A Historical Tracing of Teaching on Human Origins Within the Catholic Church’s Response to Modernism for American Catholics (1864-1950)




Kainer, Colton

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Recent studies have demonstrated American Catholics are split on beliefs regarding not only human origins but also the interpretation of scripture, and such splitting highlights the dynamic relationship between the interpretation of scripture and beliefs based upon such interpretation. In making sense of the mentioned splitting among American Catholics, this thesis historically traces magisterial and popular teaching on human origins within the Catholic Church’s response to modernism both within Italy and within the United States between 1864-1950. Through such an historical tracing, this thesis demonstrates teaching on human origins has developed to adopt an openness to theistic evolution through developments in the interpretation of scripture. This complex development traced both within Italy and within the United States during the addressed timeframe—a relatively short one—may explain recent splitting among American Catholics on beliefs regarding both human origins and the interpretation of scripture.



Human origins., Catholic teaching., History., Modernism.