Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
In the sense of "reform":

Tip of the hat to PZ for bringing to our attention the fact that the Catholic Church is moving away from evolution and toward creationism, a mere decade after John Paul II declared 150 years too late that Darwinian evolution was a correct theory. Says the Grauniad,

Philosophers, scientists and other intellectuals close to Pope Benedict will gather at his summer palace outside Rome this week for intensive discussions that could herald a fundamental shift in the Vatican’s view of evolution.

There have been growing signs the Pope is considering aligning his church more closely with the theory of “intelligent design” taught in some US states.

Naturally, this is fairly surprising, since I considered Benedict, John Paul’s protégé, to be no different in his views from his predecessor, only not displaying Wojtyla’s preference for interfaith outreach and gentle rhetoric.

But just as surprising is the Grauniad’s take on it, which is as weaseling and superficially objective as this of any US paper. The Grauniad is traditionally not only unabashedly leftist but also pro-science (see e.g. here for a good evisceration of alternative medicine).

Nowhere in the article is it stated that all biologists accept evolution as a fact and virtually all accept Darwinism or a later modification of it, such as neo-Darwinism or evo-devo, as a sound theory. Not content with a he-said-she-said article, the author quotes a few people in defense of creationism but none in defense of evolution.

A prominent anti-evolutionist and Roman Catholic scientist, Dominique Tassot, told the US National Catholic Reporter that this week’s meeting was “to give a broader extension to the debate. Even if [the Pope] knows where he wants to go, and I believe he does, it will take time. Most Catholic intellectuals today are convinced that evolution is obviously true because most scientists say so.” In 1996, in what was seen as a capitulation to scientific orthodoxy, John Paul II said Darwin’s theories were “more than a hypothesis”.

In fact, Tassot is not a scientist at all; he has a philosophy Ph.D., and one creationist describes him as “President of the Cercle Scientifique et Historique (CESHE), a Catholic organization standing for the inerrancy of Scripture including, of course, creation.” While I have nothing against philosophers, I recognize that they aren’t scientists.

And, of course, “in what was seen as a capitulation to scientific orthodoxy” is a textbook example of using the passive voice for obfuscation. The subject of the sentence is crucial: creationists saw John Paul’s acceptance of evolution as a capitulation, whereas scientists cheered, or at least those who cared about the Pope’s edicts did.

The British press’s greatest strength is its lack of fear of taking sides. This exposes the reader to a variety of views, so long as he is willing to read not only the Grauniad but also the Torygraph. Without that wide spectrum of side-takers, all the British press is is a bunch of low-quality tabloids and one public outlet whose head resigns whenever it criticizes the government too much.

(Abstract Nonsense)
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Aug 28th, 2006 at 01:08:06 PM EST
I think the commenter wastes a lot of space on the Guardian here without beginning to address what a sea change this is in the Catholic line and the effects it could have on Catholic education around the world, including the US.

That's not to downplay the massive flaws in the British press generally, or the Guardian in particular. But if there is one issue where Guardian (print edition anyway) readers probably don't need big signposts for suspicion it's on the theme "Catholic Church slides into mumbo-jumbo."

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Aug 28th, 2006 at 02:15:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But if there is one issue where Guardian (print edition anyway) readers probably don't need big signposts for suspicion it's on the theme "Catholic Church slides into mumbo-jumbo."

That was my take as well. The Guardian won't bother trying to argue the case cos there's no point arguing with superstitious nit-wits in the first place. So they just report it and leave the raised eyebrows unstated.

Plus, one of their senior commenters is Christine Odone, an ex-editor of the Catholic Herald newspaper, who is as prone to writing faith-based reality-challenged nonsense as any of them.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Aug 28th, 2006 at 03:12:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's a sneak peek into Dominique Tassot's CESHE:

The CESHE endeavours to publish and make known the work of the scientist Fernand Crombette (1880-1970) who, under the pseudonym " a French catholic ", threw a light on many fields of knowledge, espcially on Geography, History of Egypt, ancient Chronology, Astronomy and Exegesis.

The CESHE professes the scientific and historical innerence of the Bible, in relation in various countries with Associations which recognize the privileged place of the man and the Earth within Creation.

