The Church and evolutionism: the case of Raffaello Caverni

Author: Mariano Artigas (University of Navarra, Pamplona) and Rafael Martínez (Pontificia Università della Santa Croce, Rome)
Published in: Scripta Theologica, 36, pp. 37-68.
Date of publication: 2004



This article brings to light unpublished documents about a book that was condemned in 1878 by the Congregation of the Index because it claimed that evolutionism and Christianity were compatible. From the last decades of the 19th century until 1950 and even after, these issues were only briefly, partially and often confusingly presented in textbooks and in history books and articles. The opening of the file of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1998 makes it possible for the first time to know in detail the workings of the Congregation of the Index and the concrete case.

Palabras core topic: Evolutionism, Index, Caverni, Theology, Index, Theology


In this essay we use documents unpublished until now on a book that was condemned in 1878 by the Congregation of the Index because it supported the idea that evolution and Christianity were compatible. Since the last decades of the 19 th century until 1950 and even later, these subjects have been treated in the textbooks and in the writings on history in a very brief, partial, and often confused way. The opening of the Archives of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in 1998 makes possible for the first time to know in detail the work of the Congregation of the Index and this particular affair.

Keywords: Evolution, Index, Caverni, Theology


The proceedings of the Congregation of the Index. A peculiar village priest. The new programs of study of Philosophy. The review of "La Civiltà Cattolica". A treatise in instalments. The Archbishop's denunciation. A luxury report . Zigliara's report on Caverni's book. It is proposed to ban the book. The Preparatory Congregation of 27 June 1878. The General Congregation of 1 July 1878. The papal audience and the promulgation of the Decree. Caverni's reaction. The meaning of the "indirect" condemnation.

In this article we bring to light unpublished documents about a book that was condemned by the Congregation of the Index because it claimed that evolutionism and Christianity were compatible. It is a case that has remained in the shadows until the relevant documents from file were declassified a few years ago. Our only goal is to provide reliable data on a case that has some relevance in the history of the Catholic Church's attitude to evolutionism.

It is generally thought that the Catholic Church has always been opposed to evolutionism. It is true that evolutionism was perceived by quite a few Catholics as not necessarily opposed to the Christian faith, and there were attempts from the beginning to reconcile evolutionism and Christianity. However, the Church authorities sometimes expressed their reservations more or less directly.

The most widely used manuals in theological seminaries and Schools from the last decades of the 19th century until 1950 and even after, usually proposed a thesis according to which God directly or immediately formed Adam's body, and in that context included an examination of evolutionism and disqualified it. Most of the authors qualified the divine training of Adam's unmediated body as a "certain" or "common" doctrine, and the contrary thesis was considered a "rash" opinion which, while not amounting to heresy, was to be avoided. The main test adduced was a very literal interpretation of the accounts of the creation of man found in Genesis. The interpretation of Genesis was confirmed by the interpretations proposed by most of the Holy Fathers. The lack of evidence in favour of evolutionism was also stressed. And in the section dedicated to the magisterial decisions of the Church, the cases of the French Dominican Dalmace Leroy, the American priest John Zahm, of the Congregation of Holy Cross, and the Italian bishop Geremia Bonomelli were cited, in addition to the Provincial Council of Cologne in 1860, to show that the Holy See maintained an attitude contrary to evolutionism.1.

But there was hardly any data on Leroy, Zahm and Bonomelli. Leroy published in the Parisian newspaper Le Monde a letter dated 26 February 1895 in Rome in which he retracted the doctrine contained in his book Evolution Restricted to Organic Species (1891): "I have now learned that my thesis , examined here in Rome by the competent authority, has been judged untenable, especially with regard to the body of man, as being incompatible both with the texts of Holy Scripture and with the principles of a healthy Philosophy ".2. Zahm wrote a letter to the Italian translator of his book Evolution and Dogma (1896), in which he said: "I have learned on unquestionable authority that the Holy See is opposed to the further distribution of Evolution and Dogma, and therefore I beg you to use all your influence to have the book withdrawn from the market".3. Bonomelli had positively echoed Zahm's book, and published a sort of retraction in a letter dated 22 October 1898.4. The magazine La Civiltà Cattolica, run by Jesuits and reviewed by the Holy See, reproduced the three letters and, confronted by John Hedley, an English bishop who doubted the existence of decisions of the Holy See on the subject because La Civiltà did not quote any specific one, replied by assuring him that the decisions existed, and that if he approached the authorities of the Holy See in his capacity as bishop, they would confirm them, perhaps confidentially .5.

It was a somewhat anomalous status , given that it was a doctrinal topic of a certain magnitude. The opening of the file of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1998 has made it possible, for the first time, to have direct access to the documentation related to the cases mentioned. We have been working along these lines for several years and hope to publish a book with the results of our research in the near future. In this article we present a case which is not one of those mentioned and which is not usually mentioned when talking about the Church and evolutionism, and yet it is, to the best of our knowledge to date, the only case in which there really was a public action by the Vatican authorities in direct relation to evolutionism. It is the book On the New programs of study of Philosophy. speech to a young student, published by the Florentine priest Raffaello Caverni in 1877.

In this case, the Vatican condemned a book that defended evolutionism, and the reason for the condemnation was its defence of evolutionism, but apparently hardly anyone took any notice. Not even La Civiltà Cattolica, which between 1897 and 1902 made the most of simple letters and articles in favour of evolutionism, mentioned only once in those years Caverni's book, which had been included in the Index of banned books by a public decree of the Holy See in 1878. How can this be explained, is it that not even La Civiltà, so attentive to these matters, knew about Caverni's book or its condemnation?

The proceedings of the Congregation for the Index  

To understand this strange status we must mention the peculiar procedures of the Congregation of the Index. We are not referring to the secrecy that its members kept regarding their work; that was also the case in other Congregations, and it responded to the logic reservation with which matters affecting the fame of individuals had to be handled. What is relevant to our problem is the way decisions were made public. The decision to include a book on the list of banned books was taken by the cardinal members of the Congregation of the Index and was submitted to the Pope for approval, but it did not become effective until it was promulgated in a public manner.

Publication was by means of a large printed decree, which was placed in the usual places in Rome (Vatican, Palazzo della Cancelleria, and some others). All decrees of the time had the same structure. At the top was the Pope's coat of arms, flanked on either side by the images of St Peter and St Paul. The text began with a stereotyped paragraph, always the same, stating that the Cardinal members of the Congregation had met, to carry out the mission statement entrusted to them by the Pope, on a specific date; in this paragraph only the corresponding dates changed. Then came the list of books that were forbidden by this decree; only the author and the data of the book were indicated (degree scroll, place and date of publication), and nothing else: this is extraordinarily important, because nothing was said about the reason for the prohibition of the book which, in some cases (like the one that concerns us now) has remained in the shadows up to the present day. Sometimes the sentence "The author, in a praiseworthy manner, has submitted and reproved his work" was added, in the case of Catholic authors who had accepted the decision of the Congregation. At the end was the date of the decree, signed by the Cardinal Prefect and by the Secretary of the Congregation, and the date on which the decree was published in Rome was indicated and posted in the places provided.

In the case of Caverni, the decree stated that the meeting of the cardinals had taken place on Tuesday 1 July 1878 in the Vatican. It was signed by Cardinal Antonino de Luca, Prefect of the Congregation, and by Fra Jerónimo Pio Saccheri, a Dominican, Secretary. The decree was dated 10 July 1878 in Rome, and at the end it said that it was published the following 31 July. It included seven books by six authors. The first was that of Caverni, and there it read:

Caverni Raffaello. De' nuovi studi della Filosofia. Discorsi a un giovane studente. Firenze, 1877.Auctor laudabiliter se subiecit et opus reprobavit ["New programs of study of Philosophy. Speeches to a young student". Florence, 1877. The author, in a praiseworthy manner, has submitted and reproved his work]6.

It is obvious that the decree does not say why the book was banned, and that the degree scroll of the book does not even mention evolutionism. Only the members of the Congregation of the Index knew the reasons for the ban. Therefore, only they could claim that the reason for the condemnation was evolutionism. But the members of the Congregation never made statements on their work: they could not do so.

Anyone who was not part of the Congregation (i.e. almost everyone) might think that there were various reasons for banning the book. Indeed, in this case there were. Caverni defended evolutionism, but he also criticised certain aspects of the ecclesiastical world, such as the training of seminary students in Italy and the scholastic method followed in those teachings, and his criticisms were directed especially against the Jesuits. One might think that it was these criticisms that led to the banning of the book. This is not a simple hypothesis. A monograph on Caverni published in 2001 reads:

The reasons why Caverni's book was banned are not to be found in the evolutionary hypothesis as proposed by Caverni, or at least not only in it. In that book, Caverni harshly criticised various aspects of the ecclesiastical world, and above all the culture that it proposed.7.

This idea probably comes from the programs of study on Caverni published by Giovanni Giovanozzi (1860-1928) between 1910 and 1920. According to Giovanozzi, Caverni's book was not included in the Index because of his defence of evolutionism, but because of his caustic and bitter attacks on institutes, methods and people in the ecclesiastical world. This idea is reflected in the article dedicated to Caverni in theDizionario biografico degli italiani8. We shall see that it has little foundation. It cannot be ruled out that Caverni's criticism of the ecclesiastical world and of the Jesuits played a role in the denunciation of the book. However, the documents on file of the Index show that evolutionism was the central motive for the ban. We will focus on these documents, but first, by way of introduction, we will present some data about Caverni and his work.9.

A peculiar village priest  

Raffaello Caverni was born on 12 March 1837 in San Quirico di Montelupo, near Florence. When he was 13 years old he went to study in Florence. On 2 June 1860 he was ordained a priest. For ten years he taught physics and mathematics at seminar room in Firenzuola, and from 1871 he was parish priest of the village of Quarate, whose proximity to Florence allowed him to combine his ecclesiastical duties with a deep dedication to his studies and publications.

Caverni published several books related to science. His main work is the six-volume History of the Experimental Method in Italia10a work of colossal proportions (about 4,000 pages) which received the award from a competition organised by the Royal high school of Sciences of Venice. Five volumes were published during Carverni's lifetime, and a sixth, incomplete, after his death. It is not a simple accumulation of data. It contains personal interpretations, including some criticisms of Galileo, which led to the rejection of the work by quite a few specialists. Caverni was a friend of Antonio Favaro, who published the famous national edition of Galileo's complete works, and Favaro helped Caverni's work to receive the aforementioned award , but the two later drifted apart .11. In this polemical context, Eugenio Garin has argued that Caverni's work has been unjustly forgotten.12.

All agree that Caverni was an independent spirit, not fond of social conventions, which may have influenced his rejection of opportunities for positions at the University or in scientific associations.

The new programs of study of Philosophy  

From 1868, Caverni became interested in evolutionism and the possibility of reconciling it with the biblical account of creation and Catholic doctrine. The publication of Darwin's work in Italy had provoked strong discussions, also in Florence. Between 1875 and 1876 Caverni published a series of articles in the Rivista Universale (which in 1878 became the Rassegna Nazionale), with the title degree scroll On the Philosophy of natural science. And in 1877 he published these articles in book form, with a different degree scroll : New programs of study of Philosophy. Speeches to a young student13. The central idea of the book was that evolutionism and Christianity could be reconciled.

In order to achieve this conciliation, Caverni introduced certain modifications to evolutionism as it was usually presented. On the one hand, he affirmed the necessity of admitting the divine creation and the action of God who, through his providence, guide the natural processes so that they reach their intended end. On the other hand, the human being was left out of the process of evolution. In this way Caverni wanted to avoid the main disadvantages of evolutionism for a Catholic.

The first difficulty Caverni had to overcome was the literal interpretation of the biblical accounts of creation, which was predominant at the time. To this end he distinguished in the Sacred Scripture two parts, one divine and the other human: according to Caverni, the divine part has as its object the truths of faith and is infallible, while the human part has as its object the notions acquired by study and, like everything that is known by human reason, can be true or false. Caverni cited in his favour the ideas that Galileo had proposed for interpreting Scripture, stressing that it is not the intention of Scripture to teach us scientific truths, but to show us the way that leads to heaven.14.

Caverni argued that believers have nothing to fear from science, which they can leave completely free to investigate the origin of living species. But he also stated that the natural sciences have limits which they cannot overstep: in particular, the sciences are concerned with the material, but they cannot tell us anything about the spiritual .15. In this way he excluded the human being from the evolutionary process. At the same time, Caverni excluded an evolutionism that denied finality; he affirmed a theistic and finalistic evolutionism where the basic religious ideas about creation and God's action in the world were saved.

The review of "La Civiltà Cattolica".  

Caverni's book was strongly criticised by La Civiltà Cattolica. This would probably have been the case in other circumstances when the magazine, as was almost always the case, was published in Rome, but in those years, due to the complex Italian status , the magazine was published precisely in Florence, Caverni's centre of activity and the place where his book was published. Before the book was condemned, La Civiltà published an extensive review of Caverni's book, divided into two parts, which were published in two successive issues of the magazine. The author was the Jesuit Francesco Salis Seewis16. At the beginning of his review, he praised Caverni's intention and knowledge, and warned that Caverni left the human being out of the evolutionary process, but then moved on to a harsh criticism, both theological and philosophical, of Caverni's ideas.

The first part of review focused on theological aspects, and specifically on the criteria Caverni proposed for interpreting Sacred Scripture and harmonising it with science. Caverni said that we must distinguish in the Bible between a human and a divine part, and affirmed that the details narrated in Genesis about creation belong to the human part, which is therefore not the object of faith or of Catholic doctrine. His argument was based on the concordance of the Bible texts with other equally ancient texts of secular authors. Salis Seewis replied that the traces of a primitive revelation can be seen there, prior to the sacred and profane texts, and added that the acceptance of Caverni's ideas would have ruinous consequences, especially as regards the infallibility of the inspired books, their divine origin, and the faith owed to them.

This was a hotly debated issue at the time. Salis Seewis defended the more traditional and rigid position, according to which every sentence in the Bible, interpreted in a strict literal sense, must be true because it has God as its author, regardless of literary genres or other such considerations. Otherwise, he added, the word of God would be put at the service of human judgements. The ultimate consequence would be a devaluation of the inspired and divine character of the whole of Scripture: Caverni's criterion, which Salis Seewis describes as "unheard of", would lead to a "sacrilegious" conclusion.

