The Jakarta Post
When the new pope was elected in 2013, everyone imagined that this meant a great change for the Catholic Church. Catholicism, which had lost many supporters in South America, could have been strengthened by the election of a Latin American pope.
The new pope appeared very humble. Recently all eyes turned to an address by Pope Francis at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences: The pope defended evolution. While that may appear astonishing at first sight, statements of that kind are by no means uncommon in the Catholic Church.
Despite statements in the New Testament to the effect that God created all things and it is God who gives life to everything (I Corinthians 8:5-6, John 1:3 and I Timothy 6:13), the Catholic Church had previously maintained that 'evolution does not conflict with Catholic teaching'.
For example, in 1950 Pope Pius XII said that there is no intrinsic conflict between Christianity and the theory of evolution. Pope John Paul II said in 1996, '['¦] Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical [of Pope Pius XII], some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than a hypothesis.'
A 2004 statement endorsed by Pope Benedict XVI read '['¦] Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth'.
How can leaders of the Catholic Church issue statements in support of a theory such as evolution that clearly conflicts with Creation?
First of all, the theory of evolution is the product of the rather primitive level of science in the 1800s, and has many times been invalidated by scientific findings.
Advocating such a claim is a historical delusion, as modern science shows that not even a single protein can come into being by chance, that all the fossils thus far heralded as intermediate fossils either belong to extinct life forms or else are forgeries, while more than 500 million fossils exist to prove the fact of Creation.
Advocating the theory of evolution while modern science refutes it, suggesting that the theory does not contradict the belief in Creation in monotheistic religions and even claiming that it complements and reinforces that belief is a serious delusion.
To suggest that living things evolved is to claim that they came into existence by chance and coincidentally acquired the forms they have today.
This is an outright rejection of Creation. Consequently, advocating the theory of evolution and saying that 'Creation is compatible with evolution' is actually a denial of the fact that God creates everything.
Advocating the fact of Creation is the only path shown by science and reason and one of the most important articles of religious belief.
The infinite might of God and the fact that he created everything from nothing are clearly stated in the Bible.
In light of many references to Creation in the Bible, both Pope Francis and the Vatican are clearly at odds with the Bible by advocating the theory of evolution.
The Vatican is also pursuing a policy of backing up its propaganda firsthand. In 2009, my representative Oktar Babuna was treated most undemocratically when he tried to speak about the invalidity of Darwinism at a conference held by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture; indeed, he was not even allowed to mention the fact that science had totally discredited the theory.
What the pope and the representatives of the Vatican must do is to remember God's might and sublimity, to abandon those views that directly conflict with faith in God and religion and to cease propagandizing evolution.
As the world looks for solutions to current social disasters, the Vatican must renounce a theory that lays the foundation for all irreligious ideologies that lead to persecution and irreligion and must cease blindly adhering to a scientific fraud.
People who are unable to appreciate the might of God and ideas that ascribe greater power to human beings, chance and even unconscious events than to the divine power, do enormous harm to the Catholic world.
In fact, the pope and the Vatican have shaken genuine believers' trust in them, thereby provoking criticism from sincere Christians. The papacy must therefore be aware of the great responsibility it bears.
The Catholic Church is continuing to lose supporters. According to the Pew Research Center, some four million people in the US have left the Catholic Church since 2010. Brazil is the country with the world's largest Catholic population, yet between 2000 and 2010, the number of
Catholics fell from 125 million to 123 million.
In 1910, two-thirds of the world's Catholics lived in Europe, but that figure has now fallen to only one in four.
There is a common reason for all these problems: intellectual collapse and a deficiency in spirituality.
Pope Francis must also discharge that responsibility to the full and immediately issue a statement concerning the falsity of the theory of evolution. He must advocate Creation rather than the theory of evolution, which causes considerable confusion among Church members.
He must encourage and remind people to abide closely by religious moral values to eradicate the spiritual void in the Christian world.
This will lead to a reinvigoration of spirituality and enlightenment by its followers. Otherwise, the Catholic Church will inevitably lose even more adherents.
In fact, the pope and the Vatican have shaken genuine believers' trust in them.
The writer has authored articles many on politics, religion and science.