Influential Cardinal Visits Benedictine College

Schönborn Speaks on Science and Religion

Friday, January 15, 2010

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna and one of the youngest members of the Catholic Church's College of Cardinals, visited the campus of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., on Sunday, January 31. He served as principal celebrant for the Noon Mass in St. Benedict’s Abbey Church, on the Benedictine campus, and followed up with a lecture, "Pope Benedict, Regensburg, and the Controversy of Creation and Evolution," in the College’s O’Malley-McAllister Auditorium. The college also presented him with the prestigious Cross of the Order of St. Benedict award.

“We are pleased that Archbishop (Joseph) Naumann recommended that Cardinal Schönborn visit Benedictine College,” said Stephen D. Minnis, president of the school. “We are proud of our Catholic heritage and have eagerly anticipated this visit from such a notable and influential leader within the Catholic Church.”

Cardinal Schönborn sparked a worldwide debate on evolution in 2005 with a New York Times article on the subject, in which he attempted to clarify the church’s position. In 2007 he published the book Chance or Purpose? Creation, Evolution, and a Rational Faith, in which he demonstrated that the science of biology, when examined with reason and philosophy, points to a purposeful world. He has often debated the matter and has made a distinction between the biological theory of evolution and what he calls “evolutionism,” which he says is an ideology.

Cardinal Schönborn is one of only 183 cardinals in the world and, as such, is part of the body that advises the Pope and chooses his successor. He first gained international prominence for his work as general editor of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994), considered one of the greatest single reference works on Catholic doctrine today. Cardinal Schönborn continues to distinguish himself by his leadership of the Austrian Church, his dedication to the "re-evangelization" of Europe, and his commitment to the renewal of higher education in Europe and the United States.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report for the past three years as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship. The school established the Cross of the Order of St. Benedict in 1969 as a way to recognize alumni and friends who have supported charitable institutions, provided civic or religious leadership, and demonstrated professional excellence.