Thursday, July 26, 2007


Media Misses the Point: Pope Says Have Concern for the Planet Yes, but a Greater Concern for Human Life
Stresses evolution cannot explain creation of the universe

By John-Henry Westen

ROME, July 26, 2007 ( - Pope Benedict XVI's question and answer session with Italian clergy Tuesday has been reported on by the world's media, noting mostly his references to evolution and care for the planet. Most media have failed, however, to note that in his remarks on the necessity of care for the earth, the Pope explicitly noted the necessity of "absolute respect" for human life.

"We can all see today that man could destroy the foundation of his existence, the earth," he said. "Therefore we can no longer just simply do whatever we want with this earth which has been entrusted to us." We must, he said, "respect the inner laws of creation, of the earth, to learn these laws and obey these laws if we are to survive."

The Pope noted that this "obedience to the voice of the earth is more important for our future happiness than the voices of the moment, the desires of the moment." He said, "our own planet speaks with us and we should be listening if we want to survive and decipher this message about the earth."

Immediately following this statement Pope Benedict added this line which is left out of most mainstream media coverage: "And if we should be obedient to the voice of the earth, much more we must be obedient to the voice of human life."

The Pope added: "We not only take care of the earth, but we must respect the other, other human beings...only in absolute respect of other (humans)...can we make progress."

Just as with Pope John Paul II's comments on evolution in 1996, the world media pounced on Pope Benedict XVI's comments regarding evolution made in the same dialogue with the priests Tuesday. While many may mistakenly believe the Popes have endorsed evolutionary theory wholesale, that is not the case.

In fact, the Popes have consistently noted that evolution, while it may have portions of truth, is incomplete. Pope Benedict stated as much in his homily at his inaugural Mass as Pope in 2005. "We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution," he said. "Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary." (see the full homily here: )

In his remarks Tuesday, the Pope began his comments on evolution saying, "But the big problem is that if God is not present and is not the Creator of my life, in reality life is just a simple part of evolution, nothing else, it has no meaning in itself."

"I see right now in Germany and also in the United States quite an intense debate about so-called creationism and evolution, presented as if they were opposing views that exclude one another: he who believes in the Creator cannot consider evolution and he who instead affirms evolution must exclude God," he said. "This false dichotomy is an absurdity, because on the one hand there are may scientific arguments in favour of evolution that seems to be a reality that we must recognize and which enriches our understanding of life and of being as such."

"But the theory of evolution does not answer all the questions," he continued, "and does not answer above all the great philosophical question: from where does everything come? And how does this whole thing take a path that finally leads to man?"

Reason, he said, "sees these facts, but it also sees that these facts are not sufficient for explaining all of reality. It is not sufficient."

"Our reason is greater, and can see that our reason itself is not fundamentally something irrational, a product of irrationality, but rather reason precedes everything, reason creates, and that we are really the image of that creative reason," he stated.

See the full text of the Q&A with the Pope (in Italian) here: