any of Adam’s descendants.  It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted; it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it; subject to ignorance, suffering, and the dominion of death; and inclined to sin–an inclination to evil that is called “concupiscence.”  Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back toward God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persists in man and summon him to spiritual battle. (Art. 405)

Thus, Gonzalez’s theological treatment of Original Sin is not Catholic.

Humani Generis of Pius XII Regarding Darwinian Evolution

The encylical Humani Generis of Pope Pius XII discussed the various errors propagated in ecclesiastical institutions by teachers using historical and natural (evolution) sciences in their exegesis.  I will extract his words regarding evolution and evolutionism:

Humani Generis on Evolution

5.  Some imprudently and indiscreetly hold that evolution, which has not been fully proved even in the domain of natural sciences, explains the origin of all things, and audaciously support the monistic and pantheistic opinion that the world is in continual evolution. Communists gladly subscribe to this opinion so that, when the souls of men have been deprived of every idea of a personal God, they may the more efficaciously defend and propagate their dialectical materialism.

6.  Such fictitious tenets of evolution which repudiate all that is absolute, firm and immutable, have paved the way for the new erroneous philosophy which, rivaling idealism, immanentism and pragmatism, has assumed the name of existentialism, since it concerns itself only with existence of individual things and neglects all consideration of their immutable essences.

36. For these reasons 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 – for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God. However, this must be done in such a way that the reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness, moderation and measure, and provided that all are prepared to submit to the judgment of the Church, to whom Christ has given the mission of interpreting authentically the Sacred Scriptures and of defending the dogmas of faith.[11] Some however, rashly transgress this liberty of discussion, when they act as if the origin of the human body from pre-existing and living matter were already completely certain and proved by the facts which have been discovered up to now and by reasoning on those facts, and as if there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution in this question.

37. 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 in 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.[12]