The second part of review is devoted to the scientific and philosophical aspects. From the beginning, Salis Seewis states that Darwinism is a bush born of bad seed in a wilderness, which has grown badly and so far has borne only poisonous fruit. He goes on to say that Caverni tries to heal it, transplanting it into the realm of Philosophy, and adds that Caverni is sample a supporter of Darwinism, ignoring so much criticism that has been levelled at it. According to Salis Seewis:

Darwinism is a germ of unbelief: it was born of considering nature without God, and of the tendency to exclude God from science. All the laws imagined by Darwin are aimed at making divine action superfluous. Darwin hardly let his plan and the atheistic and materialistic principles, which have since been professed without any restraint by his henchmen and successors, be made transparent.17.

According to Salis Seewis, Caverni departs decisively from his master (Darwin), for he claims that evolution and its laws can be accepted if they are supposed to have been established and regulated by the infinite wisdom of God the creator: thus Caverni thinks he can heal the infection of unbelief that lies at the root of the system.

On the other hand, Salis Seewis recalls that, according to Darwin, the origin of the human being can be explained in the same way as the origin of all other living things: the two hypotheses are like the flower and the fruit. On the other hand, Caverni again departs from Darwin on this point and, while he accepts Darwinian arguments for other living things, he claims that they lose all value when it comes to man. But Salis Seewis criticises the arguments that Caverni uses to show that evolution cannot account for the origin of Human Physiology, and reproaches Caverni for being inconsistent because, when he deals with the human sphere, he denies the value of the physiological arguments he has used when speaking of the evolution of other living things. Finally, Salis Seewis also notes serious flaws in the arguments used by Caverni to establish the mental superiority of human beings over other animals. He concludes by warning that Caverni's criticisms of the ecclesiastical world are inappropriate and could rather be an occasion for scandal.

At final, Salis Seewis points out two central problems. The first is the atheistic and materialistic character of evolutionism, which seeks to explain nature without God. The second is that if human beings are included in evolutionary explanations, they fall into materialism. Salis Seewis points out that Caverni tries to avoid these two consequences, affirming that God is the author and governor of natural laws, and excluding the evolutionary origin of the human being. But he considers Caverni's arguments insufficient and contradictory.

La Civiltà Cattolica's reaction to Caverni's book was immediate and forceful. But there was more. In his review, Salis Seewis said that the problems raised by Darwinism could not be dealt with at sufficient length in the space allowed by a review, and added that, in order to remedy this difficulty, in that same issue of the magazine he began a thorough study of the doctrines and proofs of Darwinism, in order to discuss adequately what is scientific in "this web of ridiculous suppositions, of intolerable paralogisms, of manifest misunderstandings ".18.

A treaty in instalments  

In fact, the second part of the review of Salis Seewis began on page 65 of the corresponding fascicle of La Civiltà Cattolica, and on page 64 ended the first submission of a veritable treatise against Darwinism. The author was the Jesuit Pietro Caterini. He wrote 37 issues that were published in successive issues of the magazine in 1878, 1879 and 1880.19. In 1884, these articles were collected and published in book form, with a total of 383 pages.20.

The central problem, reflected in the degree scroll, was the origin of man. Caverni had left the human being out of the evolutionary process, highlighting the peculiarities that differentiate him from the rest of the animals. But this compromise did not seem destined to last permanently. Evolutionists, beginning with Darwin, saw human evolution as simply an extension of the evolution of other living things.

Caterini approached the problems of evolutionism from agreement with the knowledge of the time, and always in a critical way, without making concessions to the adversary. It was an all-out war, in which the aim was to discredit Darwinism from the scientific point of view. The last part was devoted to civil service examination between Darwinism and Christianity.

Caterini quotation to Caverni on three occasions. In the first, Caterini recalls that, according to Darwinists, animals have soul and mind like men, while Caverni, in order to save the essential superiority of man, denies that animals have a proper knowledge . agreement On this point Caterini agrees with the Darwinists against Caverni: according to the traditional Philosophy , animals feel and know; it is simply that the sensitive knowledge does not go beyond the singular, concrete and material, while the intellectual knowledge goes beyond this level.21. On the second occasion, Caterini approves Caverni's reflections on the difference between the vocal organs of animals and man and their respective functions, so that it should not be affirmed that human language is the point of arrival of an evolution starting from lower animals.22. On the third occasion, Caterini regrets that Caverni lavishes his praise on Darwin's book, to which he does not recognise anywhere near the scientific merits that Caverni attributes to it.23. All three references are to be found in articles published after the condemnation of Caverni's book. In addition to these specific allusions, the underlying ideas of Caterini's articles are a harsh criticism of the conciliation between evolutionism and Christianity proposal by Caverni.

In his last three articles, Caterini tries to show that evolutionism and Christianity cannot be reconciled. Section 39 is devoted to proving thesis on the origin of the human body by the immediate action of God:

It is revealed doctrine that the first parents of the human race were produced by the immediate operation of God, not only as to the soul but also as to the body.24.

To prove this thesis , Caterini proposes a literal interpretation of the Genesis accounts, draws on other texts of the Sacred Scripture, affirms that this thesis is unanimously accepted by the Holy Fathers, adds that doctors and theologians are also in agreement agreement, and refers especially to the theological treatises published in recent times by Hettinger, Perrone, Palmieri, Mazzella, Hurter, Dupasquier and Berti. And in the conclusion to his long study, he affirms that the thesis defended by transformism are absolutely contradictory to what the Catholic faith teaches us: therefore, those who claim that there is no such civil service examination, are either deluded or deceived. The transformist doctrines, Caterini concludes, are full of theological errors, and furthermore, when examined from the perspective of science and reason, they are a collection of philosophical absurdities, confused concepts, gratuitous assertions, exaggerated facts and false conclusions. At final, and these are the sentences that conclude the long series of articles:

[Transformism] theologically considered is a gross and manifest error against the faith. Philosophically examined, it is an evidently absurd variant of materialism. Scientifically assessed, it is a fantastic dream, a very strange a priori system, which has against it the observations and facts of nature.25.

This was the scenario that led first to the denunciation and then to the condemnation of Caverni's book.

The Archbishop's denunciation  

The first document we find on file of the Index is a very short letter (one page with wide spaces) from the Archbishop of Florence (Eugenio Cecconi), dated 9 November 1877. It is addressed to the Dominican Father Jerome Pio Saccheri, Secretary of the Congregation of the Index (who had occupied that position since 1873). It is not the original denunciation. It is a letter in which the Archbishop of Florence replies to a letter of the Secretary of the Index of two days earlier. The body of the letter reads:

I have the honour to transmit to Your Most Reverend Paternity a copy of the two Vows relating to Caverni's book, which you, also in the name of the Most Eminent Cardinal Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Index, ask me for in your venerable letter of 7 November. attachment a copy of the book, and I am sending the one used by the first of the Consultors, because his Vow refers to certain places in that book which he himself pointed out in red26.

It seems clear that it was the archbishop himself who denounced Caverni's book to the Congregation of the Index, because this is expressly stated at the beginning of Zigliara's report which we will examine later. In the denunciation, the archbishop was to refer to two reports (vows) drawn up in Florence about the book; the Secretary of the Index asked him for them, and the archbishop sent him a copy, together with the letter just quoted.

