Good lord, the sky really is falling for American Catholics who have to deal with officials that protect child molesters, belittle and marginalize the victims, demand that government officials elected to represent all citizens deny basic rights to those it deems unfit and on and on. The latest (pointed to us by threader An Other Greek)? The NYT confirms that the Op-Ed we linked to yesterday attacking science and reason was no fluke or misunderstanding: the cardinal who penned it spoke to Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) and got the go-ahead to "correct" the decades-long stance of the Church which was to stay out of science since it had made a fool of itself in that area for so long that it undercut the Church's authority on moral issues.
Not only was the article a direct assault on evolution, it was done in cooperation with the very group that wants to shove its own religious beliefs of Creationism aka Intelligent Design into the public schools, the very fundamentalist Christians who hate Catholics. I keep saying fundamentalist Christians hate Catholicism and it's been true for ages, but the Catholics in charge seem to be their cup of tea.
This sort of cooperation is going to have serious repercussions in the public sphere down the road, assuming you don't already think the politicking that cost Kerry the Catholic vote hasn't already dramatically affected this country. The fights in public schools to teach science in science class just got a lot fiercer.
Cardinal Schönborn, who is on the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education, said the office had no plans to issue new guidance to teachers in Catholic schools on evolution. But he said he believed students in Catholic schools, and all schools, should be taught that evolution is just one of many theories. Many Catholic schools teach Darwinian evolution, in which accidental mutation and natural selection of the fittest organisms drive the history of life, as part of their science curriculum.
Darwinian evolution is the foundation of modern biology. While researchers may debate details of how the mechanism of evolution plays out, there is no credible scientific challenge to the underlying theory.