“Scoffers Will Arise in the Last Days”: A Reply to Fr. Paul Robinson, FSSPX

After Kolbe advisor Eric Bermingham wrote a critique of Fr. Paul Robinson’s book The Realist Guide to Religion and Science, Fr. Robinson wrote a critique of the Kolbe Center which he posted on his website. We are grateful to him for the time that he took to offer the critique and we welcome the opportunity to respond. We are hopeful that, through the intercession of the Immaculate Conception, our principal patroness, Fr. Robinson will use his great talents to join us in defending the traditional Catholic understanding of Genesis 1-11, the foundation of our Holy Catholic Faith.

The Kolbe Center provides a forum for Catholic theologians, philosophers and natural scientists all over the world who defend the Church’s traditional understanding of the sacred history of Genesis, as believed and taught by all of the Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Council Fathers in their authoritative teaching, that God created a perfectly beautiful, complete and harmonious universe—and all of the different kinds of angelic and corporeal creatures—for man, by fiat, less than ten thousand years ago. In one of the most remarkable prophetic passages in the entire Bible, St. Peter our first Pope, was inspired to warn us against an all-out satanic assault on this fundamental doctrine of creation “in the last days” when “scoffers” would come into the Church of God saying

Things have always continued as they were since the beginning of creation (2 Peter 3:4).

With this prediction, St. Peter miraculously summed up the precise error that undergirds all of the modern deviations from the traditional doctrine of creation—atheistic evolution, theistic evolution and so-called “progressive creation.” Before going further, let us define each of these ideas in turn.

According to the hypothesis of atheistic evolution, molecules spontaneously turned into human bodies over hundreds of millions of years of the same kinds of material processes that are going on now. The hypothesis of so-called “theistic evolution” takes a variety of forms. At one end of the spectrum of theistic evolutionary belief is the popular view of Dr. Ken Miller and many others who hold that God created some matter and natural laws at the moment of the alleged Big Bang and then allowed everything to evolve over hundreds of millions of years of the same kinds of material processes that are going on now until two (or more) sub-human primates conceived creatures capable of receiving a human soul who became the first human beings. At the other end of the spectrum of theistic evolutionist conjecture is the pantheistic fantasy of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin who identified god completely with the process of evolution, making it responsible for the evolution of the first humans through a process of hundreds of millions of years of death, deformity, extinction and disease. Finally, the most seductive deviation from the traditional doctrine for faithful Catholics, is “progressive creation,” the creation by God of the universe and of the natural order ex nihilo, followed by periodic creative interventions by the Creator over hundreds of millions of years, culminating in the special creation of Adam and Eve.

All of these deviations from the traditional doctrine of creation rest, to differing degrees, upon the false assumption that “things have always been the same from the beginning of creation” and that natural scientists can thus legitimately extrapolate from the present order of nature all the way back to the beginning of the universe to explain how and over what period of time all things came to be. But St. Peter goes on to explain in his second epistle why this is impossible when he writes that these “scoffers” will have to be “willfully ignorant” of the fact that:

the heavens were before, and the earth out of water, and through water, consisting by the word of God. Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished (2 Peter 3:5-6).

Fr. Robinson identifies his account of the origins of man and the universe as “progressive creation,” as defined above. However, he contends that his account is the one most in harmony with Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and Magisterial teaching and that the Kolbe Center’s defense of the fiat creation of all things at the beginning of time less than ten thousand years ago actually deviates from the Magisterial teaching of the Church on creation and represents a form of “biblicism,” an over-literal interpretation of the Bible derived from Protestantism rather than from the authentic Tradition of the Catholic Church. He then scoffs at the Kolbe Center for choosing St. Maximilian Kolbe as its secondary patron, after the Immaculate Conception, because, while rejecting molecules-to-man evolution, St. Maximilian acknowledged that the science of his day taught that the universe was hundreds of millions of years old, that the solar system was not specially created, and that the Earth revolves around the sun, as in the Copernican model of the solar system. We will address each of these points in turn.

Progressive Creation: A Building Without a Foundation

Perhaps the most glaring weakness in Fr. Robinson’s critique of the Kolbe Center is its almost total failure to find support in the Sacred Tradition and authoritative Magisterial teaching of the Church. The strongest support Fr. Robinson can cite for his acceptance of long ages are a few statements from Pope Leo XIII in Providentissimus Deus in which the Pope allows for the possibility that the authors of Sacred Scripture sometimes used popular rather than scientific language to describe certain phenomena, thus, in Fr. Robinson’s opinion, opening the way for exegetes to reconcile long ages with the Holy Scriptures.

It should give any Catholic reader pause that Fr. Robinson is not able to cite a single Church Father, Doctor, Ecumenical Council or authoritative Magisterial statement in support of his position and must rest his case on a papal permission to interpret certain passages of Holy Scripture in a sense other than the literal and obvious sense. This is not the modus operandi of the Church Fathers and Doctors, nor of the Council Fathers and Popes when they define doctrine. Their modus operandi is to cite the literal and obvious sense of Scripture and the common teaching of the Fathers when interpreting Scripture. Indeed, Pope Leo XIII in the same encyclical cited by Fr. Robinson exhorts Catholic exegetes not to depart from the literal and obvious sense of Scripture, save when reason dictates or necessity requires that they depart from that sense.

As Kolbe advisor Eric Bermingham pointed out in his original critique of Fr. Robinson’s The Realist Guide, Pope Leo XIII demonstrated in various ways that he himself held fast to the traditional interpretation of Genesis 1 as an inspired account of the fiat creation of all things in six days, as when he wrote in Arcanum divinae in 1880:

We record what is known to all and cannot be denied by anyone that God on the sixth day of creation, having formed man’s body from the slime of the earth and having breathed into his face the breath of life, gave him a companion whom He miraculously formed from the side of Adam when he was locked in sleep.[1]

Eric Bermingham went on to observe that no one has ever come close to proving that “reason dictates” or that “necessity requires” that Catholics abandon the literal and obvious sense of what the Roman Catechism calls the “sacred history of Genesis.” Thus, the very text cited by Fr. Robinson as his mandate to reconcile the traditional teaching of the Church on creation with the long ages of uniformitarian natural science argues against his position, since, as we shall see, the uniformitarian natural science on which Fr. Robinson bases his faith in Big Bang cosmology and long ages is based on assumptions derived not from the traditional theology and philosophy of the Church but from the false philosophy of Rene’ Descartes, Immanuel Kant and other so-called “Enlightenment” philosophers.

Pope Leo XIII founded the Pontifical Biblical Commission to combat modernism in the realm of Scriptural exegesis, and Pope St. Pius X made the PBC an arm of the Magisterium and declared dissent from its decrees a serious sin. In 1909, the PBC replied to eight questions about Genesis 1-3 and declared that no Catholic could deny three “facts” contained in Genesis 1-3 that pertain to the foundations of the Christian Faith. These were the creation of all things by God at the beginning of time; the special creation of Adam, body and soul; and the creation of Eve from Adam’s side. It is difficult, if not impossible, to see how the creation of “all things” at “the beginning of time” can be reconciled with Fr. Robinson’s Big Bang cosmology in which the only things created at the “beginning of time” are some hydrogen, helium and lithium.

Moreover, in its other answers, the PBC ruled that all of Genesis 1-3 is historical and that exegetes must adhere to the proper, or literal and obvious, sense of the text of Genesis 1-3, unless reason dictates or necessity requires. Indeed, while allowing scholars to discuss whether “day” in Genesis 1 refers to a 24-day or an indefinite space of time, the PBC insisted that the only acceptable interpretation of “day” in Genesis 1 was one in which “the Church and the Fathers” “lead the way.” But the Fathers held that the days of Genesis were either 24-hour days—the overwhelming majority view—or an instant—the Augustinian minority view. Hence, rightly expounded, the PBC decrees of 1909 leave exegetes without any choice for the length of the creation period except for “six 24-hour days” or an instantaneous creation.

Fr. Robinson cites Fr. Vigouroux approvingly as a theologian of recent times worthy of emulation, but this commendation will not bear close examination. Just 13 years after the anathema of Vatican I cited above and only two years after Pope Leo XIII wrote in Arcanum that the creation of Eve from Adam’s side on the sixth day of creation was “known to all” and impossible for anyone to deny, Fr. Vigouroux dared to assert that “geology” had “established” that God did not create the entire material universe in six days or in an instant but over long ages of time. Intoxicated with his confidence in the truth of the wild speculations of Lyellian geology, Vigouroux went on to boast that “it was reserved” to his time “to discover the true meaning of the cosmogonic days”—the days of Genesis 1. It is apparent from the content of the PBC decrees cited above that they do not support the claims of Fr. Vigouroux, and Fr. Robinson has not offered a single sound reason from theology or natural science why Catholics should not remain obedient to those authoritative decrees.

It is tragic that Fr. Robinson gives great weight to statements of Pope Leo XIII that seem to allow for a revision of the traditional Catholic understanding of the sacred history of Genesis but no weight at all to the much more authoritative statements of the Magisterium that support the traditional reading. In this respect, Fr. Robinson has much in common with the mainstream modernist Catholic exegetes who cite Paragraph 36 of Humani generis as their charter to embrace and teach theistic evolution in the face of the plain statements of Pope Pius XII elsewhere in Humani generis that uphold fundamental tenets of the traditional doctrine of creation which clash with the evolutionary hypothesis. These include the requirement that Bishops must teach that all of Genesis 1-11 is true history (HG, 38-39); that Bishops must teach that the Bible is inerrant in all that it teaches, not just in matters of faith and morals; and that the literal sense of Scripture must be believed unless reason dictates or necessity requires. (HG, 24); that the metaphysical principles of traditional Catholic philosophy must be maintained in the examination of the evolutionary hypothesis (HG, 29); and that Speculation is sterile, while investigation of the Deposit of Faith is fruitful (HG, 21). Moreover, in Humani generis Pope Pius XII explicitly stated that the Pontifical Biblical Commission refused to abrogate its prior decrees on Genesis at the request of the Archbishop of Paris, thus confirming that those decrees, cited above, are still binding on Catholics.

Long Ages: Fact of Science or Science Fiction?

As demonstrated in many books and articles posted or advertised on the Kolbe website, the fiat creation of the entire material universe and of all of the different kinds of creatures for man at the beginning of time less than ten thousand years ago constitutes the common doctrine of all of the Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Council Fathers from the time of the Apostles in their authoritative teaching. Moreover, while Fr. Robinson scoffs at the notion that the length of the period of creation could be a matter of great importance for Catholics, here again he disregards the mind of the Church Fathers who held that the fiat creation of all things at the beginning of time less than ten thousand years ago was an indisputable fact contained in Divine Revelation and one that had to be maintained in the face of the scorn of the Graeco-Roman intellectual elite, most of whom believed in some form of evolution over long ages and who heaped scorn on the Church Fathers for placing their trust in a book produced by Hebrew barbarians who lacked the culture of the philosophers of Greece or Rome.