The copy of the two reports made in Florence, which the archbishop sent, is written by the same hand and has no names or dates (therefore, it contains no indication as to who the authors of the reports are). It is also preserved in the file of the Index27. The first report was commissioned by the archbishop (so it says at the beginning). The copy of this report is 9 pages long. There we read that Caverni's book is bad both theologically and philosophically, because it teaches a very serious error in the faith, namely that the divine inspiration of the Sacred Scripture extends only to faith and morals, so that the rest of the sacred text may contain errors. Moreover, the author sample has no little pride and an unecclesiastical spirit. Caverni accepts Darwinism, a very dangerous system, even if he limits it to species inferior to man. The examination of the proofs of Darwinism occupies the first part of the book, and the second half is devoted to showing that man falls outside the process of evolution. But, says the report, it is strange that a priest should defend ideas that have lost prestige even among unbelievers; here the report refers to La Civiltà Cattolica, specifically, to a review of two anti-Darwinist books .28. The report regrets that Caverni does not take up the arguments against Darwinism. The author of report acknowledges that, if man is excluded from evolution, there is no Church definition that condemns evolutionism as heretical, but it seems to him that it is contrary to faith because it is opposed to Scripture, the Fathers and tradition. Moreover, even if Caverni excludes the human being, it would be more consistent with the principles he expounds to admit the origin of man by evolution. The report also alludes to the problems related to Caverni's proposed reduction of the animal to a machine. And in final, the need to choose between a Darwinism that denies the spirit, or the denial of Darwinism is raised: it goes without saying that report leads to denying the validity of Darwinism.

The second report seems to be written by a religious, because he addresses the bishop wishing him well for his diocese, which a diocesan priest would not do. The copy is 6 pages long. Three of them are devoted to criticising the erroneous criteria proposed by Caverni for interpreting Scripture, and two others to Darwinism. The report says that Caverni stops at man because, otherwise, he would clash with the faith, which affirms that man was formed immediately by God also as regards the body. He adds that evolutionism has against it the most notable opinions of science. He points out that the idea of the machine-animal is strange. He goes on to say that it was easy to criticise Darwin's materialism without resorting, as Caverni does, to the doctrine of ontologism. And he says: "The stones thrown at the Jesuits, as is now fashionable, are uncivilised, to say the least". He regrets that Caverni criticises in public the Education given in the seminaries of Italy, and concludes that Caverni lacks more precision in theological matters, is overzealous in his philosophical preferences, and has too much acidity in his zeal.

The denunciation followed the path foreseen in the Congregation of the Index. The next step was the examination of Caverni's book by a consultant of the Congregation, appointed by the Cardinal Prefect or by the Secretary. In this case, it was a luxury consultant , which gives a special interest to his report. He was the Dominican Father Zigliara, one of the most important ecclesiastics in the second half of the 19th century.

A luxury report  

The Dominican Tommaso Maria Zigliara (1833-1893) was one of the protagonists of the "neo-Thomism" promoted by Pope Leo XIII to renew Catholic thought. The idea was to approach the programs of study of Philosophy and theology following the principles of the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. Neo-Thomism gained great momentum following the publication by Leo XIII in 1879 of the encyclical Aeterni Patris.

Zigliara completed his theology studies at programs of study and was ordained a priest in 1856 in Perugia. He was ordained by the Bishop of Perugia, who was the future Pope Leo XIII. Zigliara later taught Philosophy and theology at the Dominican convent of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, and was also President of the Dominican-run high school of St Thomas in Rome, which later became the University of the Angelicum (from the name "Angelic Doctor" with which St Thomas is known). In 1879, the same year in which he published the above-mentioned encyclical, Leo XIII made him a cardinal. He was also appointed president of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas (also created in 1879), and Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith programs of study. He was highly esteemed both for his intellectual stature and for his disposition.

Among Zigliara's various publications, his Summa philosophica, first published in 1876, went through 19 editions. It was written in Latin, language which was then widely used in the ecclesiastical world, and for years was used as a textbook in seminaries in Europe and America.

Zigliara's judgement of evolutionism is clear in the six pages he devotes to it in the second volume of the Summa philosophica29. According to Zigliara, transformism is a materialistic doctrine that differs only accidentally from the ancient materialisms that claimed to explain everything by the casual interactions of atoms. Lamarck seeks to explain evolution through the relationship of the organism to external circumstances that provoke new needs in the organism, which, in turn, provoke the appearance of new organs. Darwin proposes natural selection as an explanatory principle, and man would be nothing more than the result of this process. But this subject of doctrines was already refuted in antiquity by Aristotle. Zigliara puts forward various arguments to show that the theory of evolution is metaphysically absurd because it is based on false principles, is an arbitrary and even contradictory hypothesis, and is also absurd from the point of view of physiology.

It should be added that, in the Summa Philosophica, Zigliara expressly speaks of "spontaneous evolution", which takes place by relying solely on the forces of nature, and does not consider the possibility that, in evolution, God acts as a first cause through natural causes. He does, however, consider this possibility in another of his works, an introduction to theology, also intended for scholastic use. But he rejects it on the basis of the Genesis account (it is recorded that God created different species from the beginning), and that the human soul cannot come from the subject; and he adds that, given the characteristics of life, it cannot come from pure subject: when the scholastics admitted that sensitive and animal life could be deduced from the potentiality of the subject, they were not referring to an active power or capacity, but passive: life can originate from the subject if an agent cause is provided.30.

Zigliara's report on Caverni's book  

It could therefore be foreseen that Zigliara's report on Caverni's book would be negative, as it was. The report consists of 19 printed pages, and is dated 25 May 187831. The conclusion is clear: Zigliara proposes to include Caverni's book in the Index of banned books, and that the Archbishop of Florence should see to it not only that Caverni accepts the condemnation, but also that he does not publish a second book, on the origin of man, which he announced in the Preface.

Zigliara's report is clear and orderly. It consists of three parts. The first (pages 1-7) is devoted to Darwinism itself, the second (pages 7-12) deals with Darwinism in relation to Genesis, and the third (pages 12-18) deals with the origin of man. In the final part (pages 12-13) Zigliara presents a summary and his conclusions. We will follow this same order.

Zigliara says that Caverni's intention is good, but result is not. Caverni regrets the bad status that Philosophy is going through due to its distance from the natural sciences, and proposes as a remedy to focus Philosophy on the study of the origin of man. To this end, in the first part of his work, he presents Darwinism. But, Zigliara immediately adds, everyone knows that Darwinism is not a new system, but, leaving aside Democritus, Leucippus and Lucretius (the ancient materialists), it is a refinement of Lamarck's system. It teaches that, from the inorganic subject , a first living cell was formed, and from there the different types of living things originated, through transformations that respond to circumstances: in order to survive, new organs and tendencies develop, or useless ones are lost. Lamarck and Darwin start from the same principle: primitive cells formed by chemical combinations, and successive developments that produce the different types of living things. But, according to Zigliara, who here quotation to the famous Cuvier, both points have been rejected by famous scientists.

Caverni thinks that Darwin's system appears to anyone who examines it without prejudice to be probably true, and that it is supported above all by embryology, since the mammalian embryo goes through the same stages that the whole organism is supposed to have gone through in the history of its evolution. Thus, nature accomplishes in a few months what evolution has accomplished over many centuries. Although Zigliara does not use these terms, it is the famous and much discussed law according to which embryogenesis recapitulates phylogenesis. But here the criticism continues. Zigliara says that precisely here "is concentrated all the poison of Darwinism", which Zigliara regards as "materialistic pantheism in embryogenic form". Why this harsh judgement?