Here are a couple of hints of what Crombette (and his fan-club) have to tell us about ancient history and chronology:

The Exodus was indeed a fact of Egyptian history and it took place at the same time as the sinking of Atlantis mentioned by Plato in his Critias and as the voyage of the Argonauts told by Orpheus.l'Exode était bien un fait de l'histoire égyptienne et qu'il avait eu lieu en même temps que l'effondrement de l'Atlantide qu'évoque Platon dans son Critias et que le voyage des Argonautes raconté par Orphée.
Thanks to his method of deciphering by riddles, Crombette was able to show that the sons of Jacob, beginning with Joseph who was the master of the greatest empire of all time, dwelt 430 years in Egypt as St Paul says in the Acts of the Apostles.Crombette grâce à sa méthode de déchiffrement par rébus a pu montrer que les fils de Jacob, à commencer par Joseph qui fut le maître du plus grand empire de tous les temps, séjournèrent 430 ans en Egypte comme le dit Saint Paul dans les Actes des Apôtres.
more recent works like those of General de Nanteuil and Colonel de Montéty, one of whose studies will come out in the next number of Science and Faith, show that Our Lord was indeed born in the year 1, [so] we should situate the Exodus in 1222 BC. But this is only a detail.des travaux plus récents comme celui du Général de Nanteuil et celui du Colonel de Montéty dont une étude va paraitre dans le prochain Science et Foi, montrent que Notre-Seigneur est bien né en l'an 1, il faudrait placer l'année de l'Exode en 1222 avant Jésus-Christ. Mais ce n'est qu'un point de détail.

A bit of astronomy from CESHE:

In astronomy Fernand Crombette, basing his work on his translation of Genesis from ancient Coptic, questioned heliocentrism, and proposed a geocentric world system. Although such a hypothesis may make our contemporaries smile (ever since Galileo this business is settled, isn't it?), it can't be swept aside easily, because we do not know the true position of the Earth in the universe.En astronomie Fernand Crombette, s'appuyant sur sa traduction de la Genèse à partir du copte ancien, a remis en cause l'héliocentrisme, et proposé un système du monde géocentrique. Bien qu'une telle hypothèse puisse faire sourire nos contemporains (depuis Galilée l'affaire est réglée n'est-ce-pas?), elle ne peut être écartée d'un revers de main, car nous ne connaissons pas la véritable position de la Terre dans l'univers.

These quotes are from recent publications of members of this holy thonk tink. And these are the "Catholic intellectuals" who are reportedly influencing the Pope?

We have not yet seen how far the conservative revolution can go.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 28th, 2006 at 03:33:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Aug 28th, 2006 at 03:41:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd be splitting my sides if it didn't appear that these creepy-crawlies from out of a time warp were in a position to influence the Pope.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 28th, 2006 at 03:43:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Vatican Exorcist Says Hitler And Stalin Were "Possessed By The Devil"...

Adolf Hitler and Russian leader Stalin were possessed by the Devil, the Vatican's chief exorcist has claimed.

Father Gabriele Amorth who is Pope Benedict XVI's 'caster out of demons' made his comments during an interview with Vatican Radio.

[The Huffington Post | Raw Feed]

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Aug 28th, 2006 at 03:48:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was a nice Enlightenment while it lasted.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Aug 28th, 2006 at 04:59:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Make a good tag line, that...
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 28th, 2006 at 05:18:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I'd have thought that was fairly obvious.

What worries me is that Crombette's deciphering by riddles may have put him two or three years out in the exact date of the Flood, leading him to miscalculate the precise orbit of the Sun around the Earth.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Aug 28th, 2006 at 05:04:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Adolf Hitler and Russian leader Stalin

As far as I'm concerned Stalin (Jugashvili) didn't have a single drop of Russian blood (or any slavonic), being  Georgian. He used to be indeed a citizen of the Russian Empire for some time but so did many others, say, Karl Mannerheim and have you ever heard him called a Russian leader? Neither did i.

For some elderly citizens of modern Russia Soviets=Russia, the rest  will pull faces and think the thousandth time about those westerners as brainwashed and ignorant... and offensive (as if we didn't have enough russian villains - Ivan the Horrible etc)

by lana on Tue Aug 29th, 2006 at 05:29:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Neither have i, even
by lana on Tue Aug 29th, 2006 at 05:32:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The exorcist probably thinks Czars still rule Russia. He sounds like he missed most of the 19th and 20th centuries. In fact he sounds closer to the 16th C.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Aug 29th, 2006 at 05:38:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Forward into the 12th Century!

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Aug 28th, 2006 at 09:37:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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