Indeed, the Church Fathers had to contend regularly with the ideas of philosophers like Lucretius who believed in molecules-to-man evolution through natural selection over long ages of time. In De Rerum Natura, Lucretius writes of the wonders that natural selection can accomplish in “a vast time”:

Struck with blows and carried along by their own weight from infinite time until the present, [atoms] have been accustomed to move and meet in all manner of ways, and to try all combinations, whatsoever they could produce by coming together, for this reason it comes to pass that being spread abroad through a vast time, by attempting every sort of combination and motion, at length those come together which . . . become the beginnings of great things, of earth and sea and sky and the generation of living creatures.[2]

Far from making peace with these long ages of “vast time,” the Fathers of the Church rejected these long-age evolutionary phantasies as illogical, absurd, and totally contradictory to God’s revelation to Moses in the sacred history of Genesis. Of these early advocates of long ages of evolution, St. Basil wrote that:

Some had recourse to material principles and attributed the origin of the Universe to the elements of the world. Others imagined that atoms, and indivisible bodies…by their union formed the nature of the visible world . . . Deceived by their inherent atheism it appeared to them that nothing governed or ruled the universe, and that all was given up to chance.[3]

St. Basil added elsewhere that so complete is the information contained in the sacred history of Genesis that those who rightly interpret the Sacred Scriptures can even know “the day on which the universe was made,” a conviction grounded in the certainty that the chronological information in the Sacred history of Genesis was inspired, inerrant, and sufficient to establish a chronology from creation to the later periods of human history. Moreover, the belief in long ages so dominated the pagan world that the Church Fathers repeatedly rejected this erroneous belief and firmly upheld the literal historical truth of the sacred history of Genesis and of the chronology of the world derived from the genealogies contained in the Pentateuch. Hence, we read in the City of God of St. Augustine:

They [pagans] are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents that profess to give the history of [man as] many thousands of years, though reckoning by the sacred writings we find that not 6,000 years have yet passed (bold added).[4]

Julius Africanus observes that not only the Greek and Roman pagan intellectuals embraced these mythical long ages but also the Egyptians before them:

The Egyptians, indeed, with their boastful notions of their own antiquity, have put forth a sort of account of it by the hand of their astrologers in cycles and myriads of years …” [myriad = 10,000].[5]

St. Theophilus of Antioch, occupying the see founded by St. Peter, at the end of the second century expounded upon:

the number of years from the foundation of the world . . . to condemn the empty labour and trifling of these [pagan] authors, because there have neither been twenty thousand times ten thousand years from the flood to the present time, as Plato said . . . affirming that there had been so many years; nor yet 15 times 10,375 years, as we have already mentioned Apollonius the Egyptian gave out; nor is the world uncreated, nor is there a spontaneous production of all things . . . but, being indeed created, it is also governed by the providence of God, who made all things; and the whole course of time and the years are made plain to those who wish to obey the truth.[6]

In his capacity as tutor of the imperial household after the conversion of Constantine, the Church Father Lactantius lent his voice to the chorus of patristic witnesses to the truth of the Biblical chronology of the world:

Plato and many others of the philosophers, since they were ignorant of the origin of all things, and of that primal period at which the world was made, said that many thousands of ages had passed since this beautiful arrangement of the world was completed.[7]

In light of the evidence we have presented here, and before leaving this topic, we would like to ask the progressive creationists of our day to please show us a single statement from a Church Father who taught that God used long periods of time in the creation of the material universe or that it does not matter if one believes in these mythical long ages, as did most of the pagan philosophers of the patristic era.

When the testimony of the Church Fathers and Doctors is taken seriously, it becomes apparent that the fiat creation of all things at the beginning of time is absolutely integral to the true Catholic doctrine of creation and that the insertion of long ages of time into the creation period involves a denial of the goodness of God and of the goodness of the first created world before the Original Sin and calls into question the inerrancy of the chronological information contained in the sacred history of Genesis.

The First Perfection of the Universe and the Creation-Providence Distinction

The Ecumenical Councils of Trent and Vatican I defined that when all of the Church Fathers agree on any interpretation of Scripture that pertains to a doctrine of faith or morals that is the truth and we must believe it. Unfortunately, progressive creationists have forgotten or overlooked one of the fundamental tenets of the traditional Catholic doctrine of creation which was believed and taught by all of the Church Fathers in their interpretation of Genesis 1-3. St. Thomas in the Summa Theologica calls this doctrine “the first perfection of the universe,” which he defines as “the completeness of the universe at its first founding” and which is what, according to the Angelic Doctor, is “ascribed to the seventh day.”

All of the Fathers without exception held that God created all of the different kinds of corporeal creatures for man in six days or an instant much less than ten thousand years ago and that when He had finished creating Adam, body and soul, and Eve from Adam’s side, He stopped creating new kinds of creatures, at which point all of the different kinds of creatures, angelic and corporeal, each one perfect according to its nature, existed together with man and for man, in perfect harmony, at the same time, in a world that was completely free not only from human death, but from deformity, disease, man-harming natural disasters or any kind of disorder in nature, all of which “natural evils” only came into the world because of the Original Sin of Adam.

Indeed, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church held that the natural order in which we live and which the Fathers and Doctors sometimes refer to as the order of Providence only began to operate with relative autonomy after the work of creation was finished on the sixth day of creation. Hence, summing up the teaching of all of the Church Fathers, St. John Chrysostom writes:

When the Scripture here says: “God rested from all his works,” it thereby instructs us that on the Seventh Day He ceased to create and to bring out of nonexistence into existence; but when Christ says: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work,” it thereby indicates to us His uninterrupted Providence, and it calls “work” the preservation of what exists, the giving to it of continuance (of existence) and the governance of it at all times.[8]

With their distinction between the supernatural work of creation and the natural order of providence, the Fathers and Doctors expose the principal error of the progressive creationists—their mixing of the order of the supernatural work of creation and the natural order of providence which are always kept separate in the writings of the Fathers and Doctors. Indeed, the progressive creationist makes a second error in tandem with the first when, by the introduction of long ages, he inserts supernatural creative acts of God into the natural order of providence but also into a fallen world, thus denying the unanimous testimony of the Fathers to the fact that God created a perfectly complete and harmonious universe for our first parents in the beginning of creation.

Both of these errors flow from the uniformitarian error that St. Peter warned us would enter the Church in the last days—the false assumption that things have always been the same from the beginning of the universe and that therefore we can legitimately extrapolate from the material processes that are going on now all the way back to the beginning of time to determine the age of the universe. With this in mind, we will now examine the rise of the uniformitarian scoffers during the so-called Enlightenment to see how the revolution against the true Catholic doctrine of creation began outside of the household of the faith before eventually infiltrating the highest levels of the Church in the form of theistic evolution and progressive creation.

Scoffers Will Arise

In the Summa Theologica St. Thomas Aquinas summed up the primary assumption that all of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church made in regard to the natural order as follows:

In the works of nature, Creation does not enter, but is presupposed to the works of nature (ST, I q. 45, a. 8.).

In other words, the origin of the different kinds of creatures—stars, plants, animals and men—cannot be explained in terms of the activity of created things—that is, in terms of the same material processes that are going on now. Thus, according to all of the Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Council Fathers, in their authoritative teaching, it is IMPOSSIBLE to extrapolate from the present order of nature and from the material processes that are going on now—things like genetic mutations and supernova explosions— to explain how these things came to be in the past. This assumption was not based on human reasoning or experience. It was based on God’s revelation to Moses in which He clearly stated that the work of creation was a fiat creation and that it was finished on the sixth day with the creation of Adam and Eve. Therefore, ALL the Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Council Fathers drew the boundary between theology and natural science AFTER the creation of Adam and Eve. From this starting point, they recognized that the work of creation was the proper realm of the theologian. The natural order—which began AFTER creation was finished—was the proper realm of the natural scientist.

Those who defend atheistic or theistic evolution do not accept this premise from Divine Revelation. They believe that the same material processes that are going on now have been operating in the same way since the BEGINNING of creation—in contradiction to all of the Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Council Fathers in their authoritative teaching. Progressive creationists like Fr. Robinson reject the evolutionist error that one kind of living organism can generate one of a different kind but accept the uniformitarian chronology for the Earth and the universe which is based on assuming that the material processes that are going on now have been operating in more or less the same way since the beginning of creation.

We have seen that St. Peter the first Pope actually predicted this revolution in men’s ideas when he wrote that scoffers would come in the latter days, asserting that “things have always been the same since the BEGINNING of creation.” St. Peter went on to predict that these scoffers—Descartes, Kant, Hutton, Lyell, Darwin, Teilhard de Chardin and all other theistic evolutionists and progressive creationists and their modern disciples— would have to deliberately ignore the FACT—not the pious belief—that it was the Word of God that brought the heavens and the Earth and all they contain into existence, NOT a material process like what we observe in the world today. And this is, indeed, the fundamental error of all evolutionists, theistic or atheistic. Progressive creationists avoid the most egregious error of the evolutionists but still accept the false uniformitarian framework of the Enlightenment philosophers and deny the fiat creation of all things from the beginning of creation as well as the radical distinction between period of Creation and the period of Providence and between the pre-Fall and post-Fall world.

No one exposed the folly of a uniformitarian approach to the origins and antiquity of man and the universe better than St. Augustine. In The City of God, he reflected on the creation of Eve from Adam’s side and observed that:

This [the creation of Eve] He did as God…some people use the standards of their own daily experience to measure the power and wisdom of God, by which he has the knowledge and the ability to make seeds even without seeds. And so they regard the account of man’s Creation as fable, not fact; and because the first created works are beyond their experience, they adopt a skeptical attitude.[9]

In this passage St. Augustine lays bare the error that St. Peter warned us against in 2 Peter 3 and which remains the fatal flaw in all accounts of origins put forward by theistic evolutionists and progressive creationists. Both of them regard the account of creation at least in part as a “fable,” precisely because the “first created works are beyond their experience,” and they “adopt a skeptical attitude” toward the literal historical truth of Genesis 1-11 in regard to the chronology of the world.

René Descartes (1596-1650) was the first Catholic thinker of note—i.e., the first Baptized Catholic “scoffer”—to propose that it would be “more reasonable” to explain the origin of stars, galaxies and other kinds of creatures in terms of the same material processes going on now than by fiat creation. In his Discourse on Method (of Rightly Conducting the Reason), Part V, Descartes wrote:

But it is certain, and it is an opinion commonly received by the theologians, that the action by which He now preserves is just the same as that by which He at first created it. In this way….we may well believe…that by this means alone all things which are purely material might in course of time have become such as we observe them to be at present; and their nature is much easier to understand when we see them coming to pass little by little in this manner, than were we to consider them as all complete to begin with (emphasis added).[10]

In reality, Descartes wittingly or unwittingly distorted the “common opinion” of theologians which identified the creative action of God in creating the universe with His action in maintaining it. Rightly understood, this common opinion held that God created and sustained the universe by His divine omnipotent power, but it distinguished (on the side of the effect) between the exercise of that power to create the corporeal and spiritual creatures ex nihilo and the maintenance of the universe after it was finished and complete.

To appreciate the importance of this conflation of the order of creation with the natural order of providence, consider the following statement by humanist philosopher John Dewey about the pivotal importance of this concept in Descartes’ writing and its link to Darwinism:

When Descartes said: “The nature of physical things is much more easily conceived when they are beheld coming gradually into existence, than when they are only considered as produced at once in a finished and perfect state,” the modern world became self-conscious of the logic that was henceforth to control it, the logic of which Darwin’s Origin of Species is the latest scientific achievement.[11]

In light of the fact that John Dewey (1859-1952)—the man most responsible for destroying the moral integrity of public education in the United States—identified Descartes as the one who laid the FOUNDATIONS of modern evolutionary thought, we might ask ourselves: WHY was René Descartes the first Catholic thinker of note to embrace this idea? Was he really so much smarter than St. Augustine, St. Thomas and all of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church? Is it a coincidence that Descartes dabbled in the occult and then had three “mystical dreams” brought to him by a “spirit of truth” which gave him the key to igniting a revolution in men’s thinking— a revolution that would overturn the traditional teaching that “the past—as revealed in Divine Revelation—is the key to the present” with the new mantra of the evolutionists, “the present is the key to the past”?

Perhaps we need look no further for an answer than to Descartes’ devout Catholic contemporary Blaise Pascal. Pascal was as great a genius as Descartes but, unlike Descartes, he had true piety and he saw the terrible consequences that would result from Descartes’ arrogant denial of the traditional teaching on fiat creation in favor of a naturalistic account of origins. Hence, Pascal wrote in Pensees:

I cannot forgive Descartes; in all his philosophy he did his best to dispense with God. But he could not avoid making Him set the world in motion with a flip of His thumb; after that he had no more use for God.[12]

St Thomas followed Aristotle in teaching that a small error in the beginning becomes a huge error later on. But in the case of Descartes, a huge error in the beginning became an unimaginably monstrous error in the end. And this explains why highly intelligent and virtuous people can be completely wrong in their conclusions about origins—because in regard to the origins of man and the universe they have accepted the false premise of Descartes and unwittingly rejected the premise that was held by ALL of the Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Council Fathers in their authoritative teaching. Indeed, a man could be the smartest person in the world—and virtuous and well-intentioned to boot—yet if he starts from a false premise, he will always reason (perhaps even sincerely and brilliantly) to a false conclusion—as all evolutionists do.