Perhaps it would have been better for Caverni if his book had not been examined by such a famous expert. An ordinary theologian would have had fewer pretensions, but the prestigious Zigliara went too far. Quoting other authors and using rather audacious reasoning, he asserts that Darwinism boils down, at bottom, to Hegelianism: from the primitive cell it jumps to a potentially universal cell, that is, to Hegel's absolute which differentiates itself in a process of becoming, in the manner of Heraclitus. Zigliara reproaches Caverni for not noticing this logic. However, Zigliara himself provides the solution. Caverni claims that an evolution that develops blindly by virtue of purely natural forces amounts to a certain pantheism (everything is of a divine nature), but he claims that primitive beings possessed the capacity to develop gradually because God had put it in them. If God creates subject and infuses it with this capacity, and also guide its evolution through his providential action, the difficulty disappears, and evolution has nothing to do with materialism or pantheism: it responds to a divine plan and is possible thanks to God's action. Zigliara acknowledges this, but reproaches Caverni for being imprudent because he concedes to the Darwinists the fundamentals of his thesis on the primitive cell, and once this is conceded, everything is reduced to pure evolution subject. Is this not, Zigliara wonders, pantheism, at least sui generis? The first part of report ends in a somewhat uncertain way, because, at least at first sight, Caverni has solved the difficulties mentioned by Zigliara, as Zigliara himself acknowledges, although Zigliara still considers Caverni's position dangerous.

In the second part of report, Zigliara examines Darwinism in relation to the creation accounts in Sacred Scripture, specifically in the book of Genesis. Zigliara criticises the criteria that Caverni proposes for interpreting Scripture, with its distinction between a fallible human part and an infallible divine part, placing the natural-scientific questions in the fallible part. It is a very harsh criticism, because this distinction, according to Zigliara, leads to several serious drawbacks: what is the object of science, for example creation, which is demonstrated by natural science, would not be the object of faith; the Church could not say anything about the notions of rational science, and if it did say something, it would not be infallible: and this would be the case with the Church's definitions of the immortality of the human soul, its union with the body, the creation of souls, and so on; moreover, who defines what is the object of science and of faith?Finally, the Vatican Council would have been wrong when it affirmed that there are revealed truths that can be attained by natural reason.

No doubt these objections are serious. The interpretation of the Bible became a major problem during the 19th century, and provoked interventions by the Popes which finally led the Catholic Church to admit a more nuanced interpretation of the sacred texts, taking into account the literary genres of the different writings. Zigliara describes Caverni's ideas as a "horrible theory", which leads to accepting as revealed truths in Genesis only the original creation of the world, the preservation by divine action of created beings and the like, leaving out everything that refers to the particular ways in which God formed the world. Zigliara sample his absolute disagreement with the attribution of inaccuracies to Moses, and says that this "is an impious reproach addressed to God Himself". Zigliara elaborates at length on these reproaches, says that a child could respond to Caverni's ideas, and calls his method of interpreting Scripture "horribly false and scandalous", saying that it nevertheless lies at the heart of Caverni's book. agreement The Holy Fathers do not agree with Caverni's interpretation proposal , but, according to Caverni, they were influenced in human affairs by the ideas of their time, including pagan traditions. "These affirmations of Caverni, concludes Zigliara, are his condemnation, and they dispense me from the task of refuting the insignificant temerity of his exegesis".

We now come to the third part of report, devoted to the origin of man. Zigliara stresses that Caverni is only half a Darwinist: the arguments of Anatomy which he finds convincing in establishing the genealogical relationship between different types of animals, seem to him to be mere analogies when it comes to the human being. But Zigliara thinks, probably rightly, that this is not very convincing. Why deny the continuity of the two cases? Caverni is determined to show that thought does not come out of the brain, but he relies, in large part, on the Philosophy of ontologism. This was a philosophical doctrine proposal at that time by Gioberti and Rosmini, according to which we have a general or indeterminate intuition of God, which does not arise from the knowledge of the senses. But ontologism was the object of criticism within the Church, so much so that, for Zigliara, the remedy was worse than the disease: trying to avoid the drawbacks of materialism, Caverni ended up in ontologism. Zigliara criticised him for seeing in ontologism only the test of the spiritual character of the human being, and described this position as "impertinence and ignorance".

There still remains the reduction of the animal to a machine, whose mechanisms, Caverni warns, are unknown to us for the moment. Zigliara says that this error is even worse than the previous one, and criticises it severely. Carverni thinks that if passions, soul and mind are admitted in animals, the distinction between them and the human being would collapse, and this leads him to affirm that animals are automatons, like machines. But in this way, warns Zigliara, Caverni ends up in materialism, even if he does not want it; even Scripture attributes to animals a living soul. Moreover, such a doctrine is opposed to the most obvious facts, because animals have report, fantasy and esteem: and if all this is reduced to subject, why should the same not be done with human animality? It seems clear that these reproaches of Zigliara are well founded.

Caverni says that he is not going to argue with Darwin about the origin of the human body, but he implies that the essential difference between man and animal could have come simply from a "gleam of the most vivid light", of divine origin, thanks to which the brain became human; perhaps a new brain was formed naturally, or perhaps the brain of the animal became human on receiving that light: in any case, although Caverni does not seem to want to discuss the origin of the body of the first man, he also seems to imply that this origin was due to evolution. Zigliara reproaches Caverni for having got himself into a real labyrinth by trying to explain, with no success and little clarity, the difference between man and animal: "the more he thinks he gets out [of the labyrinth], the deeper he goes into materialism". After these criticisms, all that remains is the final summary and the conclusion.

Proposal to ban the book  

Zigliara summarises everything he has said in his report in three points, which he considers to be the substance of Caverni's book, and which we reproduce verbatim:

a. Caverni defends the Darwinian system of primitive cells and their successive evolution and transformation into the species of brute animals, by means of the principle of natural selection; and Darwinian evolution, as Vera rightly says, is nothing but the material part of absolute evolutionism, which is Hegelian pantheism.

b. Caverni's exegetical criteria on Sacred Scripture are absurd, taking away from divine inspiration, and therefore from infallibility, everything in it that can be the object of natural science. Hence the corollary of admitting Darwinism or any other physiological, geological, etc. system, even if it is manifestly opposed to Sacred Scripture. And when, in spite of everything, Caverni tries to reduce the Genesis of Moses to the Darwinian genesis, he himself confesses that he is at variance with the common interpretation of the exegetes and the Holy Fathers.

c. When he [Caverni] then tries to save man from Darwinian inebriation, he makes useless efforts, because he has conceded the Darwinian premises; he says that Darwinism can only be refuted by ontologism; he is forced to deny animal life to brutes; and he admits that the human soul may be, and indeed perhaps perhaps is, a divine irradiation on the brains of brutes. In short, Caverni, in my opinion, goes with his doctrines straight towards materialism, not because that is his intention, for he even tries to refute materialism, but because of the reality of his doctrine.32.

Obviously, the practical consequences of this judgement could not be too positive. This is its literal transcription 33:

These [those just collected] are the substantial points of Caverni's book. Other points could be made which, in comparison with these, I would say are secondary, but there is no need to transcribe them, because the former seem to me sufficient to conclude that the book, in spite of its good parts, deserves to be included in the Index of banned books. It is written in an imaginative and poetic style, which makes it all the more dangerous. Moreover, I find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to think of correcting it, as can be seen from the examination I have just made. I do not know whether it would be advisable to get the Archbishop of Florence to take some steps with the author, not only to obtain his submission, but also to persuade him not to publish, without prior examination, the other work on The Origin of Man which he promises in the Preface, and which I do not know whether he has sent to the printers. As I have said, Caverni has wit, and being versed, as he really is, in physiological programs of study , he might, if he took the right direction, bring not a few advantages to science.

In submitting this humble opinion of mine to the wise judgement of Your Most Reverend Excellencies, I kiss the sacred purple and I reaffirm myself

From Their Most Reverend Excellencies
Rome, 25 May 1878
Most Humble, Devoted and Confident Servant
Fra Tommaso M. Zigliara, Dominican

Caverni had hit a hard nut, who was not afraid to go to the end of the arguments. The philosophical part of report might seem opinionated, but the criticism of Caverni's exegetical canons, at that time, was important, and the part concerning the origin of man was a rather weak aspect of Caverni's book.

As the usual rules laid down, the report was printed and discussed in two successive meetings. At the "Preparatory Congregation" the consultors were present with the Secretary of the Congregation. The result of this meeting was then discussed by the cardinal members of the Congregation in the "General Congregation".

The Preparatory Congregation of 27 June 1878  

The corresponding form kept at file of the Congregation reported that the Preparatory Congregation in which Caverni's book was discussed was held on Thursday, 27 June 1878, at the Secretary's house (situated in Rome, via Sudario issue 40). Present were the Secretary and 13 consultors, whose names are given at .34. Among these consultants were Zigliara, author of the report on Caverni's book, and Tripepi, who intervened years later in another case concerning evolutionism. Both Zigliara and Tripepi were later elevated to the cardinalate.

As usual, an order was established for the books to be examined, an order which was subsequently maintained by the General Congregation. This simplified the formalities: it was sufficient to refer to the corresponding issue , and this was done. In this case, six books and one booklet were examined, and Caverni's book was examined at issue 5.

The form summary of the Preparatory Congregation indicates, as usual, only the result of the examination. On book 1, all were in agreement agreement in proposing that it be banned. On issue 2, all the consultors except two agreed agreement with the proposal of the consultant who had drawn up the report. On issue 3, eight thought it should be banned, and the others thought it should be "disregarded" (i.e., no action should be taken). As can be seen in these cases and in the others that were examined in that meeting, the examination of each book ended with a vote, whose result was reflected in writing, to be taken into account in the following steps. On issue 5, which was Caverni's book, we read: "They said that it should be prohibited, adding: that the author be heard before the Decree is published". So there was unanimity. The desire to hear the author was customary when the author was, as in this case, a priest; the decision was communicated to him so that he could accept it, in which case, when the Decree was published, the clause "the author has laudably submitted and reproved the work" was added, which was interpreted as a praise of the author, because it manifested his good dispositions and his intention to obey what was ordered by the authorities of the Church.

The result of the preparatory Congregation was then examined by the Congregation of Cardinals or General Congregation, which usually took place a few days later.

The General Congregation of 1 July 1878  

The General Congregation of the Index took place in the Vatican Apostolic Palace on Monday 1 July 187835. This meeting was on another level. The cardinals listened to the reports prepared by the rapporteurs, had the result of the Preparatory Congregation, and then, on their own, discussed each book and a final vote was taken to establish a decision which would then be transmitted by the Secretary of the Congregation to the Pope.

It was normal for the Secretary to write a fairly extensive summary of the discussions and the final vote, indicating the main reasons given. This document, which again contained the books in the same order as in the Congregations, was used by the Secretary to inform the Pope, so that the Pope could decide with knowledge whether he approved the decision of the cardinals. It was usual for him to approve it.

We know the decision of the Cardinals because the handwritten report of the General Congregation of 1 July 1878 is preserved at file .36. It lists the names of the nine cardinals who were present at the meeting. Although there were sometimes lengthy and heated discussions (and there is evidence of this in various reports of other meetings), the final report usually contained only a brief summary of what had been discussed at the meeting. In any case, the part referring to Caverni's book is quite extensive and occupies more than one page written in tight handwriting. This is the text:

De' nuovi studi della filosofia. Discorsi di Raffaello Caverni a un giovane studente. This work deserves serious and special attention. In it Darwinism is exposed and in part approved, [saying] that it has many points of contact with religious doctrine, especially with Genesis and with other books of the Bible. So far the Holy See has not issued any decision on this system. Therefore, if Caverni's work is condemned, as it should be, Darwinism would be indirectly condemned. Certainly one will cry out against this decision; one will plead the example of Galileo; one will say that this Sacred Congregation is not a competent tribunal to pass judgement on physiological, palaeontological or dynamical doctrines. But these probable fusses are to be disregarded. With his system, Darwin shatters the foundations of revelation and manifestly teaches pantheism and an abject materialism. It is therefore not only useful, but even necessary, to condemn Darwin indirectly, and along with him Caverni, who is his advocate and propagator among the Italian youth.

No less reprehensible are the exegetical canons on the Sacred Scripture of the same Caverni, as consultant Father Zigliara wisely warns in his vow, since the divine inspiration of the Sacred Scripture wants to limit itself to revealed dogmas and morals, leaving out of infallibility all that the sacred writers could learn through the study of the natural sciences. This exegetical system has recently been reproved by this Sacred Congregation in the examination and observations on the work of Canon Wies.

As the opinion of the consultors was unanimous, so was that of the Most Eminent Cardinals; namely, that the work be proscribed, together with two warnings about the interpellation to be made to the author to obtain submission and to induce him to desist from his plan to publish in print his work on the origin of man.

We know, therefore, that there was unanimity in the decision, both on the part of the consultors (Preparatory Congregation) and the cardinals (General Congregation). It also seems that Zigliara's authority played an important role, since in the final summary he is nominally quotation and his reasoning is accepted, even that which might seem the most drastic, i.e. accusing Darwinism of being a materialistic pantheism. It is also worth noting the importance given to the problem of the interpretation of Sacred Scripture. It is claimed that Darwinism clashes with the foundations of Christian revelation, and this, together with its consequences (it leads to materialistic pantheism), is what leads to the condemnation of Caverni's book.

Moreover, this handwritten account is of particular importance because of the significance it is intended to give to the Congregation's decision. It is said, and this is an important fact, that up to that time (1 July 1878), the Holy See had not pronounced on Darwinism. This is a fact. And it is claimed that the banning of Caverni's book would mean an "indirect condemnation" of Darwinism. What does this mean?

According to this handwritten account, the Congregation of the Index wished to condemn Darwinism. But its skill was ordinarily limited to examining publications and determining whether or not they were included in the Index of banned books. This is why one speaks of an "indirect condemnation": if a book advocating Darwinism is condemned, the book is directly condemned, but the doctrine it contains is indirectly condemned. However, given that the decree of condemnation was the only thing that was made public, and that it did not specify the reasons for the condemnation, one could not even speak of an indirect condemnation of Darwinism. The only decision that was made public was the condemnation of the book. It could be thought, as we have seen, that the book was condemned because of its criticism of the ecclesiastical world, or because of the criteria it proposed for interpreting the Sacred Scripture, which, as we have seen, had a great influence on the condemnation.

The Papal Audience and the promulgation of the Decree  

There was still the final step. The decision of the cardinals did not acquire the status of an official decision until it was approved by the Pope and promulgated in a public manner.

The Pope's approval took place in the course of an audience at which the Pope would receive the Secretary of the Congregation of the Index, who would transmit to the Pope the decision of the cardinals. He would probably read aloud to him the summaries he had prepared in writing in preparation for the audience. In our case, he would read to him, in addition to the summaries of the deliberations concerning the other books, the summary on Caverni's book that we have just reproduced.

Ordinarily the Pope approved what the cardinals had decided. The audience usually took place shortly after the Congregation of Cardinals had been held. In this case, Pope Leo XIII, who had been Pope for only a few months, received the Secretary of the Index on 10 July 1878, and approved the Decree foreseen37. Caverni's book would be included in the Index of forbidden books, hearing Caverni first to try to make him retract and to dissuade him from publishing the new book on the origin of man.

Caverni's reaction  

A few months after his book was published, adverse rumours reached Caverni. As we have seen, on 9 November 1877 his book had already been denounced to the Index. Although the denunciation was made in a secretive manner, word spread. It is known that the rumours spread in Montelupo, Caverni's home town, because on 29 November 1877 Caverni wrote a long letter to the parish priest of Montelupo. He sent him a copy of the book so that he could see for himself what was true in the gossip, and attributed the denunciation of the book and the gossip to "some very ignorant fanatical priests". Among other things he said:

I am accompanying my book with this letter, dedicating it first to you, and then to my fellow countrymen who are willing or able to read it. The whole beginning of so much war stems from some sentences with which I perhaps openly tried to retract the secular clergy and especially the parish priests from the yoke that it seems to me the friars and particularly the Jesuits wanted to put on their necks and I say that it would be more useful to read the Scriptures and the Fathers than La Civiltà Cattolica. The priests who have felt beaten have roared like wild beasts irritated at the open wound and looking for a way to take revenge have rummaged through my book...

Therefore, you should know that in the current controversies between science and faith, I have wanted to interfere a little as a peacemaker and at purpose of Darwin I have said that once it has been demonstrated that man cannot come from the monkey, it matters little to religion to admit for the other animal species the Darwinian system of the transformation of the species.

This is in conclusion the substance of all my heresies....

The ignorant fanatics who have spread scandal among their people are rejoicing because they say that my opinion will be condemned.... It seems to me that it is true that in Rome this book is being examined, but for the moment I do not know that it has been condemned. But at any rate if I were shown to have been wrong and I confessed my error I do not think I deserve the insults of those people.38...

As we have seen, the condemnation of the book was not decided until 10 July 1878. Two days later, on 12 July, Caverni was summoned by Monsignor Amerigo Barsi, vicar general of the diocese of Florence, who always treated him in a friendly manner. Barsi informed him of the condemnation, and also that he was asked not to publish his new book on the origin of man. It is supposed that he also indicated to him the desirability of showing his submission to the decision of the Congregation of the Index. On 13 July Caverni wrote to the Archbishop of Florence, who was in Rome, saying that he intended to submit, although he was puzzled about the other book, which was largely still only in his mind. The archbishop expressed his satisfaction on behalf of himself, the Congregation and the Pope himself, and on 31 August Caverni wrote to him again, thanking him for sending him the original of the letter of the Secretary of the Congregation of the Index on the condemnation of his book, and expressing his good dispositions .39.

Once Caverni showed his acceptance of the condemnation, the Decree which included the banning of his book, and five others, was published on 31 July 1878.

Three years later, Caverni published his book on the origin of the man40. He is not recorded as having any problems, which is logical because he argued that the available scientific data were uncertain and did not allow any hypothesis on the antiquity of the origin of man. Caverni claimed that believers could attend without any fear of the debates of scientists on this problem, because science was not in a position to contradict what God wanted to reveal to us.

It was only later that Caverni wrote and published his great work on the history of experimental method in Italy, with which he achieved a place in the historiography of science. He always remained faithful to his ecclesiastical duties.

The meaning of "indirect" sentencing  

In order to assess the extent of the condemnation of Caverni's book, we must return to the problem posed by the "indirect condemnation" of Darwinism that was intended by the Congregation of the Index.

We have seen that the Secretary of the Congregation, in his summary for the audience with the Pope, attributed to the prohibition of Caverni's book the value of an "indirect condemnation" of Darwinism. But the condemnation was so indirect that anyone not involved in the matter would not even suspect that Darwinism was to be condemned. Neither evolutionism nor Darwinism was mentioned at degree scroll of the book. The decree of the Congregation of the Index did not give any explanation, but simply made public the banning of the book without explaining the reasons. Caverni himself attributed the condemnation to the ignorant fanaticism of those who felt criticised by him, and that opinion has lasted to this day. No one quotation to Caverni when speaking of the actions of the Church against evolutionism, and this is logical if one takes into account the circumstances just mentioned.

Years later, in the 1890s, there were several acts of the Holy See with regard to evolutionism that reached the general public. La Civiltà Cattolica gave them all the coverage it could, but even then it did not mention Caverni's case. Did it go unnoticed even by La Civiltà? We know it did not. Caverni's book provoked, when it was published in 1877, a very critical double review from the Jesuit Salis Seewis. This same Jesuit published in the same magazine, in 1897, another review, no less critical, of a book by John Zahm, who, like Caverni, tried to reconcile evolutionism and Christianity. However, neither on that occasion, nor in the other articles he published against evolutionism at the time, did La Civiltà refer to the condemnation of Caverni's book, which could have been useful for its argumentation.

Why this important and no doubt voluntary omission? We can only conjecture the reasons. The simplest explanation is that the only public information about the condemnation of Caverni's book was the Decree of prohibition, which, as we have seen, did not specify the reasons for the condemnation, which could be unrelated, or only partly related, to evolutionism. Not even the Jesuits of La Civiltà Cattolica could go any further.

The "indirect condemnation" of Darwinism was rather ineffective. The degree scroll of Caverni's book did not mention evolutionism, and the decree by which it was included in the list of banned books did not specify the reasons for the condemnation, which remained hidden in the archives of the Congregation until it was possible to shake the dust off the documents and verify the motives and intention of that prohibition. In citing the actions of the Holy See against evolutionism, the case of Caverni is not usually cited, and has remained in the shadows until today.



(1 ) C. Pesch, Praelectiones dogmaticae quas in Collegio Ditton-Hall habebat, volume III, De De Deo creante et elevante. De Deo fine ultimo, 3rd ed. (Freiburg: Herder, 1908), pp. 58-59; A. Tanquerey, Synopsis Theologiae Dogmaticae Specialis, vol. 1, de Fide, de Deo Uno et trino, de Deo Creante et Elevante, de Verbo Incarnato, 13th ed. (Roma-Tournai-Paris: Desclée, 1911), pp. 504-505; B. Beraza, Tractatus de Deo Creante et Elevante, de Fide, de Deo Uno et Trino, de Deo Creante et Elevante, de Verbo Incarnato, 13th ed. Beraza, Tractatus de Deo creante (Bilbao: Elexpuru, 1921), pp. 467-476; C. Boyer, Tractatus de Deo creante et elevante, 3rd ed. Rahner,De Deo creante et elevante et de peccato originali, pro manuscripto (notes) (Innsbruck, 1953), p. 76; P. Parente,Collectio theologica romana, vol. IV: De creatione universali, 4th ed. (Torino: Marietti, 1959), p. 73.

