De Novo Creation

Relative to “How Do Adam and Eve Fit With Evolution?” (In Depth, June 11 issue): Thanks very much to Stacy Trasancos for her excellent article. In that article, Trasancos states that we can be sure that God created our first parents, Adam and Eve, whether he did so using biology (zygotes growing in maternal bodies) or naked adults in the Garden (unique creations formed de novo, essentially out of nothing other than clay and a rib). I totally agree with that statement.

I would like to propose a theory that favors the de novo creation of Adam and Eve, and I think this theory will resonate with Catholics who believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. The theory is that, just as Jesus was incarnated in the virginal womb (purely an act of supernatural creation by God), so, too, were Adam and Eve created out of “nothing” (clay; a rib) within the Garden of Eden. Likewise, just as God selected one woman (the Virgin Mary) to give “birth” to Jesus, so too God selected one very special and supernatural place (the Garden of Eden) out of his entire early creation to give “birth” to Adam and Eve. Thus, we understand both Mary’s virginal womb and the Garden of Eden (the “womb” that gave birth to Adam and Eve) to be two unique places of the same type — places where God could, in his absolute sovereignty, omniscience and creative power, bring into being three of the four persons in the history of the world born without original sin, namely, Adam, Eve and Jesus. Of course, the fourth person was Mary, who was also conceived without sin through the mystery of her immaculate conception, in the womb of her mother, St. Anne. In addition to explaining the de novo creation of Adam and Eve outside the normal laws and operations of biology (which were also 100% created by God), this theory also helps explain the birth of Enoch.

Recall that, according to God’s word, after Cain murdered his brother Abel in the Garden of Eden, Cain became a “marked man,” exiled from the Garden of Eden. Cain journeyed to the land of Nod, East of Eden. There he met other human beings who had already been created by God (using normal biological means). Indeed, in that “new world” East of Eden, Cain married his wife in Nod, and she gave birth to Enoch (Genesis 4:17).

         Bruce Sabatino

         Monroe, Georgia

 

Obvious Charade

After reading about the recently issued report of the commission on Medjugorje, as reported by CNA/EWTN News (“Medjugorje Commission’s Findings Revealed,” May 28 issue), I noted the commission rejected the hypotheses of a demonic origin of the Medjugorje-related apparitions. With my tongue placed somewhat loosely in my cheek, it led me to wonder if the Holy See is going to now look into the hypotheses of a demonic origin of the commission’s report itself, which simply stretches credibility beyond all that is rational. How on God’s green earth, or heaven above, could our dear Blessed Lady appear seven times before such a motley crew as the so-called Medjugorje seers as was favorably recognized by the majority members of the commission? The commission seemed to dismiss so many problematic areas, including the hundreds of times Our Lady allegedly appeared to one or more of the so-called seers in as varied circumstances as a Dallas-Fort Worth area school gym several years ago in her dubious new role as “head of the telegraph office who sends a message every day,” to quote Pope Francis’ quip about Mary’s dubious new role.

Yes, it is wonderful that so many have spiritually benefited from the Medjugorje story, but how many thousands more will have their spirituality damaged, if not lost altogether, if the Holy See approves this obvious charade?

         William Brown

         Arlington, Texas

 

Missed Opportunity

I am both delighted and troubled by the Register’s recent article, “34 Common Errors About the Spanish Inquisition” (NCRegister.com, June 23).

I am delighted because, as an enthusiastic reader of medieval and modern inquisition scholars, the article corrects several centuries of prevailing propaganda. I am troubled by the instances in the article of inflammatory tone, intellectual dishonesty and outright error. As a librarian, I am particularly concerned about the lack of sources. I’d like to draw attention to points 7, 14, 18, 20 and 32.

While points 7 and 18 are somewhat correct, they ignore the unpleasant reality of mass forced baptisms and expulsions of the Jews in Spain. Point 14 conflates the medieval Inquisition with the Spanish Inquisition. Point 32’s claim that the Spanish Inquisition “only lasted for 100 years” is factually incorrect: It lasted for at least three centuries. The language toward the end — especially “Who is more evil?” — does absolutely nothing for our cause and will likely alienate some readers.

Point 20 is particularly frustrating. The Church did not put anyone to death (as Count Joseph de Maistre insists). However, Daniel-Rops reminds us, “The inquisitors were perfectly well aware that in delivering a man to the secular arm they were sending him to his death.”

What we can say is that first offenders seldom received the death penalty and that many death sentences were mitigated after several years of good behavior.

The great irony in the public’s relentless focus on the Spanish Inquisition as an example of Vatican totalitarianism is that it is the inquisition that the Vatican had the least control over. Ferdinand and Isabella brooked little interference from Rome, as opposed to Portugal and Italy.

After clearing the air of factual errors, we should ask ourselves harder questions. For example: Was that particular relationship between the Church and state healthy? When is the death penalty justified? Or, a question I almost never see asked outside of scholarly journals: Were the inquisitions successful?

In its desire to correct the many errors surrounding the inquisition, the article has many missed opportunities and makes several errors and distortions itself. It also ignores the philosophical premise for the inquisitions that is desperately missing from these kinds of articles: that heresy was both a spiritual and a political concern.

I am grateful for articles like this one and hope to see more, and deeper, articles in the future.

In our excellent desire to correct history, I would encourage fellow Catholics not to swing the pendulum in the other direction and to keep reading, especially Gustav Henningsen and John Tedeschi, The Inquisition in Early Modern Europe: Studies on Sources and Methods (1986), and Albert Shannon, The Medieval Inquisition (1991).

                        Sharon Bolger

                        Belmont, North Carolina

 

Corrections

“Holy US Servants of God” (July 9 issue, page 10) incorrectly identified Father Vincent Robert Capodanno as an Army chaplain. He served as a Marine chaplain. In addition, the photo accompanying Servant of God Bishop James Walsh, M.M. was of Bishop James E. Walsh, not Servant of God Bishop James A. Walsh. The Register regrets the errors.