In the fourth century, one generation after the Council of Nicea defined the divinity of Christ as “of the same substance as the Father,” a still larger council—though not legitimate because its decrees were never ratified by the Pope—approved a watered-down version of the Creed which styled Him only “of like substance with the Father.” Of this dark moment in Church history, St. Jerome wrote that “The whole world groaned and found itself Arian.”[13]

Less than 150 years ago, Vatican Council I reaffirmed the teaching of Lateran IV verbatim—that God created all the different kinds of corporeal and spiritual creatures by His own omnipotent power at once from the beginning of time—but it went further. In response to the errors of Descartes, Hutton, Lyell, Darwin and other evolutionists, already gaining widespread acceptance among intellectuals in Europe and North America, the Council condemned the following proposition:

If anyone says that it is possible that to the dogmas declared by the Church a meaning must sometimes be attributed according to the progress of science, different from that which the Church has understood and understands, let him be anathema.[14]

In the light of this forgotten and most charitable anathema, the case is clear: No Catholic is permitted to argue that the progress of the natural sciences requires that the traditional Catholic doctrine of creation be changed. Therefore, if the fiat creation of all things at the beginning of time IS the traditional teaching of the Church—as even theistic evolutionists admit—then the progress of the sciences may not be used as grounds for changing that teaching. And yet, if St. Jerome were walking the earth today, he would surely say of our time, “The whole world groaned . . . and found itself Cartesian”!

The Word of God is Perfect

This response would not be complete without a recognition that the progressive creationists’ approach to Sacred Scripture deviates from the approach of all of the Fathers and Doctors and contributes to the erosion of faith in the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture. The constant teaching of all of the Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Council Fathers in their dogmatic teaching is that Sacred Scripture is inerrant in all that it affirms. Moreover, since all of them also taught that Genesis 1-11 is a sacred history, all Catholics are bound to accept all of the affirmations of Genesis and of all of the other historical books of the Bible as the literal historical truth. The progressive creationist, like the theistic evolutionist, likes to point out that the Magisterium has never defined the literal historical truth of the historical propositions in Genesis 1-11. So, they say, we are free to believe or not to believe that Adam lived to be 930 years old or that the Flood waters covered all of the Earth’s highest mountains. But this approach to determining the truth of historical statements in Holy Scripture would have been anathema to the Fathers and Doctors. Indeed, the Angelic Doctor summed up the mind of the Fathers when he wrote that:

A thing is of faith, indirectly, if the denial of it involves as a consequence something against faith; as for instance if anyone said that Samuel was not the son of Elcana, for it follows that divine Scripture would be false (ST, I, q. 32, art. 4).

Again and again, the progressive creationists and theistic evolutionists accuse the members of the Kolbe Center of exalting their private opinions above the Magisterium of the Church. But this is a calumny. We are simply maintaining the reverence for the historical books of the Bible that all of the Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Council Fathers maintained in their authoritative teaching. If Genesis 1-11 is a sacred history, and all historical propositions in historical books of the Bible are free from error, as even Pope Pius XII in Humani generis affirmed, we do not require a Magisterial decree to believe that Adam was 930 years old when he died or that the Flood waters covered all of the Earth’s highest mountains (and was, necessarily, therefore, global in its extent). On the contrary, we are bound to believe these things without any Magisterial decree, because if anyone says that “Adam did not live to be 930 years old” or that “the Flood waters did not actually cover all of the Earth’s highest mountains,” it follows that divine Scripture would be false. The Angelic Doctor reminds us that:

It is unlawful to hold that any false assertion is contained either in the Gospel or in any canonical Scripture, or that the writers thereof have told untruths, because faith would be deprived of its certitude which is based on the authority of Holy Writ” (ST, II, II, q. 110, art. 3).

When these truths are called to mind, it becomes apparent that the Kolbe Center is merely giving to the historical affirmations of Holy Scripture the faith and reverence that are due to Holy Writ.

“The World That Then Was Perished in the Flood”

In his second Epistle, St. Peter warns against the uniformitarian error that undergirds the false accounts of the origins of man and the universe promoted by evolutionists and progressive creationists. Moreover, he points out that the authors of these deviations from the sacred history of Genesis will have to ignore the fact that it was the Fiat of the Word of God that brought the heavens and the Earth and all they contain into existence—not a natural process like a supernova explosion—and that there was a divine judgment upon the whole world at the time of the Noachic Flood which completely changed the face of the Earth, so that the “world that then was perished in the Flood.”

In our publications and on-line presentations, the Kolbe Center has demonstrated the overwhelming physical evidence for a global Flood in the time of Noah. In this reply to Fr. Robinson we will just offer five compelling theological arguments for the literal historical truth of the Mosaic account of the global Flood, in the hope that Fr. Robinson and his followers will recognize the compelling force of these arguments and return to the traditional Catholic understanding of Noah’s Flood as a global cataclysm.

A. Our Lord Jesus Christ testified to the global Flood.

Our Lord compares the global Flood in the days of Noah to His Second Coming. Just as the Second Coming will affect every creature on Earth when it occurs, so did the Flood in the days of Noah (Luke 17:26).

B. All the Church Fathers testified to the global Flood.The Council of Trent and Vatican Council I both defined that when all of the Fathers of the Church agree on any interpretation of Scripture that pertains to a doctrine of faith or morals, it is definitive. All of the Fathers agreed that the Flood was a real historical event that covered the whole Earth. They also held that the Ark of Noah was a type of the Catholic Church outside of which there is no salvation. Just as the Church is a real entity, so the Ark was a real entity.

C. Cataclysmos = unique event

The New Testament and the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament use the unique word “kataklysmos” to describe the Flood. “Kataklysmos” signifies a violent upheaval, on a much bigger scale than any local Flood (cf. https://biblehub.com/greek/kataklysmos_2627.htm )

D) Why spend a hundred years building an Ark to escape a local flood? Why take animals on the Ark to escape a local flood?God commanded Noah to work on the Ark more than 100 years before the Flood occurred (Genesis 6:1, Genesis 7:4). This would be absurd if the Flood were to be a local flood, since God could just have told Noah to move from one country to another as He did with Abraham hundreds of years after the Flood. It would be equally absurd for God to direct Noah to take every kind of animal on the Ark if the Flood were a local flood, since the animals could simply have moved away from the flooded area.

E) A local Flood would make God a liar. God promised Noah never to send another Flood upon the Earth (Genesis 9:11).

If the Flood was a local flood, then God lied to Noah, as there have been countless local floods during the four and a half millennia since the Flood of Noah.

St. Maximilian Kolbe: A Suitable Patron for the Kolbe Center?

In Fr. Robinson’s critique of the Kolbe Center, he acknowledges that St. Maximilian Kolbe rejected microbe-to-man evolution but demonstrates that in one of St. Maximilian’s articles he wrote that “science teaches” some kind of natural development of stars and galaxies over long ages of time. Fr. Robinson notes that the Kolbe Center gives seven reasons for having chosen St. Maximilian as its secondary patron after the Immaculate Conception, but he finds it extremely ironic that the Kolbe Center would choose as its secondary patron a man who was willing to entertain the possibility of long ages of cosmic development and something along the lines of Big Bang cosmology.

In reality, far from being an embarrassment to the Kolbe Center, the fact that our secondary patron was mistaken in his acceptance of long ages only underscores the folly of tracing the roots of the current crisis of faith to Vatican II, since the pseudo-scientific assault on the literal historical truth of the sacred history of Genesis appears to have entered the seminaries of Europe during or soon after the pontificate of St. Pius X, and clearly affected St. Maximilian’s understanding of the development of stars, galaxies, and the solar system.

However, this knowledge makes us even more confident of St. Maximilian’s intercession on our behalf, since from Heaven we know that he intercedes all the more fervently on behalf of our efforts to restore the traditional Catholic doctrine of creation as the foundation of our faith and of all effective evangelization. We say this for several reasons, the most important of which revolve around the single most important concept in the theology of St. Maximilian Kolbe—after the Incarnation—the Immaculate Conception.

In his writings on the Immaculate Conception, St. Maximilian predicted that theologians would continually derive new insights from their meditation on this mystery. In the last major piece of writing that he dictated before going to the starvation bunker in Auschwitz, St. Maximilian demonstrated that, with the words “I am the Immaculate Conception,” Our Lady of Lourdes gave the lie to the diabolical deception of human evolution. He explained:

Who then are you, O Immaculate Conception?

Not God, of course, because he has no beginning. Not an angel, created directly out of nothing. Not Adam, formed out of the dust of the earth (Gen. 2,7). Not Eve, molded from Adam’s rib (Gen. 2,21). Not the Incarnate Word, who exists before all ages, and of whom we should use the word “conceived” rather than “conception”. Humans do not exist before their conception, so we might call them created “conceptions.” But you, O Mary, are different from all other children of Eve. They are conceptions stained by original sin; whereas you are the unique, Immaculate Conception.[15]

With these words, St. Maximilian revealed the consoling truth that in 1858 at Lourdes the Immaculate Conception, our Blessed Mother, gave the lie to the diabolical deception of human evolution on the very eve of the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species. Indeed, if theistic evolution is true, then Adam and Eve must have been conceived in the womb of a sub-human primate. And since theistic evolutionists must believe in the dogma of Original Sin as defined at the Council of Trent, they must hold that Adam and Eve were “conceived without sin.” Therefore, if theistic evolution were true, the Blessed Mother would have had to say, “I am AN Immaculate Conception,” or “I am Immaculate Conception Number Three.” But She did not say that—because, as St. Maximilian explained in the passage quoted above, Adam and Eve were created, not conceived.

If St. Maximilian Kolbe had been allowed more time to ponder the mystery of the Immaculate Conception, we have no doubt that his meditation would have led him to the further realization that the long ages of progressive creation, with its conflation of the order of creation with the order of providence, cannot be harmonized with the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, rightly understood. We say this for several reasons. In the first place, it is important to recognize the profound connection that the Fathers and Doctors of the Church made between the first created world and the Immaculate Conception. St. Bridget of Sweden, Doctor of the Church, beautifully illuminates this connection in the office that the Bridgettine Sisters have prayed for more than six hundred years and which they pray to this day:

God’s creation of the world and all it contains
took place in the instant of His Will’s expression;
and with that design and perfection foreseen by Him.

Yet there remained still uncreated another work of creation which would surpass what He had already done . . . Mary, we may see in God’s act of creation . . . an image of your creating.[16]

With these words, St. Bridget acknowledged that the only thing more beautiful, more perfect, than the first created world is the Blessed Virgin Mary herself. In light of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, this insight underscores the impossibility of death, deformity, disease, or other natural defects, like harmful genetic mutations, in the first created world before the Original Sin, because the existence of these natural evils in the first created world would render it incapable of serving as a type of the Immaculate Conception. Yet progressive creationists, like Fr. Robinson, teach that God intervened to create the different kinds of plants and animals in a world that he himself (the god of evolution or progressive creation) filled for hundreds of millions of years with death, deformity, extinctions, and disease.

The collapse of Big Bang cosmology and its fantastic and evidence-less conjectures regarding the formation of stars and galaxies, the undisputed reality of genetic entropy within the biosphere, and the overwhelming evidence for the centrality of the Earth in relation to the rest of the universe, would only have confirmed for St. Maximilian the first perfection of the first created world as an essential element of its character as a type and foreshadowing of the Immaculate Conception. Indeed, in light of these considerations, the founder of the Militia Immaculatae who was always quick to defend the immaculacy of the Blessed Virgin against the slightest slander would have been the first to insist on the completeness of the universe at its first founding, meaning that all of the different kinds of creatures, each one perfect according to its nature, necessarily existed together at the same time, with man, and for man, in perfect harmony at the beginning of creation. As St. Maximilian observed in one of his articles:

The manifestation of God’s perfections is the end of all creation.[17]

By accepting the Lyellian-Darwinian uniformitarian chronology of Earth’s history, Fr. Robinson must hold that most of the phyla created by God since the beginning of the world had died out by the time God created Adam and Eve. But this contradicts St. Maximilian’s vision of the centrality of man in God’s plan of creation and his conviction that all of the different kinds of creatures were created for man—not just in view of man’s future appearance on Earth after hundreds of millions of years. Hence, he wrote:

For me You created the heavens adorned with constellations of stars, for me the earth, the seas, the mountains, the rivers, and the many, many beautiful things here on earth . . .[18]

In light of the fact that the diseased, deformed, and defective creatures contained in the fossil record cannot reflect God’s perfections as completely as the first of each kind of creature that God created in the beginning of time, progressive creation appears to be quite incompatible with St. Maximilian’s understanding of the purpose of creation as “the manifestation of God’s perfections” in which every kind of creature was created specifically for man. Indeed, contemplating the current state of the scientific evidence in the light of the Immaculate Conception, it is safe to say that no one would have been quicker than St. Maximilian Kolbe to acknowledge the absurdity of attributing natural evils to the universe before the Original Sin, as all progressive creationists and theistic evolutionists do.

St. Maximilian Kolbe and the Curse of Copernicus

In his book The Realist Guide, and in his critique of the Kolbe Center, Fr. Robinson argues—against our position—that the Church “accepts that the Bible does not teach geocentrism”:

the Catholic Church allows arguments of human reason to sway her interpretation of the Bible. The reason for this is that she jealously defends both faith and reason. And so, once there was solid empirical evidence that geocentrism was false—the most solid evidence did not come until the 19th century, long after the Galileo case—the Church was quite happy to accept that the Bible does not teach geocentrism, the conclusion that Galileo had wanted to force on the Church prematurely.

In light of Fr. Robinson’s exaltation of fallible human reason above the literal and obvious sense of Scripture as understood by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, it is interesting that St. Maximilian Kolbe describes the sin of Eve in Paradise as one in which she exalted reason above God’s revelation. He writes:

In the Garden of Eden Satan . . . manages to persuade the woman [Eve] to oppose the will of God and to seek perfection not in submission to God’s intentions, but in following one’s reason.[19]

We have seen that, according to St. Thomas and all of the Fathers and Doctors, the supernatural fiat creation of the heavens and the earth and all they contain at the beginning of time cannot be a proper subject for natural scientists, since the natural order only began to operate with relative autonomy once the work of creation was finished on the seventh day. On the other hand, the relationship between the Earth and the Sun and the rest of the Solar System pertains to the natural order of the universe and falls within the proper domain of the natural scientist. This is an important distinction because it reminds us that we can only know how and over what period of time God created all things by supernatural faith and not by extrapolation from the natural order in which we live. And this knowledge of the way in which (and when) God created all things is certain knowledge precisely because it has been given to us by Divine Revelation.

Our knowledge of the relationship between the Earth and the rest of the solar system is in one respect different and in another respect similar to our knowledge of the how and when of creation. It is different in the sense that the relationship between the Earth and the rest of the solar system can be observed and is thus part of the natural order and, hence, falls within the proper sphere of the natural scientist. On the other hand, since all that a natural scientist can detect from within the universe is relative motion, only someone with a vantage point outside of the universe—a divine vantage point—can actually determine what is moving and what is at rest within the universe. That is why, even though the Earth-Sun relationship falls within the legitimate sphere of the natural scientist, at the end of the day human beings need a revelation from God to know that the Earth is at rest at (or near) the center of the universe.

Growing up in Poland, St. Maximilian Kolbe could not help being caught up in the cult of Copernicus as a national icon. However, anyone who examines the life of Copernicus will soon discover how little he did to demonstrate the superiority of his model of the solar system to the Ptolemaic system. The greatest astronomer of his age was Tycho Brahe, but Tycho never embraced the Copernican model. Instead, he developed the model named after him—the same model of the universe that God showed to St. Hildegard of Bingen, Doctor of the Church, in the 12th century—a model which placed the Earth motionless at the center of the universe, while the planets revolved around the Sun, and the Sun and the stars revolved around the Earth.

Since Robert Sungenis has just completed a 575-page refutation of Fr. Robinson’s A Realist Guide, with Robert’s permission, I will allow him to conclude this response to Fr. Robinson’s critique of the Kolbe Center by explaining why Fr. Robinson’s arguments for heliocentrism are incoherent and why the burden of proof in regard to the Earth-Sun relationship remains where it has always been—on anyone who would challenge the literal and obvious sense of Sacred Scripture when it states that “the Earth” was “made firm, not to be moved.”

Farewell to Apologetic Apologetics

Since almost everyone has accepted as a fait accompli the heliocentric system as being the true operating model of cosmology, almost every apologetic issued from either the Catholic hierarchy or its lay scholars in the last hundred years has, in one form or another, been for the sole purpose of finding some rationale why previous popes and their heads of doctrine, if led by the Holy Spirit away from all error, could condemn heliocentrism if it was the true system.

But this type of apologetic has had severe problems from the start. To be Catholic has always meant that what was formally decreed in the past remains formally decreed in the present, since, at the highest levels, the Church, as promised by Christ, will be without error in its doctrinal teaching. As it stands, today’s Catholic must accept that the officials who issued our historic decrees, even those issued in 1616 and 1633 against Galileo, did so under the aegis of the Holy Spirit, Who cannot lie. Even for decrees issued on lower levels of authority, unless a higher authoritative decree modified it, it has been commonly understood that a Catholic was bound to give his full allegiance to the former.

Hence the dilemma for the contemporary Catholic apologist is:

a. if the Holy Spirit was guiding the Church into all truth in the Galileo affair, and
b. if the Earth revolves around the sun,

…then how could the Church have been led to make such a serious blunder, especially since the Church specifically stated in 1616 and 1633 that geocentric doctrine, because it came from divine revelation, was a “matter of faith”[20] and opposition to the Church’s decision constituted “formal heresy”?[21] Catholic apologists have agonized over this question for centuries. Unfortunately, almost all of them have tried to answer the dilemma by denying (a) and accepting (b). As even the secular historian Feyerabend surmises:

It is a pity that the Church of today, frightened by the universal noise made by the scientific wolves, prefers to howl with them instead of trying to teach them some manners.[22]

The Church at the time of Galileo not only kept closer to reason as defined then and, in part, even now; it also considered the ethical and social consequences of Galileo’s views. Its indictment of Galileo was rational and only opportunism and a lack of perspective can demand a revision”[23]

Under the strain of appearing entrenched in an archaic medieval mentality and obtuse to the modern world, it was only a matter of time before the Catholic Church would re-address the Galileo affair in hopes of reconciling what were presumed to be the facts of science with the Church’s official declarations about the truths of Scripture. Up to this time, no pope or council had even uttered the word “Galileo.” The first to break the taboo was Paul VI in a passing reference to Galileo (along with Michelangelo and Dante) in a June 10, 1965 speech at Pisa.

Twenty-five years later, Cardinal Ratzinger, then Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was having second thoughts on the Galileo issue—serious second thoughts. His rethinking of the Galileo issue came out in a 1990 speech he gave in Parma, Italy, that had all the earmarks of trying to exonerate the Church and reverse course. Instead of seeing a crisis in the Church over Galileo, the title of his speech was, The Crisis of Faith in Science, thus pointing the finger directly at science. As Paul Feyerabend introduces Ratzinger’s speech:

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who holds a position similar to that once held by Bellarmine, formulated the problem in a way that would make a revision of the judgement [against Galileo] anachronistic and pointless. Cf. his talk in Parma of 15 March 1990.[24]

As Ratzinger saw the situation now, it was completely different than it was in 1962 under the ‘Galileo mentality’ of the Vatican II prelature:

Today, things have changed. According to Bloch, the heliocentric system—just like the geocentric—is based upon presuppositions that can’t be empirically demonstrated. Among these, an important role is played by the affirmation of the existence of an absolute space; that’s an opinion that, in any event, has been cancelled by the Theory of Relativity. Bloch writes, in his own words: “From the moment that, with the abolition of the presupposition of an empty and immobile space, movement is no longer produced towards something, but there’s only a relative movement of bodies among themselves, and therefore the measurement of that [movement] depends to a great extent on the choice of a body to serve as a point of reference, in this case is it not merely the complexity of calculations that renders the [geocentric] hypothesis impractical? Then as now, one can suppose the earth to be fixed and the sun as mobile.”[25]

Ratzinger’s reasoning follows what most in science know today as the “general principle of relativity,” an offshoot of the former “Galilean relativity,” but which now applies to dynamics (gravity and inertial forces) instead of merely geometrics (Ptolemaic v. Copernican v. Tychonic kinematics). Ratzinger’s mention of the “presuppositions” of the heliocentric system refers, in the first place, to Isaac Newton’s presupposing the universe is “absolute,” that is, always the same, infinite and non-moving, and consequently, static and inert with regard to any effects on our solar system. If the universe was motionless and uninvolved in the mechanics of our solar system, consequently only the dynamic forces contained within the solar system could be employed to determine what body revolved around another. In that confined system, the Earth, being smaller than the sun, would necessarily revolve around the sun, according to Newton’s gravitational equation F = GM1m2/r2 and the force equation F = ma.[26] Since at this stage in history no one knew if or how the rest of the universe might affect our solar system, Newton’s “presupposition” that it was absolute and inert was taken as fact, at least for the next two hundred years until the arrival of Ernst Mach in the late 1800s and Einstein in the early 1900s.

On a lesser level, an absolute universe allowed Newton to define a straight line—a most vital component of his “laws of motion” outlined in his 1687 book, Principia Mathematica. A line could only be straight if the space within which it was drawn or travelling was absolute and did not curve or move. Accordingly, in positing the smaller body had to revolve around the larger, Newton said this difference occurred because the greater gravity of the larger body would pull on the smaller body, and the smaller body would resist, at least partially, by seeking to move away in a straight line, which resistance he called “inertia.” The result of the two vectors (i.e., gravity and inertia) would produce a curved path for the smaller body around the larger (although, more technically, both bodies moved around their mutual center of mass, but since the center of mass was very much closer to the sun, the result is the Earth revolving in a slight elliptical orbit around the sun). As Newton summed it up:

Thence indeed the Copernican system is proved a priori. For if a common center of gravity is computed for any position of the planets, it either lies in the body of the Sun or will always be very near it.[27]

This little system seemed to work quite well and it seemed safe to assume that the universe and its stars had little to say about the solar system’s mechanics. As long as the universe is not included, Newton’s local laws of motion still work today, at least within a comfortable margin of error.

But then doubts about the validity of Newton’s “presupposition” began to haunt modern physics. Was Newton allowed to assume the universe was “absolute” and inert in regard to our solar system? What “law” said it had to be absolute? And what about this mysterious thing called “inertia” that supposedly makes a body move in a straight line? What is it, and where does it come from? Moreover, if space were not absolute but either moved or was curved, could we really say that a body in motion moves in a straight line? And what about all those stars in the universe? If our sun has gravity and pulls the Earth, would not trillions of stars and galaxies (which we were now able to see by powerful telescopes in the 1900s) have proportionately more gravity than our small sun and thus have some effect on our solar system?

All of these questions began to surface by the time of Ernst Mach and Albert Einstein. As Ratzinger himself notes: “…an absolute space; that’s an opinion that, in any event, has been cancelled by the Theory of Relativity.” This is a very profound statement, especially coming from the Catholic Church’s prefect of doctrine. If Newton’s “absolute space” has been falsified, that means Newton’s whole system of mechanics has been upset, since all of it depended on space being absolute. This also means that the gravitational equation F = GM1m2/r2 and the force equation F = ma, since they are also dependent on there being an absolute space from which to measure both the forces and straight lines, are either in error or woefully incomplete.

Ernst Mach was the first to discover this conundrum of Newtonian theory. In brief, he said Newton had no right to assume the universe was absolute. Mach began from his insight into the tremendous effect the gravity of all the universe’s stars should have on our solar system. Whatever their combined force—even if it was neutral at the center—Mach said it was like a web surrounding our solar system such that “inertia” was the result of a body trying to move through the web. Essentially, the gravity web of the stars would prohibit a body from accelerating (i.e., prohibit it from gaining more speed than it already had). This was the beginning of the ‘general principle of relativity’ in which no body in the universe can be considered isolated from any other body but all move relative to each other, dynamically and kinematically. Whatever moved locally (e.g. the Earth around the sun; Jupiter’s moons around Jupiter) was also moving in relation to the rest of the universe.

In the final analysis, Mach came to two vital conclusions. The first dealt with the geometrics of the universe; the second with the dynamics:

Obviously it matters little if we think of the Earth as turning about on its axis, or if we view it at rest while the fixed stars revolve around it. Geometrically these are exactly the same case of a relative rotation of the Earth and the fixed stars with respect to one another.[28]

All masses, all velocities, thus all forces are relative. There is no basis for us to decide between relative and absolute motion….If there are still modern authors who, through the Newtonian water bucket arguments, allow themselves to be misled into differentiating between relative and absolute motion, they fail to take into account that the world system has been given to us only once, but the Ptolemaic and Copernican views are only our interpretations, but both equally true.[29]

Although in this treatise Mach does not himself adopt geocentrism, he repeatedly challenges modern science that geocentrism is not only a viable alternative, but it substantially answers the famous 1887 Michelson-Morley experiment—the experiment that forced a choice between a stationary Earth and the Special Theory of Relativity. Albert Michelson, having already been confronted by the 1871 experiment of George Biddell Airy that suggested the Earth was not moving in space, based his 1881 and 1887 experiments on the fact that if the Earth were moving around the sun, then a light beam discharged in the direction of the presumed revolution would necessarily experience resistance from the substance of space, which at that time everyone from Maxwell to Hertz understood as “ether” and which was the basis for both their electromagnetic equations. To his surprise, Michelson did not measure any appreciable resistance on the light beam.[30] If there was no resistance, then a possible interpretation is that the Earth is not revolving around the sun. But since Einstein and the rest of the world were now 400-years deep into Copernicanism, he was more or less forced to interpret Michelson’s results to mean there was no ether to create a resistance; and if there is no resistance, then light speed must be constant, both of which became the basis of his 1905 theory of Special Relativity.[31]

But thirty-eight years later (1925), Michelson did another experiment, but this time he sought to measure the Earth’s rotation rate instead of its revolution around the sun. He used the same scientific principle, namely, that a light beam going through ether should experience resistance against the direction of the Earth’s movement. Michelson could do so because he never accepted Einstein’s postulates nor that ether was non-existent. To his total surprise, and in total contrast to the 1887 results (which were null for a revolving Earth), this time, when measuring for a daily rotation, Michelson found his results were accurate to within 98%, thus confirming the presence of ether as well as a daily rotation, not to mention an apparent nullification of Special Relativity’s insistence on no ether and a constant speed of light.[32]

Using Mach’s relativistic terminology, the 1925 experiment thus confirmed, in terms of relative motion, that either the Earth was daily rotating in a fixed universe or the universe was rotating around a fixed Earth. It also revealed that although the empirical evidence from Michelson’s two interferometers (which was based on the same principle of light interference with ether), showed a relative daily rotation in 1925, it did not show an annual revolution of the Earth around the sun in 1887. The consequences of these two facts were not good for Copernicans. Since heliocentrism requires both an annual revolution and a daily rotation of the Earth; but geocentrism requires only a daily rotation of the universe around a fixed Earth, obviously Michelson’s experiments lent themselves to confirming the geocentric system and nullifying the heliocentric.

Not surprisingly, there is no admission of this fact in the physics literature. Those promoting Einstein excused themselves from Michelson’s 1925 results by claiming Special Relativity does not deal with non-inertial or accelerating frames (a rotating frame). But this excuse exposed the fact that Special Relativity was formerly used to explain Michelson’s 1887 experiment, even though a revolving Earth around the sun is also a non-inertial frame. In this case, what is good for the goose should also be good for the gander. But if Special Relativity was surrendered in the 1887 case, modern science would have no answer to Michelson’s experiment and the only option left would be a non-moving Earth—something no one was ready to accept, which allowed Special Relativity to remain king.

As for General Relativity, although it allows for the non-inertial rotational frame used in the 1925 experiment and does so by using multi-dimensional complex tensors in space-time and non-Euclidean geodesics, it wasn’t much of a physical explanation of the results as it was a mathematical one; and in any case, Occam’s razor favors the much simpler explanation, namely, that ether caused the speed of the light beam to change. But at this time in history, Copernicanism ruled with an iron hand and not even empirical evidence to the contrary would convince anyone the Earth was fixed in space, neither revolving nor rotating.[33] As Feyerabend notes:

…the idea of free and independent research is a chimera….we have seen that even the liberal climate of the modern age has not prevented scientists from demanding the same kind of authority which Bellarmino possessed as a matter of course but exercised with much greater wisdom and grace.[34]

In retrospect, after Mach turned the world upside down, both literally and figuratively, Einstein took it to the next step, but he knew there was no way to avoid Mach’s reasoning. If the universe is not absolute, that means it can move; and if it moves, it can rotate; and if it rotates it will do so around a fixed Earth. After all, this duality is precisely the nature of “relativity.” Hence we have either a rotating Earth in a fixed universe (ala Newton) or we must also allow a rotating universe around a fixed Earth (ala Mach, Einstein). The problem with relativity, of course, is that it can’t tell us which one is the reality, only that both systems can work by the laws of physics now known. But at least everyone agreed it was wrong for Newton to assume the universe was absolute and fixed, since his system would not allow the universe to rotate around a fixed Earth—in defiance of the laws of relativity. As such, Einstein said Newton’s system had a “defect.” This defect was spelled out in one of his most famous paragraphs on his theory of General Relativity:

Let K [the universe] be a Galilean-Newtonian coordinate system [a system of three dimensions extending to the edge of the universe], and let K’ [the Earth] be a coordinate system rotating uniformly relative to K [the universe]. Then centrifugal forces would be in effect for masses at rest in the K’ coordinate system [the Earth], while no such forces would be present for objects at rest in K [the universe]. Already Newton viewed this as proof that the rotation of K’ [the Earth] had to be considered as “absolute,” and that K’ [the Earth] could not then be treated as the “resting” frame of K [the universe]. Yet, as E. Mach has shown, this argument is not sound. One need not view the existence of such centrifugal forces as originating from the motion of K’ [the Earth]; one could just as well account for them as resulting from the average rotational effect of distant, detectable masses as evidenced in the vicinity of K’ [the Earth], whereby K’ [the Earth] is treated as being at rest. If Newtonian mechanics disallow such a view, then this could very well be the foundation for the defects of that theory[35]

Cardinal Bellarmine, more or less, used the same “relative motion” argument against Fr. Foscarini in 1615:

You might tell me that Solomon spoke according to appearances, since it appears to us that the sun revolves when the earth turns, just as it appears to one on a ship who departs from the shore that the shore departs from the ship.[36]

We see that even at this early time, the “relative motion” argument was in vogue, although neither side knew that relative motion incorporated dynamic forces. They only knew the geometry of relative motion.

Einstein mentions at least one of the dynamic forces as he notes “the existence of such centrifugal forces” in the previous paragraph. In another place, he mentions the Coriolis force in a June 25, 1913 letter to Ernst Mach:

Your happy investigations on the foundations of mechanics, Planck’s unjustified criticism notwithstanding, will receive brilliant confirmation. For it necessarily turns out that inertia originates in a kind of interaction between bodies, quite in the sense of your considerations on Newton’s pail experiment. The first consequence is on p. 6 of my paper. The following additional points emerge: (1) If one accelerates a heavy shell of matter S, then a mass enclosed by that shell experiences an accelerative force. (2) If one rotates the shell relative to the fixed stars about an axis going through its center, a Coriolis force arises in the interior of the shell, that is, the plane of a Foucault pendulum is dragged around.[37]

What Einstein is saying is there are two basic forces generated from the angular momentum of a rotating universe, the centrifugal and the Coriolis forces. These two forces, in combination, will cause all the celestial bodies to revolve daily around the universe’s central axis. Although the centrifugal force makes the celestial bodies move outward, the Coriolis force, registering twice the power of the centrifugal, forces the bodies inward, and the result of the two unequal vectors will be a net centripetal force making all the celestial bodies circle the universe’s center of mass at their respective declinations and ascensions.[38] Moreover, a fixed Earth will necessarily share the same center of mass with the universe, and viola! we have Einstein’s alternative universe that is demanded by his General Relativity theory.

The problem with the Newtonians, however, was that they could not engage in a “relative motion” argument, since they had to insist on an absolute universe if their equations (F = GM1m2/r2 and F = ma) were going to pan out. But insisting on an absolute universe as the reality still meant they were required to answer how their equations would fit into a non-absolute world. After all, we see rotations and accelerations almost everywhere we look. What the Newtonians found was that if the system under observation is accelerating (i.e., rotating), the only way Newtonian mechanics could account for the acceleration was by mathematically adding in, by hand, the centrifugal and Coriolis forces. Modern science still does the same today when they send space probes to the planets. F = ma won’t work unless they add in the inertial forces.[39] The equation then becomes F = ma + centrifugal + Coriolis forces. This situation, again, tells us there is a defect in the Newtonian system. If the system claims it is comprehensive and is taking everything into account, then it shouldn’t need to add in foreign figures its original equations don’t include.

To be fair to Newton, he did at one point consider the viability of a system in which the Earth could be fixed and the sun and planets revolve around it. Newton said such a situation would require an “external force” outside the solar system that would offset the gravity of the sun. He writes:

In order for the Earth to be at rest in the center of the system of the Sun, Planets, and Comets, there is required both universal gravity and another force in addition that acts on all bodies equally according to the quantity of matter in each of them and is equal and opposite to the accelerative gravity with which the Earth tends to the Sun. For, such a force, acting on all bodies equally and along parallel lines, does not change their position among themselves, and permits bodies to move among themselves through the force of universal gravity in the same way as if it were not acting on them. Since this force is equal and opposite to its gravity toward the Sun, the Earth can truly remain in equilibrium between these two forces and be at rest. And thus celestial bodies can move around the Earth at rest, as in the Tychonic system.[40]

At that time, and in the face of his insistence on an “absolute” universe, this was the best Newton could do. Hence it would never click in his mind that the very forces he relegated as “fictitious” (i.e., centrifugal, Coriolis) would become the very forces that are the essence of his “another force in addition” to gravity that would allow a Tychonic Earth-centered system.

Now that we know the science and its development from Newton to Einstein, we can sympathize with Cardinal Bellarmine in how he determined to deal with the Galileo affair. Since, as we noted, Bellarmine was aware of the “relative motion” argument and, unlike Newton and like Einstein, did not insist on an absolute universe but considered both a universe rotating around a fixed Earth and an Earth rotating within a fixed universe, how was he to choose between the two “relative” possibilities? There was only one solution. Hence Bellarmine would answer today as he did to Fr. Foscarini on April 12, 1615:

Second, I say that, as you know, the Council [of Trent] has prohibited interpretation of Scripture contrary to the common agreement of the Holy Fathers.[41] And if Your Reverence will read not only the Holy Fathers but also the modern commentaries on Genesis, the Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Joshua, you will find that they all agree on the literal interpretation that the sun is in heaven and rotates around the earth with great speed, and that the earth is very far from the heavens and stands immobile in the center of the world.[42] Ask yourself then how could the Church, in its prudence, support an interpretation of Scripture which is contrary to all the Holy Fathers and to all the Greek and Latin commentators. Nor can one reply that this is not a matter of faith, because even if it is not a matter of faith because of the subject matter [ex parte objecti], it is still a matter of faith because of the speaker [ex parte decentis].[43] Thus anyone who would say that Abraham did not have two sons and Jacob twelve would be just as much of a heretic as someone who would say that Christ was not born of a virgin, for the Holy Spirit has said both of these things through the mouths of the Prophets and the Apostles.[44]

Reading between Bellarmine’s lines, Cardinal Ratzinger, as Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was saying the same to the people of Parma in 1990 that the Cardinal Inquisitor, Robert Bellarmine, said to his in 1615. By the “Theory of Relativity,” as Ratzinger put it, Newton’s system was abolished and with it his Copernican universe so that he could thus conclude, “Then as now, one can suppose the earth to be fixed and the sun as mobile.” Ratzinger’s use of “Then” refers to the debate between Bellarmine and Galileo. Bellarmine knew instinctively the “relativity” issue would never allow Galileo to have proof of a moving Earth, and he also knew that “relativity” had no power over the consensual testimony of Catholic history. In the end, “relativity” was just an illusion, since everyone knew only one system could be the true system, which made the other merely an imposter who preyed on “relativity” to give it equal say.

Unfortunately, although Ratzinger had his eureka moment, the people of Parma were not ready to have theirs. Three hundred and fifty years of the same Galileo drumbeat deterred them from entertaining any other theory than the Copernican and thus no amount of pleading could win them over. Ratzinger was literally run out of town and told never to come back to Parma, which he did, in fact, try as Pope Benedict XVI but was rebuffed.

The 1992 Papal Speech on Galileo

Two years later, John Paul II gave his “apologetic” speech to the Pontifical Academy of Science in 1992, an attempt to mollify the Galileo problem that had hampered the Church for the last four centuries. Here a new twist in Galileo apologetics made its first appearance. The speech tried to lay the blame for the controversy on “the error of the theologians” in Galileo’s day. This was a subtle yet obvious attempt to insulate the 17th century popes and their Holy Office’s from blame. Five times the 1992 papal speech refers to these unidentified “theologians” as the cause for the controversy, pretending as if there was a stark difference between what the “theologians” were teaching in the 1600s and what the magisterium believed and defended. As Fr. Coyne puts it:

The “theologians” in both discourses are unidentified and unidentifiable. There is no mention of the Congregation of the Holy Office, of the Roman Inquisition or of the Congregation of the Index, nor of an injunction given to Galileo in 1616 nor of the abjuration required of him in 1633 by official organs of the Church. Nor is mention made of Paul V or Urban VIII, the ones ultimately responsible for the activities of those official institutions.[45]

For example, in 1633 Galileo was told directly by Pope Urban VIII that his idea the Earth moved around the sun was, “an absurd proposition and false in philosophy and formally heretical,” to the point that he sought the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo Medici II, to help him silence Galileo a year before Galileo’s trial. After the trial, Urban sent letters to all the papal nuncios and universities of Europe requiring their acquiescence to the Vatican’s decree against Galileo. Over a period of six months, an intense correspondence took place between Urban VIII and the ambassador to the Duke of Tuscany, Francesco Niccolini. In it Urban details his outright rejection of Galileo’s “assault on Holy Scripture, religion, and Faith,” wherein Urban implored the Grand Duke to help in “shielding Catholicism from any danger” because “this work of his is indeed pernicious, and the matter more serious than his Highness thinks.”[46]

Similarly, in 1616, the name of Pope Paul V was attached to the canonical injunction given to Galileo forbidding him to speak or write about Copernicanism for the rest of his life. His papal commission of eleven cardinals found heliocentrism “a proposition that was absurd in philosophy and formally heretical, which contradicts the express meaning of Sacred Scripture in many places.” As noted, seventeen years later the 1633 sentence against Galileo stated heliocentrism was: “è propositione assurda e falsa in filosofia, e formalmente heretica.[47] Every pope thereafter, including Alexander VII’s banning of Galileo’s book in his 1664 encyclical, Speculatores domas Israel, and barring one incident of clerical chicanery in 1820,[48] issued or accepted the same or similar requirements to the Church universal, and no pope ever made a formal and official reversal of the condemnation of either Copernicanism or Galileo. In light of this revealing history, it was rather unconscionable for the author of the 1992 papal speech to pass the buck off to unidentified “theologians” who supposedly imposed on the Church some unheard of hermeneutic of Scripture when, in fact, the same hermeneutic had been fostered by the Church Fathers and medievals in total consensus and made part of the Catechism of the Council of Trent in 1566—which defended geocentric doctrine in four places—just 50 years before Galileo was confronted by the Church.

The Manipulation of Vatican II’s Dei Verbum

Of course, much consideration must be given to the fact that the 1992 papal speech was written by Cardinal Paul Poupard of France, a progressive theologian from one of the most liberal schools in Europe. Accordingly, at one point the speech says,

The upset caused by the Copernican system thus demanded epistemological reflection on the biblical sciences, an effort which later would produce abundant fruit in modern exegetical works and which has found sanction and a new stimulus in the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum of the Second Vatican Council.[49]

That is, the modern prelature’s belief that the “Copernican system” had long ago been proven correct became the basis for the content, or at least the interpretation of the content, of the Vatican II document, Dei Verbum, which outlined Scripture’s authority regarding our knowledge of the world. What we now know, however, is that discrete wording had been surreptitiously placed into Dei Verbum that would seemingly allow the liberals to claim the right to reject not only Scripture’s testimony against the “Copernican system,” but to reject the tradition and the 1616-1633 magisterium’s decisions as well.[50]

As noted, in 1962 Ratzinger believed one of Vatican II’s presumed responsibilities was to correct the so-called “errors” of the traditional Church. One of the foremost “errors”—the only error that received special mention in his 2013 papal farewell speech—was the Church’s decision against Galileo. Since Fr. Joseph Ratzinger was present at the Council in 1962 and personally knew many of its major participants, his inside knowledge of what we can now call the “Galileo mentality” of Vatican II, must be taken as a reliable testimony. Due to his unique witness, it may be safe to conclude that if the prelature of 1962 had not concluded the Church of 1616 made an “error” in the Galileo case, perhaps Vatican Council II may never have happened. It is an interesting question to ponder. Whatever the case, there is no denying the gauntlet had been thrown down. Either the 1616 Church was in error for condemning Galileo or Vatican II’s liberal prelature was in error for thinking the medieval Church was in error.

Interestingly enough, when it came time for the Vatican II peretti to follow through with their plans to exonerate Galileo and apologize for the Church, the documents of Vatican II presented nothing. Apparently, those who had wished to exonerate Galileo were stymied. The only statement that even touched upon science was a short paragraph in Gaudium et spes saying this:

Consequently, we cannot but deplore certain habits of mind, which are sometimes found too among Christians, which do not sufficiently attend to the rightful independence of science and which, from the arguments and controversies they spark, lead many minds to conclude that faith and science are mutually opposed….The recent studies and findings of science, history and philosophy raise new questions which effect life and which demand new theological investigations.[51]

As it stands, it appears the Holy Spirit played His part in curtailing the Church from going down the wrong path. What Ratzinger realized in 1990, namely, there was no way the Church could exonerate Galileo due to modern science’s advocacy of the ‘general principle of relativity,’ would stand in the way of anyone who desired to reject Scripture’s, tradition’s and the magisterium’s testimony on geocentrism. But the damage had already been done. By inserting ambiguous phrases in Vatican II’s documents, the liberals were ready to challenge every traditional interpretation that had been given to Scripture up to that time, and they would continue to use Galileo as their Poster Boy in the remainder of the twentieth century and beyond.

Adding to these breeches of protocol, six years later (1996) John Paul II made his infamous statement concerning the modern belief in evolution as being “more than a hypothesis.” At this point, popular science was not only in charge, they seemed to have put another nail into the Church’s coffin.

The upshot of this ecclesiastical history is to show that in the liberal revolution spawned after Vatican II, the presumed “defect” of the Church in its handling of the Galileo affair 350 years earlier played a large part in how the prelature and the pope viewed the universal Church overall. It was no longer considered the invincible and impregnable fortress it was in the past. A chink in the armor had been found in the case of Galileo and it seemed at the time there was no way to repair it except to admit defeat, for everyone “knew” the Earth revolved around the sun.

In this light, Archbishop Lefebvre referred frequently to the liberal revolution against Scripture as well. For liberals, Scripture is no longer considered comprehensive in its authority. The liberal byword is that Scripture is only authoritative, if that, when it “speaks about salvation,” which is the bastardized interpretation they forced on the ambiguous phrase, “for the sake of our salvation” in paragraph 11 of Dei Verbum.[52] Lefebvre writes:

The Catholic liberals have undoubtedly established a revolutionary situation. Here is what we read in the book written by one of them, Monsignor Prelot a senator for the Doubs region of France. “We had struggled for a century and a half to bring our opinions to prevail within the Church and had not succeeded. Finally, there came Vatican II and we triumphed. From then on the propositions and principles of liberal catholicism have been definitively and officially accepted by Holy Church.”[53]

And the books of Holy Writ? For the modernists, they are “the record of experiences undergone in a given religion.” God speaks through these books, but He is the God who is within us. The books are inspired rather as one speaks of poetic inspiration; inspiration is likened to the urgent need felt by the believer to communicate his faith in writing. The Bible is human work.

In Pierres Vivantes the children are told that Genesis is “a poem” written once upon a time by believers who “had reflected”. This compilation, imposed on all catechism children by the French episcopate, exhales modernism on nearly every page.[54]

But do not imagine that…they have an unlimited respect for the inspired text. They even dispute that it is inspired in its entirety: “What is there in the Gospel which is inspired? Only the truths that are necessary for our salvation.” In consequence, the miracles, the accounts of the Holy Childhood, the actions and conduct of Our Lord are relegated to the category of more or less legendary biography. We fought in the Council over that phrase: “Only the truths necessary for salvation.” There were some bishops in favour of reducing the historical authenticity of the Gospels, which shows the extent to which the clergy is corrupted by neo-Modernism. Catholics should not allow themselves to be imposed upon: the whole of the Gospel is inspired and those who wrote it had the Holy Spirit guiding their intelligence, so that the whole of it is the Word of God, Verbum Dei. It is not permissible to pick and choose and to say today: “We will take this part but we don’t want that part.” To choose is to be a heretic, according to the Greek derivation of that word.[55]

Lefebvre also spoke about how the liberals disregarded the tradition and philosophy of historic Catholicism:

In this respect, the Modernists have got what they wanted and more. In what passes for seminaries, they teach anthropology, psychoanalysis and Marx in place of St. Thomas Aquinas. The principles of Thomist philosophy are rejected in favour of vague systems which themselves recognise their inability to explain the economy of the Universe, putting forward as they do the philosophy of the absurd. One latter-day revolutionary, a muddle-headed priest much heeded by intellectuals, who put sex at the heart of everything, was bold enough to declare at public meetings: “The scientific hypotheses of the ancients were pure nonsense and it is on such nonsense that St Thomas and Origen based their systems.” Immediately afterwards, he fell into the absurdity of defining life as “an evolutionary chain of biologically inexplicable facts.” How can he know that, if it is inexplicable? How, I would add, can a priest discard the only real explanation, which is God?[56]

But what is Tradition?….Tradition does not consist of the customs inherited from the past and preserved out of loyalty to the past even where there are no clear reasons for them. Tradition is defined as the Deposit of Faith transmitted by the Magisterium down through the centuries. This deposit is what has been given to us by Revelation; that is to say, the Word of God entrusted to the Apostles and transmitted unfailingly by their successors.

But now they want to get everyone inquiring, searching, as if we had not been given the Creed, or as if Our Lord had not come to bring us the Truth once and for all. What do they claim to discover with all this enquiry?

Catholics upon whom they would impose these “questionings,” after having made them “abandon their certainties,” should remember this: the deposit of Revelation concluded at the death of the last Apostle. It is finished and it cannot be touched until the end of time. Revelation is irreformable. The First Vatican Council restated this explicitly: “for the doctrine of faith which God has revealed has not been proposed, like a philosophical invention, to be perfected by human ingenuity; but has been delivered as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ (the Church) to be faithfully kept and infallibly declared….We cannot bring anything new into this field, we cannot add a single dogma, but only express those that exist ever more clearly, more beautifully and more loftily.” [57]

The argument that is pressed upon the terrorised faithful is this: “You are clinging to the past, you are being nostalgic; live in your own time!” Some are abashed and do not know what to reply. Nevertheless, the answer is easy: In this there is no past or present or future. Truth belongs to all times, it is eternal.

In order to break down Tradition they confront it with Holy Scripture, after the manner of the [liberal] Protestants, with the assertion the Gospel is the only book that counts. But Tradition came before the Gospel![58]

All the Dogmatic Councils have given us the exact expression of Tradition, the exact expression of what the Apostles taught. Tradition is irreformable. One can never change the decrees of the Council of Trent, because they are infallible, written and published by an official act of the Church, unlike those of Vatican II, which pronouncements are not infallible because the popes did not wish to commit their infallibility. Therefore nobody can say to you, “You are clinging to the past, you have stayed with the Council of Trent.” For the Council of Trent is not the past! Tradition is clothed with a timeless character, adapted to all times and all places.[59]

The liberal Catholic is two-sided; he is in a state of continual contradiction. He would like to remain a Catholic but he is possessed by a desire to please the world.[60]

Do not let yourself be taken in, dear readers, by the term “traditionalist” which they would have people understand in a bad sense. In a way, it is a pleonasm because I cannot see who can be a Catholic without being a traditionalist.[61]

It is my contention that Fr. Robinson, insofar as he represents the SSPX, has abandoned the aforementioned teachings on Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium that Archbishop Lefebvre left to the SSPX. As his book outlines, the escape route Fr. Robinson uses to make his departure from tradition is his “reason,” that is, he has reasoned—through what he understands to be the “truths” of science—that he cannot hold Scripture as an authority on science or history; nor can he accept the Fathers and their consensus on these issues; and he has the right, through the same reason, to ignore what the medieval Magisterium decreed on these same issues.


I hope that this response to Fr. Robinson will help him and his many followers to realize that their progressive creationist position is incoherent, and that the only coherent interpretation of Genesis 1-11 is the one adopted by all of the Fathers, Doctors, Popes and Council Fathers in their authoritative teaching—one that accepts the literal and obvious sense of all of the statements made by Moses in the “sacred history of Genesis” regarding the fiat creation of all things by God, for man, in the beginning of time, the cosmic catastrophe of the Fall, and the subsequent divine judgment upon the world at the time of the universal Flood. According to this authentic, traditional Catholic understanding of the sacred history of Genesis, the onus probandi, the “burden of proof,” remains on anyone who questions the literal and obvious sense of any of the historical statements made by Moses in Genesis 1-11, whether in regard to the timing of the creation period, the age of the universe, the position of the Earth in relation to the solar system, or anything else. The amazing reality is that at the dawn of the third millennium, there is more scientific evidence than ever before that confirms the literal truth of the sacred history of Genesis.[62] We hope that Fr. Robinson and his followers will acknowledge this and join us in seizing this heaven-sent opportunity to re-evangelize the whole world on the foundation of the Catholic doctrine of creation, the foundation of our Holy Catholic Faith.

Hugh Owen
Anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, October 13, 2018

References and notes

[1] Pope Leo XIII, Arcanum divinae, V.

[2] Lucretius, De rerum natura, Vol. L 181.

[3] St. Basil the Great, The Hexameron, Homily 1, NPNF II, vol. 8, p. 53.

[4] St. Augustine, City of God., 12:10.

[5] The Extant Fragments of the Five Books of the Chronography of Julius Africanus 3(1), On the mythical chronology of the Egyptians and Chaldeans, www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf06.v.v.i.html

[6] Theophilus of Antioch, Theophilus to Autolycus, Book III, Chapters XVI and XVII.

[7] Lactantius, The Divine Institutes 7:14, Of the first and last times of the world.

[8] St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Genesis, 10:7.

[9] St. Augustine, The City of God, (London, Penguin Books, 1984), p. 504.

[10] Great Books of the Western World, Robert Maynard Hutchins, Editor, Vol. 31, Descartes / Spinoza, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. Chicago, William Benton, Publisher, pp. 55-56.

[11] John Dewey, The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy and Other Essays (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 997), p. 8.

[12] Blaise Pascal, Pensees, 669, Sect. 4, No. 6.

[13] “The Council of Rimini was opened early in July, 359, with over four hundred bishops. About eighty Semi-Arians, including Ursacius, Germinius, and Auxentius, withdrew from the orthodox bishops, the most eminent of whom was Restitutus of Carthage; Liberius, Eusebius, Dionysius, and others were still in exile. The two parties sent separate deputations to the emperor, the orthodox asserting clearly their firm attachment to the faith of Nicaea, while the Arian minority adhered to the imperial formula. But the inexperienced representatives of the orthodox majority allowed themselves to be deceived, and not only entered into communion with the heretical delegates, but even subscribed, at, Nice in Thrace, a formula to the effect merely that the Son is like the Father according to the Scriptures (the words “in all things” being omitted). On their return to Rimini, they were met with the unanimous protests of their colleagues. But the threats of the consul Taurus, the remonstrances of the Semi-Arians against hindering peace between East and West for a word not contained in Scripture, their privations and their homesickness–all combined to weaken the constancy of the orthodox bishops. And the last twenty were induced to subscribe when Ursacius had an addition made to the formula of Nice, declaring that the Son is not a creature like other creatures. Pope Liberius, having regained his liberty, rejected this formula, which was thereupon repudiated by many who had signed it. In view of the hasty manner of its adoption and the lack of approbation by the Holy See, it could have no authority. In any case, the council was a sudden defeat of orthodoxy, and St. Jerome could say: ‘The whole world groaned in astonishment to find itself Arian” (Benigni, Umberto.”Council of Rimini.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 9 Oct. 2018 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13057b.htm>.)

[14] Vatican Council I, Faith and Reason, Canon 3. The First Nicene Council’s dogmatic definition of the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ was ultimately reaffirmed by the First Council of Constantinople in 381. Since the work of Vatican Council I was interrupted by Italian revolutionaries, it is to be expected that its work will be completed in the future era of peace promised by Our Lady of Fatima and that this will include a definitive reaffirmation of the traditional dogma of creation and anathemas against the principal deviations from that doctrine.

[15] St. Maximilian Kolbe, Sketch: Feb. 17, 1941.

[16] The modern English version of this office is read daily at Brigittine Syon Abbey in Devon. Latin and Swedish texts of the Brigittine Lessons are published in Den heliga Birgitta och den helige Petrus av Skanninge, Officium parvum beate Marie Virginis, ed. Tryggve Lunden (Lund, 1976), Acta Universatatis Upsalienisis: Studa Historico Ecclesiastica Upsaliensia 27-28; Latin Text, Sancta Birgitta, Opera Minora II: Sermo Angelicus (Revalationes XI), ed. Sten Eklund (Uppsala: Almquist and Wiksells, 1972); Middle English Text in the Myroure of oure Ladye, ed. John Henry Blunt (Early English Text Society, Extra Series, 29), Modern English Text in the Word of the Angel, trans. John Halborg (Peregrina Publishing) http://www.umilta.net/1syon.html

[17] The Writings of St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, Volume II, “Various Writings,” p. 2160.

[18] The Writings of St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, Volume II, “Various Writings,” p. 1998.

[19] Ibid., p. 2282.

[20] As Bellarmine put it: “In Scripture there are many things which of themselves do not pertain to the faith, that is, which were not written because it is necessary to believe them. But it is necessary to believe them because they were written, as is evident in all the histories of the Old Testament, in the many histories in the Gospel and in the Acts of the Apostles, in the greetings of Paul in his Epistles, and in other such things” (De controversiis, I, I, 4, 12, as found in Roberto Cardinal Bellarmino, S. J., Opera omnia, cited in Blackwell’s Galileo, Bellarmine and the Bible, p. 32).

[21] The 1633 sentence against Galileo stated heliocentrism was: “è propositione assurda e falsa in filosofia, e formalmente heretica” (“an absurd proposition and false in philosophy and formally heretical”) cited in Galileo E L’Inquisizione, Favaro, p. 143.

[22] Farewell to Reason, p. 260. He adds: “In 1982 Christian Thomas and I organized a seminar at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich with the purpose of discussing how the rise of the sciences had influenced the major religions and other traditional forms of thought. What surprised us was the fearful restraint with which Catholic and Protestant theologians treated the matter – there was no criticism either of particular scientific achievements or of the scientific ideology as a whole” (ibid).

[23] Ibid., p. 125.

[24] Against Method, 3rd edition, Verso, London, New York, 1975, 1996, p. 134.

[25] Speech given in Parma, Italy, March 15, 1990, titled: “The Crisis of Faith in Science,” partly reported in Il Sabato, March 31, 1990, pp. 80ff, and in the Corriere della Sera, March 30, 1990, and cited in 30 Days, January 1993, p. 34, and referenced also by Atila S. Guimarães in “The Swan Song of Galileo’s Myth,” published by Tradition in Action, nd.

[26] The equation, F = GM1m2/r2, says the Force of gravity equals the product of the gravitational constant multiplied by the larger mass and multiplied by the smaller mass, divided by the radius of the distance between the two masses, squared. The equation F = ma says the Force on an object equals the mass of the object multiplied by the object’s acceleration.

[27] Newton’s Copernican Scholium, December, 1684. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/newton-principia/

[28] Ernst Mach, Die Mechanik in Ihrer Entwicklung Historich-Kritisch Dargestellt, Liepzig: Brokhaus, 1883. English title: The Science of Mechanics: A Critical and Historical Account of its Development, translated by T. J. Macormack, La Salle, Open Court Publishing, 1960, 6th edition, p. 201. The seventh edition of Mach’s book was published in 1912.

[29] Ernst Mach, Die Mechanik in Ihrer Entwicklung Historich-Kritisch Dargestellt, Liepzig: Brokhaus, 1883, p. 222. The original German reads: “Alle Massen, alle Geschwindigkeiten, demnach alle Kräfte sind relativ. Es gibt keine Entscheidung über Relatives und Absolutes, welche wir treffen könnten, zu welcher wir gedrängt wären….Wenn noch immer moderne Autoren durch die Newtonschen, vom Wassergefäß hergenommenen Argumente sich verleiten lassen, zwischen relativer und absoluter Bewegung zu unterscheiden, so bedenken sie nicht, daß das Weltsystem uns nur einmal gegeben, die ptolemäische oder kopernikanische Auffassung aber unsere Interpretationen, aber beide gleich wirklich sind” (Translated by Mario Derksen).

[30] A. A. Michelson and E. W. Morley, “On the Relative Motion of the Earth and the Luminiferous Ether,” Art. xxxvi, The American Journal of Science, eds. James D and Edward S. Dana, No. 203, vol. xxxiv, November 1887. Various scientists and historians admitted what this meant: “The problem which now faced science was considerable. For there seemed to be only three alternatives. The first was that the Earth was standing still, which meant scuttling the whole Copernican theory and was unthinkable” (Einstein: The Life and Times, 1984, pp. 109-110); Even Michelson was astounded: “This conclusion directly contradicts the explanation of the phenomenon of aberration which has been hitherto generally accepted, and which presupposes that the Earth moves” (“The Relative Motion of the Earth and the Luminiferous Ether,” American Journal of Science, Vol. 22, August 1881, p. 125).

[31] Einstein gave a speech at Kyoto University, Japan, on Dec. 14 1922. In one part he stated: “Soon I came to the conclusion that our idea about the motion of the Earth with respect to the ether is incorrect, if we admit Michelson’s null result as a fact. This was the first path which led me to the special theory of relativity. Since then I have come to believe that the motion of the Earth cannot be detected by any optical experiment, though the Earth is revolving around the sun” (Yoshimasa A. Ono, Physics Today, 35 (8), 45 (1982)). We should add that “length contraction” (of Michelson’s apparatus) and “time dilation” became required artifacts of Special Relativity since a physical reason had to be given to explain why the motion of the Earth could not be detected.

