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Question for Catholics

My husband and I are considering starting to attend a Catholic Church, but I have some questions about their beliefs. Mainly, I want to know if they interpret the bible literally or figuratively. Do they really believe in the creation story as told in Genesis? Do they believe that Noah actually put two of each animal in the world on an ark? If not, what is the interpretation that is given. Also, is evolution pretty much accepted, or is there a lot of resistance given to it?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 2:25 PM on Jun. 26, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Answers (7)
  • The Catholic church, I believe, has an official stance on most of these things but you will find individual churches and individual Catholic believers with their own opinions that may not reflect that of the official church opinion.

    As far as I know, Catholicism approves of a 7-day Creationism, literal interpretation of Genesis and a young-earth theory.

    I believe they both interpret the Bible literally and figuratively (as the Bible was not meant to be taken JUST literally or JUST figuratively, it contains both aspects). Whether or not they interpret literal vs. figurative on a passage by passage basis in an appropriate manner....I would beg to say they don't. Of course, I am Protestant, so that explains my opinion on that :-)

    The believe that Noah put 7 of every clean and 2 of every unclean animal on the ark. As far as I know, they believe in the story of a literal flood as told by Genesis.

    Answer by NovemberLove at 3:00 PM on Jun. 26, 2009

  • I believe they accept aspects of Microevolution but as for the Big-Bang and all of life as we know it rising up from the primordial ooze....I don't think that is an accepted belief by the church.

    Almost all of my friends are Catholic. What I know is mostly from them so I may be mistaken on a few things. Like I said before, despite the official "rules," doctrine, and traditions, a lot of beliefs vary from church to church and Catholic to Catholic.

    Answer by NovemberLove at 3:04 PM on Jun. 26, 2009

  • I grew up in the Catholic Church, went to Catholic school up through the end of high school. Such details as you outline were not highlighted. The focus was more on forming one's own set of values, using the New Testament verses to understand and articulate one's own conscience. Even the Sunday sermons were focussed on joy and strength in daily life rather than on the black-and-white details of accepted interpretations.

    Of course different priests will have different personalities, but the experience of attending Catholic Church is much more about the living relationship with Christ than it is about declaring this or that to be wrong. It has a less materialistic view of the world, it views the world as having a spiritual component working in everything, so the exact physical details of ancient bible texts are often merely moot ... I never heard that idea about Noah ... interesting !

    Answer by waldorfmom at 3:47 PM on Jun. 26, 2009

  • As far as I know, Catholicism approves of a 7-day Creationism, literal interpretation of Genesis and a young-earth theory.

    This really isn't true. You will find there is a LOT of misunderstanding or down right false teachings of the church. I suggest you get Catholic for dummies or the Catholicism Answer Book.

    Catholicisms staunchly believes in Creation,that God created the world, the universe, and especially t he human soul. It believes that God created man and woman in the image and likeness of God, as told to us in Genesis. Creation is to make something out of nothing. It is not changing one substance into another, it is making something which did not previously exist. Atheistic evolution, which denies the existence and the necessity of a Supreme Being and creator


    Answer by Anonymous at 4:58 PM on Jun. 26, 2009

  • ... is very much condemned. However, a modified theory of evolution that retains the existence and the necessity of a divine creator is allowed. God could use evolutionary processes to change aspects of His Creation. This would imply that God created evolution just as He created the laws of physics, the laws of chemistry and mathematics. If evolution does exist and operate, it must be part of the divine will since nothing can or does exist or happen outside the will of God.

    *Got that from p11 of The Catholicism Answer Book. Notice how it doesn't say 7  24 hour periods.


    Answer by Anonymous at 5:02 PM on Jun. 26, 2009

  • Traditionally Catholic refer to four senses of Scripture, which are outlined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church

    1. Literal Sense: which is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture - the actual event, person, thing described in the biblical text. The literal sense gives rise to the following three “spiritual senses.”

    2. Allegorical Sense: How those things, events, or persons in the literal sense point to Christ and the Paschal Mystery.

    3. Moral Sense: How the literal sense points to the Christian life in the Church.

    4. Anagogical Sense: How the literal sense points to the Christian’s heavenly destiny and the last things.

    See this article for details.


    Answer by eringobrough at 6:07 PM on Jun. 26, 2009

  • As for evolution - basically the Catholic Church teaches what anon. said. While the Church permits belief in either special creation or developmental creation on certain questions, it in no circumstances permits belief in atheistic evolution. The article "Adam, Eve and Evolution" contains more information.


    Answer by eringobrough at 6:12 PM on Jun. 26, 2009

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