(2 ) Leroy's letter, originally published in Le Monde, was reproduced in: S. Brandi, "Evoluzione e domma", La Civiltà Cattolica, series 17, vol. 5, 1899, p. 49.

(3 ) Zahm's letter, originally published in the Gazzetta di Malta, was reproduced in the section "Cronaca contemporanea" of La Civiltà Cattolica, series 17, vol. 7, 1899, p. 125.

(4 ) Bonomelli's letter, originally published in La Lega Lombarda, was reproduced, with a brief introduction, in the section "Cronaca contemporanea" of La Civiltà Cattolica, series 17, vol. 4, 1898, pp. 362-363.

(5 ) S. Brandi, "Evoluzione e domma. Erronee informazioni di un inglese", La Civiltà Cattolica, serie 18, vol. 6, 1902, pp. 75-77.

(6 ) certificate Sanctae Saedis, 11 (1878), p. 204 (reprinted by Johnson Reprint Corporation, 1968, which in turn reproduces the Vatican edition of 1916).

(7 ) S. Pagnini, Profilo di Raffaello Caverni (1837-1900) con appendice documentaria (Firenze: Pagnini e Martinelli, 2001), p. 43.

(8 ) V. Cappelletti and F. di Trocchio, 'Caverni, Raffaello', Dizionario biografico degli italiani, vol. 23 (Rome: Società Grafica Romana, 1979), p. 86.

(9 ) We use as sources the writings already cited by Pagnini and Cappelletti-di Trocchio, and also: Raffaello Caverni, 1837-1900. Antologia di scritti, a cura di Umberto Betti. Note biografiche, storico-genealigiche di Gian Piero Pagnini (Firenze: Giampiero Pagnini, 1991).

(10 ) R. Caverni, Storia del metodo sperimentale in Italia, 6 volumes (Firenze: Civelli, 1891-1910). Anastatic reprint: Bologna, Forni, 1970 and New York, Johnson Reprint Corporation, 1972.

(11 ) An interesting appreciation of Caverni can be found in: G. Castagnetti and M. Camerota, "Raffaello Caverni and his "History of the Experimental Method in Italy", in: J. Renn (publisher), Galileo in Context (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 327-339.

(12 ) Garin, Science and Civil Life in the Italian Renaissance (Madrid: Taurus, 1982), pp. 74-75.

(13 ) R. Caverni, De' nuovi studi della Filosofia. Discorsi a un giovane studente (Florence: Carnesecchi, 1877).

(14 ) Ibid., pp. 24-28.

(15 ) Ibid., p. 172.

(16 ) F. Salis Seewis, review of "De' nuovi studi della Filosofia. Discorsi di Raffaello Caverni a un giovane studente", La Civiltà Cattolica: (I) series 10, vol. 4, 1877, pp. 570-580; (II) series 10, vol. 5, 1878, pp. 65-76.

(17 ) Ibid. (II), p. 66.

(18 ) Ibid., p. 67.

(19 ) The articles, which comprised 41 sections, were published in: La Civiltà Cattolica, series 10, vol. 5, 1878, pp. 52-64, 160-173, 288-297, 527-539; series 10, vol. 6, 1878, pp. 17-34, 269-278, 685-696; series 10, vol. 7, 1878, pp. 166-176, 432-443, 674,691; series 10, vol. 8, 1878, pp. 158-171, 397-410, 670-682; series 10, vol. 9, 1879, pp. 158-170, 324-334, 556, 569; series 10, vol. 10, 1879, pp. 35-45, 291-301, 542-555; series 10, vol. 11, 1879, pp. 19-28, 174-182, 284-294, 579-589; series 10, vol. 12, 1879, pp. 33-48, 291-300, 548-559; series 11, vol. 1, 1880, pp. 142-154, 411-4233; series 11, vol. 1, 1880, pp. 142-154, 411-4233; series 11, vol. 1, 1880, pp. 142-154, 411-423; series 11, vol. 2, 1880, pp. 34-44, 272-284, 560-571; series 11, vol. 3, 1880, pp. 40-56, 273-283, 538-552, 680-695; series 11, vol. 4, 1880, pp. 38-51, 159-171. The references to this series of articles are not complete even in the Indexes published by La Civiltà Cattolica.

(20 ) P. Caterini, Dell'Origine dell'Uomo secondo il Trasformismo. Esame Scientifico, Filosofico, Teologico (Prato: Giachetti, 1884). A review of the book can be found in: La Civiltà Cattolica, series 12, vol. 6, 1884, pp. 73-76.

(21 ) P. Caterini, "La scienza e l'uomo bestia", XXXIV: La Civiltà Cattolica, series 11, vol. 2, 1880, pp. 274-277.

(22 ) P. Caterini, "La scienza e l'uomo bestia", XXXV: La Civiltà Cattolica, series 11, vol. 2, 1880, pp. 564-565.

(23 ) P. Caterini, "D'alcuni principii filosofici rispetto al trasformismo", XXXVII: La Civiltà Cattolica, serie 11, vol. 3, 1880, pp. 279-280.

(24 ) P. Caterini, "Come entrino la fede e la teologia nella questione trasformistica", XXXIX, La Civiltà Cattolica, series 11, vol. 3, 1880, p. 681.

(25 ) P. Caterini, "Come entrino la fede e la teologia nella questione trasformistica", XLI, La Civiltà Cattolica, series 11, vol. 4, 1880, p. 171.

(26 ) ACDF, Index, Protocolli 1875-1878, folio 342.

(27 ) ACDF, Index, Atti e documenti 1878-1885, folio 4.

(28 ) F. Salis Seewis, reviews of: C. James, "Du Darwinisme, ou l'Homme Singe" (Paris: Plon, 1877), and E. de Hartmann, "Le Darwinisme. Ce qu'il y a de vrai et de faux dans cette théorie" (Paris: Guéroult, 1877), La Civiltà Cattolica, series 10, vol. 2, 1877, pp. 449-458.

(29 ) T. Zigliara, Summa philosophica in usum scholarum, 8th edition (Paris and Lyon: Delhomme et Briguet, 1891), volume II, pp. 148-153.

(30 ) T. Zigliara, Propaedeutica ad Sacram theologiam in usum scholarum, 4th edition (Rome: Tipografia della S. C. de Propaganda Fide, 1897), pp. 27-28.

(31 ) ACDF, Index, Protocolli 1878-1881, fol. 71.

(32 ) Ibid., p. 18.

(33 ) Ibid., pp. 18-19.

(34 ) Ibid., fol. 66. See also: ACDF, Index, Diari, I, 20 (vol. XX: 1866-1889), p. 202.

(35 ) ACDF, Diari, I, 20 (vol. XX: 1866-1889), p. 203.

(36 ) ACDF, Index, Protocolli 1878-1881, fol. 73.

(37 ) ACDF, Index, Diari, I, 20 (vol. XX: 1866-1889), p. 204. A copy of the decree can be found in: ACDF, Index, Protocolli 1878-1881, fol. 76.

(38 ) The letter can be found at file Caverni, and is reproduced in: S. Pagnini, Profilo di Raffaello Caverni (1837-1900) con appendice documentaria (Firenze: Pagnini e Martinelli, 2001), pp. 40-41.

(39 ) Ibid., pp. 41-43.

(40 ) R. Caverni, Dell'antichità dell'uomo secondo la scienza moderna (Florence: Cellini, 1881).