Response to ‘A refreshing view from the pope’

The portrayal of the Roman Catholic Church over the past week by the Minnesota Daily has been extremely frustrating. On Monday, the Daily ran a cartoon saying that Pope Francis is “bringing the Roman Catholic Church into the 21st century” by endorsing evolution. However, as Dario Valdebenito pointed out in Tuesday’s letter to the editor, this portrayal is completely inaccurate. Since 1950, the Church has held that evolution and faith are in no way contradictory.

While this should have been the end of the issue, it sadly was not. The same ignorance was showcased in Wednesday’s column, “A refreshing view from the pope.” The piece also made the incorrect assertion that Pope Francis is going against the “traditional Roman Catholic teachings of strict creationism.”

If Pope Francis is merely reaffirming what every pope has said for the past six decades, why is everyone making a big deal out of it? Simply put, the media has been successful in creating a false narrative that society has subscribed to: The Catholic Church is backwards, and Pope Francis is a radical who is going to change all that. Neither of these assertions is true.

Catholicism is not a religion of ignorance. In the faith, science and religion are thought of as complementary rather than contradictory. As Pope John Paul II most eloquently wrote in the Encyclical Letter Fides et Ratio, “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.” One without the other yields an incomplete view of the world.

In light of this, Pope Francis becomes far less radical. Indeed, while exhibiting saintly humility and compassion, he has not once radically changed Church doctrine. What he has done, however, is explain the values of the Catholic Church in everyday language.

So, while it may seem strange for the pope to talk about God not being a magician, baptizing extraterrestrials and not judging gays, the only novel thing about these statements is their folksy delivery, not their content.