The International Herald Tribune reports that in a Wednesday lecture Cardinal Schonborn said that restricting debate about Darwin's theory of evolution amounts to censorship in schools and in the broader public.
He said he found it "amazing" that a US federal court ruled in 2005 that a Pennsylvania public school district could not teach the concept of "intelligent design" as part of its science class.
The judge had said that the theory, which says an intelligent supernatural force explains the emergence of complex life forms, was creationism in disguise.
The Cardinal said the ruling meant that schoolchildren would only be taught a materialistic, atheistic view of the origin of universe, without considering the idea that God played a role.
"A truly liberal society would at least allow students to hear of the debate," he said.
He added that he wants to correct what he calls a widespread misconception that the Catholic Church has given a blanket endorsement to Darwin's theories.
The "intelligent design" concept has been promoted most prominently by the Discovery Institute, a think tank in Seattle. Asked after the speech if he was endorsing the institute's beliefs, Schoenborn would say only "listen to my arguments," cautioning that his views should not be put "in a box."
"I don't belong to any kind of boxes," he said.
Schoenborn affirmed that the Catholic Church rejects creationism, saying "the first page of the Bible is not a cosmological treatise about the coming to be of the world in six days."
He also said that "the Catholic faith can accept" the possibility that God uses evolution as a tool. But he said science alone could not explain the origins of the universe.
Catholic cardinal says scientists, US schools stifling debate on faith and evolution (International Herald Tribune, 8/2/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Cardinal Christophe Schonborn (Catholic Hierarchy)
Charles Darwin (Wikipedia)
No shift in Church's position on evolution, Jesuit says (CathNews, 7/9/06)
Vatican astronomer says creationism is superstition (CathNews, 23/5/0)
New Washington Archbishop favours Intelligent Design in schools (CathNews 19/5/06)
Vatican Observatory head clashes with cardinal on evolution (CathNews 8/8/05)
Cardinal redefines Church's view on evolution (CathNews, 11/7/05)
Vatican Observatory sponsors conference on evolution (CathNews 22/6/04)
9 Feb 2007