[32] The New York Times, even though partial to Einstein, could not deny the results and thus described Michelson’s 1925 results as: “The register in the flight of these beams was an instrument known as the interferometer, which Professor Michelson has been perfecting for forty years. Through it was visible a white circle striped with vertical fine lines like hair drawn tightly across the face of an oval mirror. These were called interference fringes due to the fact that if the beams reached home at different times it would be recorded by a displacement of these lines. This displacement was shown in the experiment.” Despite the fact that a “displacement” or “ether drift” would immediately nullify Special Relativity, the Times sought to protect Einstein and thus stated in its headline the contradictory words: “Michelson Proves Einstein Theory: Experiments Conducted with 5200-Foot Vacuum Tube Show Light Displacement: Ether Drift Confirmed” (The New York Times, published January 9, 1925).

[33] For example: “There was only one other possible conclusion to draw – that the Earth was at rest. This, of course, was preposterous” (Bernard Jaffe, Michelson and the Speed of Light, p. 76); “In the effort to explain the Michelson-Morley experiment…the thought was advanced that the Earth might be stationary….Such an idea was not considered seriously, since it would mean in effect that our Earth occupied the omnipotent position in the universe, with all the other heavenly bodies paying homage by revolving around it” (Arthur S. Otis, Light Velocity and Relativity, p. 58).

[34] Farewell to Reason, p. 260.

[35] Quote taken from Hans Thirring’s, “Über die Wirkung rotierender ferner Massen in der Einsteinschen Gravitationstheorie,” Physikalische Zeitschrift 19, 33, 1918, translated: “On the Effect of Rotating Distant Masses in Einstein’s Theory of Gravitation.” Philosopher and scientist Bertrand Russell puts it this way: “Whether the Earth rotates once a day from west to east, as Copernicus taught, or the heavens revolve once a day from east to west, as his predecessors believed, the observable phenomena will be exactly the same. This shows a defect in Newtonian dynamics, since an empirical science ought not to contain a metaphysical assumption [an absolute universe], which can never be proved or disproved by observation” (Bertrand Russell, The ABC of Relativity, London, revised edition, editor Felix Pirani, 1958, pp. 13-14.)

[36] Antonio Favaro, Le Opere di Galileo Galilei, vol. 12, p. 172.

[37] Compiled by Friedrich Herneck in “Zum Briefwechsel Albert Einsteins mit Ernst Mach,” Forschungen und Fortschritte, 37:239-43, 1963. Facsimile of this June 25, 1913 hand-written letter of Einstein to Mach available in Gravitation, pp. 544-545.

[38] See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coriolis_force, “It is seen that the Coriolis acceleration not only cancels the centrifugal acceleration, but together they provide a net ‘centripetal,’ radially inward component of acceleration (that is, directed toward the center of rotation”). Download 08-26-2017.

[39] Per Wikipedia under “Coriolis force”: “As a result of this analysis an important point appears: all the fictitious accelerations must be included to obtain the correct trajectory. In particular, besides the Coriolis acceleration, the centrifugal force plays an essential role.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coriolis_force). Downloaded 08-26-2018.

[40] Proposition 43, Theorem 22, which was supposed to be the last page of his Principia Mathematica but for some unknown reason was not included in the final edit. My thanks to George E. Smith of Tufts University for the granting of his essay for my use, titled: Newtonian Relativity: A Neglected Manuscript, an Understressed Corollary, in email of August 8, 2015. Stephen Weinberg quotes Newton’s proposition from Smith with the comment: “If we were to adopt a frame of reference like Tycho’s in which the Earth is at rest, then the distant galaxies would seem to be executing circular turns once a year, and in general relativity this enormous motion would create forces akin to gravitation, which would act on the Sun and planets and give them the motions of the Tychonic theory. Newton seems to have had a hint of this. In an unpublished ‘Proposition 43’ that did not make it into the Principia, Newton acknowledges that Tycho’s theory could be true if some other force besides ordinary gravitation acted on the Sun and planets” (Steven Weinberg, To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science, Harper Collins, 2015, pp. 251-252).

[41] “…il Concilio prohibisce esporre le Scritture contra il commune consenso de’Santi Padri” (ibid., p. 172).

[42] “…trovarà che tutti convengono in esporre ad literam ch’il sole è nel cielo e sta nel centro del mondo, iimmobile” (ibid.).

[43] “Nè si può rispondere che questa non sia material di fede, perchè se non è material di fede ex parte obiecti, è material di fede ex parte decentis” (ibid.).

[44] Antonio Favaro, Le Opere di Galileo Galilei, vol. 12, p. 172.

[45] “The Church’s Most Recent Attempt to Dispell the Galileo Myth,” in The Church and Galileo, p. 354. Coyne’s reference to “both discourses” refers to Poupard’s “Address at the Conclusion of the Proceedings of the Pontifical Study Commission on the Ptolemaic-Copernican Controversy in the 16th and 17th Centuries,” Origins 22 (Nov. 12, 1992), pp. 370-375 in English, with the original in Après Galilée (Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 1994), pp. 93-97, and the actual address given by Pope John Paul II. Both speeches were given on October 31, 1992, with Poupard’s preceeding the Pope’s.

[46] Maurice Finocchiaro, The Galileo Affair, pp. 232, 235, 236, as recorded in Le Opere di Galileo Galilei, vol. 14, pp. 388-393.

[47] “an absurd proposition and false in philosophy and formally heretical,” cited in Galileo E L’Inquisizione, Favaro, p. 143.

[48] In 1821, Canon Guiseppi Settele was granted an imprimatur for his book on heliocentrism, after it was approved by Pius VII, albeit in a suspicious and circuitous manner. The only means of obtaining an imprimatur was through the “Master of the Sacred Palace,” who at that time was Fr. Filippo Anfossi and who previously declined the imprimatur to Settle based on the fact that heliocentrism had been formally condemned as heretical by the 1616 and 1633 magisteriums. The “clerical chicanery” occurred when Maurizio Olivieri, Commissioner of the Holy Office and self-professed heliocentrist seeking to advance his belief through Settele, told several falsehoods to Pius VII regarding why the 1616 and 1633 magisteriums had declared heliocentrism a heresy (e.g., the magisteriums condemned only Galileo’s version of heliocentrism, not heliocentrism itself, since Galileo did not have elliptical orbits of the planets). Pius VII, testified by many to being weak, sickly and apathetic after the sacking of the Vatican by Napoleon in 1809, as well as his five-year incarceration in Florence (1809-1814); in addition to the fact that Napoleon had confiscated all the Galileo records and put them in French libraries, left Pius VII without proper recourse to check Olivieri’s claim, which then led to his fateful decision regarding the imprimatur. Olivieri’s cohort was Cardinal Cappellari, who eventually became Gregory XVI and who took Galileo’s name off the Index of Forbidden Books in 1835, without so much as a comment. Imprimaturs, of course, cannot change Catholic doctrine, but the Settele incident nevertheless speaks well of the climate brewing in the Church.

[49] Paragraph 6.

[50] On October 13, 1962 Vatican II’s bishops met to vote on the schemas for the Council. The schemas are the directives on issues which the Council seeks to discuss. Three years had been devoted to preparing the schemas, only a half dozen in all. The schemas were approved by John XXIII and written in the traditionally accepted manner, with straight-forward declarations in anticipation of a corresponding canon. As it happened, a vote took place to determine the candidates who would head up the commissions concerning the handling of the Vatican II schemas. In violation of the procedural rules, Cardinal Achille Lienart, one of the German liberal prelates, seized the microphone and began reading a statement demanding consultation before any vote. Pope John XXIII then allowed a completely new slate of candidates and the vote was postponed. Throwing their weight around, the German members succeeded in packing the commissions with liberal candidates thus achieving majorities on all the key commissions. Not surprisingly, Vatican Council II’s original schemas were discarded. Thus, Lienart’s calculating disruption left the Council without written preparation. The dogmatic schemas were then replaced with pastoral formulations drafted by the very liberals who had previously been placed on Pius XII’s “List of Heterodox and Modernist Theologians,” such as Hans Kung, Edward Schillebeeckx, Karl Rahner, Yves Congar, Henry de Lubac and others. In place of the original half dozen schemas (which were to be discussed over only two or three sessions) the liberals produced documents at Vatican II that exceeded the length of other Councils by at least ten times and which took three years to amass. There was a method to the madness of the liberals, of course. The more verbiage in a document, the greater the chance for ambiguity and the greater the chance of sneaking one’s preferred view into the document. As for Dei Verbum 11, the last schema out of four contained the phrase “for the sake of our salvation,” which, although a lot less ambiguous than the previous three that were rejected in the voting, was eventually forced into ambiguity after Vatican II by liberals who wanted to teach Scripture was only inerrant in regards to issues of salvation, and not in history, science, chronology, genealogy, geography, etc. As such, the liberals inferred limited inerrancy from Dei Verbum 11 and produced many books explicating their view, such as, The Jerome Biblical Commentary (1968) and New Jerome Biblical Commentary (1990), the latter stating: “…of Dei Verbum….debates show an awareness of errors in the Bible. Thus…Scriptural teaching is truth without error to the extent that it conforms to the salvific purposes of God.” (p. 1169), editors Fr. Raymond Brown, Fr. Joseph Fitzmyer and Fr. Roland Murphy. Brown deceased in 1998, but probably remains one of the most influential liberal Catholic scholars of the past fifty years. In another work he states: “In the last hundred years we have moved from an understanding wherein inspiration guaranteed that the Bible was totally inerrant to an understanding wherein inerrancy is limited to the Bible’s teaching of ‘that truth which God wanted put into the sacred writing for the sake of our salvation’” (The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, Paulist Press, 1973, pp. 8-9). Not surprisingly, Fr. Brown not only calls into question the traditional reading of Genesis, but also raises doubts about the resurrection of Christ: (“Are we thereby perpetually committed to the notion held in times past of the biological how of that exaltation, namely a bodily resurrection?” ibid., p. 12); and infallibility: (“If biblical criticism has qualified the notion of the inerrancy of the Bible, does modern historical study imply that the Roman Catholic notion of the infallibility of Church teaching also has to be qualified?” ibid., p. 35); In fact, in his books and articles, Fr. Brown questions a majority of beliefs held as dogma in the Catholic Church, e.g., Mary’s Perpetual Virginity; the monarchial episcopate (i.e., papacy); the function and identity of apostles, bishops and priests; apostolic succession; the barring of women from ordination; the Eucharist as a sacrifice; the value and authority of Tradition, etc. See also John M. Wynne’s, The Catholic Teaching on Scriptural Inerrancy, 2016, pp. 55-88).

[51] Vatican II, Gaudium et spes ¶36 and ¶62. Leading up to Gaudium et spes, Fr. George Coyne states: “Several cultural and scientific associations (Pax Romana, Union des Scientifiques Français) and many individual scientists urged that there be a ‘solemn rehabilitation of Galileo.’ The efforts were in vain” (“The Church’s Most Recent Attempt to Dispel the Galileo Myth,” in The Church and Galileo, ed. Ernan McMullin, University of Notre Dame Press, p. 358).

[52] Dei Verbum 11 states: “The divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of sacred Scripture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For Holy Mother Church relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 20:31; 2Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:19-21; 3:15-16), they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself. To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while he employed them in this task, made full use of their powers and faculties so that, though he acted in them and by them, it was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written, and no more. Since, therefore, all that the inspired authors, or sacred writers, affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture, firmly, faithfully and without error, teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures. Thus ‘all Scripture is inspired by God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work’ (2 Tim. 3:16-17, Gk text).” (Flannery edition, pp. 756-757).

[53] Open Letter to Confused Catholics, p. 106.

[54] Ibid., pp. 126-128.

[55] Ibid., p. 132.

[56] Ibid., p. 130.

[57] Ibid., pp. 130-131.

[58] Ibid., p. 132.

[59] Ibid., p. 133.

[60] Ibid., p. 154.

[61] Ibid., p. 166.

[62] For a brief introduction to some of the compelling evidence from natural science that contradicts the long ages of progressive creation and theistic evolution but which harmonizes well with the literal and obvious sense of the sacred history of Genesis, see “If You Believed Moses, You Would Believe Me,” available on the Kolbe Center website as an e-book or in printed format.