Evolution vs. Darwinism, A Catholic Opinion.
Definitions from the Catholic Encyclopedia, The New Advent:
“There is, in fact, no evidence whatever for the common genetic descent of all plants and animals from a single primitive organism. Hence the greater number of botanists and zoologists regard a polygenetic (polyphyletic) evolution as much more acceptable than a monogenetic (monophyletic). At present, however, it is impossible to decide how many independent genetic series must be assumed in the animal and vegetable kingdoms. This is the gist of the theory of evolution as a scientific hypothesis. **It is in perfect agreement with the Christian conception of the universe, for Scripture does not tell us in what form the present species of plants and of animals were originally created by God. **As early as 1877 Knabenbauer stated ‘that there is no objection, so far as faith is concerned, to assuming the descent of all plant and animal species from a few types.’ (Stimmen aus Maria Laach, XIII, p. 72)”
“Darwinism and the theory of Evolution are by no means equivalent conceptions. The theory of evolution was propounded before Charles Darwin’s time, by Lamarck (1809) and Geoffrey de Saint-Hilaire. Darwin, in 1859, gave it new form by endeavoring to explain the origin of species by means of natural selection.”
“The Darwinian theory of selection is Darwinism - adhering to the narrower, and accurate, sense of th eword. As a theory, it is scientifically inadequite, since it does not account for the origin of attributes fitted to the purpose, which must be referred back to the interior, original causes of evolution.”
"Haeckel, with other materialists, has enlarged this selection theory of Darwin’s into a philosophical world-idea, by attempting to account for the whole evolution of the cosmos by the means of the chance survival of the fittest."
Darwinism then, “frequently stands, in popular usage, for the theory of evolution in general. This use of the word rests on an evident confusion of ideas, and must therefore be set aside.”
THEREFORE, “In our opinion the principle of ‘Mendelian segregation’ together with Darwin’s natural selection and the moulding influences of the environment, will probably be some of the chief constituents of future evolutionary theories.”
The Catholic Church is against Darwinism, but is not threatened by the theory of evolution.