Local Catholic organization to host creationism seminar

A local Catholic organization will host and co-sponsor a free seminar on creationism and evolution in Front Royal on March 21.

Human Life International, a Front Royal-based international Catholic organization, will co-sponsor the event with the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation.

Titled “Creation, Evolution and the Crisis of Faith,” the event will feature Joseph Strada, an aerospace engineer, who will discuss the scientific evidence in favor of creationism, and Hugh Owen, director of the Kolbe Center, who will discuss the history of the dispute between scientists and traditional Christian doctrine regarding evolution.

Tom McFadden, a volunteer public relations manager for the event, said establishing a scientific foundation supporting creationism is a concern among both traditional Catholics and Protestants.

“I’ve been studying this creation and science business for about four years and my sources is the Institute for Creation Research and they are evangelical Christians,” McFadden said. “Catholics have been very late to the game.”

McFadden added, “I even sent out press releases to a number of evangelical churches that were referred to me, because I know the evangelicals would like to get some help from the Catholics to combat this secular ideology.”

McFadden said proving creationism as true is important to the Christian faith because if “Genesis is not true, then is anything true?” Evolution is not a fact, but a theory, McFadden said.

“Evolution is just a consensus, not a fact,” McFadden said. “When you read a lot of evolutionists and find out they’re all card-carrying atheists, it makes sense why evolution is popular, because nobody created the world and nobody created man, people can do whatever they want and evolution solves the problem.”

Both Pope Francis and Saint John Paul II expressed liberal views concerning evolution during their tenures in the papacy. McFadden said just because a pope expresses a view does not mean his word is necessarily law.

“What Catholics know is we are supposed to do what the pope says,” McFadden said. “But he has to say it in a particular arena, in formal documents, but when a pope just makes an off-hand comment, we just view it as their opinion and don’t necessarily follow it.”

McFadden said Strada would provide a scientifically backed argument against evolution.

“You got Dr. Joe Strada, he’s a PhD. Aerospace engineering, a retired navy captain, he’s just a really smart guy and he studied this problem, so he’s going to give a real technical presentation.”

Owen will explain how the Catholic doctrine attributes creation to an instantaneous moment, McFadden said. He said Owen was the son of David Owen, the former general secretary of International Planned Parenthood Federation and “grew pretty much an atheist, at least by means.” Owen converted to Catholicism when he studied at Princeton and has since lectured on creationism all over the world.

“What happens when somebody converts to a faith, is that they are really enthusiastic about it, so they have what we call ‘the fire in the belly,'” McFadden said. “He’s given talks in Kenya, Egypt, New Zealand and all over the place.”

McFadden added, “I wouldn’t call him an intellectual, but he’s a very intelligent guy and a really good speaker.”

The seminar will start at 10 a.m. and run till 4 p.m. March 21. A mass in the extraordinary form will precede the seminar at 9 a.m. and a question and answer session will follow the seminar from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Human Life International is located at 4 Family Life Lane near Shenandoah Shores Road in Front Royal.

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com