How Did the Catholic Church Respond to the Theory of Evolution?


Jane Flores

The Theory of Evolution is a scientific theory that explains the development of life on Earth. It was first introduced by Charles Darwin in his book “On the Origin of Species” in 1859. The Theory of Evolution has been a controversial topic for many years, especially for religious communities such as the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church and Evolution

The Catholic Church has a complex relationship with the Theory of Evolution. At first, the Church rejected the theory because it contradicted the literal interpretation of the Bible’s creation story. However, in recent years, the Church has become more open to accepting evolution as a possibility.

Pope Pius XII’s Response

In 1950, Pope Pius XII addressed the issue of evolution in an encyclical called “Humani Generis.” In this document, he acknowledged that Catholics are free to believe in evolution as long as they accept that God is ultimately responsible for all creation. He also warned against an atheistic interpretation of evolution that denies God’s role in creation.

The Second Vatican Council

The Second Vatican Council was held from 1962-1965 and brought significant changes to the Catholic Church. One of these changes was a shift towards accepting evolution as compatible with Catholic doctrine. The council stated that scientific findings should be respected and that there is no conflict between faith and scientific discoveries.

Pope Francis’ Views on Evolution

Pope Francis has been particularly supportive of evolution and has stated that it is not incompatible with belief in God. In 2014, he said, “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.” He emphasized that God created through an evolutionary process.


Overall, the Catholic Church’s response to the Theory of Evolution has evolved over time. While the Church initially rejected evolution, it has become more open to the possibility in recent years. The Church now acknowledges that there is no conflict between faith and science and that Catholics are free to believe in evolution as long as they accept God’s role in creation.