The journalists at CBS This Morning on Wednesday weighed in on the Pope's comments about the Big Bang theory and evolution, spinning them as a battle between science and "conservatives." Reporter Allen Pizzey opened the segment by cheering, "Fresh from having taken on conservatives" at a meeting with Bishops, "Pope Francis sided with science over dogma."
The reporter marveled that "Even the conservative former Pope Benedict XVI said scientific theories on the origin and development of the universe and humans did not conflict with faith." Even the conservative Benedict said this? Pizzey got in a dig at Catholicism, reminding, "Five centuries ago, Galileo Galilei could have used Pope Francis. The church branded the astronomer a heretic for arguing that the Earth revolved around the sun." [MP3 audio here.]
In the address, the Pope insisted:
God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life.... Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.
On Tuesday, MSNBC's Daniel Berger inaccurately insisted that "Pope Francis broke with Catholic tradition Monday by declaring that the theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real." In reality, Francis's comments were nothing new and in line with past Popes.
A transcript of the October 29 segment is below:
CBS GRAPHIC: Sacred Science: Pope: Big Bang Theory Doesn't Conflict With God
GAYLE KING: Pope Francis is bridging the gap between church and science this morning. The leader of the Catholic Church faces mixed reaction for controversial comments on evolution. Allen Pizzey is in Rome where the Pope defended the Big Bang Theory. Allen, good morning.
ALLEN PIZZEY: Good morning. Well, fresh from having taken on conservatives at the Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis sided with science over dogma in an event at the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences. In a direct contradiction in the beliefs of creationists, Francis says that when we read about creation of Genesis, the first part of the Bible, "we run the risk of imagining God was a magician with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so." And he heartily condoned the Big Bang theory that today is considered to be the origin of the universe. "The Big Bang does not contradict the creative intervention of God, "the Pope said. "On the contrary, it requires it." Five centuries ago, Galileo Galilei could have used Pope Francis. The church branded the astronomer a heretic for arguing that the Earth revolved around the sun. How times change. Pope Pius XII described evolution as a valid scientific approach to the development of humans and Pope John Paul II went further and suggested evolution was "more than a hypothesis and effectively proven fact. Even the conservative former Pope Benedict XVI said scientific theories on the origin and development of the universe and humans did not conflict with faith," although, he said, they left many questions unanswered. The church reconciliation with science and evolution isn't revolutionary in the view of Professor Chester Gillis of Georgetown University.
CHESTER GILLIS (Professor of theology at Georgetown): Science is designed to tell us how of how the universe works. Religion is designed to tell you why. Why is there a universe? Why is there anything, rather than nothing? And what is the ultimate destination of that?
PIZZEY: Given his job description Pope Francis probably has the answers to those questions. But, interestingly, he's not insisting that you have to take only his word for it. Jeff?