Here’s a quote from THE CHRISTIAN ORDER going back more than a decade:
The Pontifical Academy of Evolutionists
Despite being widely accepted even at the highest level in the Church, there has never been any authoritative teaching approving of evolution. Hence the reaction of the worldwide media to the Pope’s message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on October 25th 1996. The ambiguous phrase that evolution is “more than just a theory” was greeted with glee by the materialistic press as an official admission of the collapse, under the weight of scientific research, of the Church’s traditional beliefs in Adam and Eve and any literal sense of Genesis.(37) Yet by no stretch of wishful thinking can the Pope’s message, arguably not even written by him personally, be considered a Magisterial teaching, still less an infallible new dogma of faith, overturning previous doctrine.
If John Paul II is unaware of the contemporary crisis in the credibility of evolution, this could be related to the fact that his 80 scientific advisors in the Academy are all evolutionists, including Fr. Stanley Jaki and the atheist cosmologist Stephen Hawking. This bias must severely limit the competence of the Academy to fulfil the stated intentions of Pope Pius IX, on its foundation in 1936, “… who wished to surround himself with a select group of scholars, relying on them to inform the Holy See in complete freedom about developments in scientific research and thereby to assist him in his reflections.”(38) In his 1996 Message, John Paul reminded the Academy that the Magisterium has already made pronouncements on these matters, and cites the encyclical “Humani Generis” in which Pope Pius XII: “considered the doctrine of ‘evolutionism’ a serious hypothesis, worthy of investigation and in-depth study equal to that of the opposing hypothesis.” A comparison with the text shows that the Message paraphrases the encyclical in a subtle but misleading way and omits its explicit warning that the evolution of man must not be treated as certain fact.(39) It is also difficult to believe that “the opposing hypothesis,” which remains unnamed but is presumably Special Creation, can have been given “equal investigation and in-depth study” by the Pontifical Academy if there is not one expert on Creation Science included among its members! A prudent Catholic cannot regard such pronouncements, especially in the contemporary post-Vatican II context, as of sufficient weight to overturn two millenia of Scripture, Tradition and Magisterial teachings.
QUESTIONS: Why are all 80 members of the PAS evolutionists? Is the PAS self-selecting? How much say does the Holy Father have in the selection of members? How many of these members are themselves Catholic? How many are theologically sound (i.e., can say the creeds without smirking)?