Religious-types are certainly not known for their ready acceptance of science. In fact, as I’ve posted before, the United States is filled with people who doubt the “theory” of evolution. For better or worse, Pope Benedict recently indicated that he accepted that there is evidence for evolution:
“They are presented as alternatives that exclude each other,” the Pope said.
“This clash is an absurdity because on one hand there is much scientific proof in favour of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and which enriches our understanding of life and being as such.”
See Pope Benedict Admits Evidence for Evolution for more coverage. The article also includes some progressive (from a religious standpoint) ideas related to the environment.
The Catholic Church hasn’t exactly had a great track record with dealing with important issues – especially those that could have greatly increase knowledge and decreased human suffering. To their credit, they have made some minor efforts to apologize for these oversights: Pope Says Sorry For Sins of Church. Of course, this does little good to those that were tortured and murdered in The Crusades and in the The Inquisition. It’s a bit late for poor Galileo, who only called it as he saw it.
The Catholic Church is clearly one of the most violent organizations in the history of the world. But is that reign of terror over? It seems unlikely to me. I truly hope I’m proven wrong, as there’s still plenty of opportunity to atone for past “sins” committed by religious organizations.