Dr Stefaan Blancke is a postdoctoral researcher of the Department of Philosophy and Moral Science, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.
Catholic Responses to Evolution, 1859–2009: Local Influences and Mid-Scale Patterns†
Article first published online: 9 JUL 2013
© 2013 The Author. Journal of Religious History © 2013 Religious History Association
Journal of Religious History
Volume 37, Issue 3, pages 353–368, September 2013
How to Cite
Blancke, S. (2013), Catholic Responses to Evolution, 1859–2009: Local Influences and Mid-Scale Patterns. Journal of Religious History, 37: 353–368. doi: 10.1111/1467-9809.12054
The research for this article was supported by grant BOF08/24J/041 from Ghent University. The author would like to thank Maarten Boudry, Johan Braeckman, Abraham C. Flipse, Barbara Forrest, Ronald Numbers, Sarah Van Ruyskensvelde, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful remarks.
- Issue published online: 3 SEP 2013
- Article first published online: 9 JUL 2013
- Ghent University. Grant Number: BOF08/24J/041
This article discusses Catholic responses to evolution between 1859, the year of publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, and 2009, the year in which the scientific world celebrated its 150th anniversary. Firstly, I will discuss how the Vatican initially responded to evolution in the period between 1859 and 1907, the year in which Pope Pius X issued the encyclical Pascendi dominici gregis. Secondly, I will explore the responses of Catholic authorities and intellectuals and identify the local factors that influenced their responses. Also, I will demonstrate that, gradually, Catholics have shifted towards a more lenient position concerning evolution. Thirdly, I will demonstrate that, in the end, the Vatican has complied with this pattern. In general, this article shows that not only Protestants, but Catholics too have struggled to come to terms with evolution and evolutionary theory and that local factors had an impact on these negotiations.