UPDATE: It turns out to be an “intelligent plan”
The Pope’s statement (see below) at his weekly address was even stronger than first reported. ZENIT reports:
“When the Pontiff finished his address, he put his papers to one side and commented on the thought of St. Basil the Great, a Doctor of the Church, who said that some, “deceived by the atheism they bear within them, imagined the universe deprived of a guide and order, at the mercy of chance.”
“I believe the words of this fourth-century Father are of amazing timeliness,” said Benedict XVI.
“How many are these ‘some’ today?”
“Deceived by atheism, they believe and try to demonstrate that it is scientific to think that everything lacks a guide and order,” he continued. “The Lord, with sacred Scripture, awakens the drowsy reason and says to us: In the beginning is the creative Word. In the beginning the creative Word — this Word that has created everything, which has created this intelligent plan, the cosmos — is also Love.”
Seattle — Discovery Institute president Bruce Chapman hailed an impromptu statement Wednesday by Pope Benedict XVI embracing the “intelligent project” that lies behind nature. “Fooled by atheism,” the Pope said, many people today “think, and try to demonstrate, that everything is without direction and order…”
Instead, said the Pope, “Through sacred Scripture, the Lord awakens the reason that sleeps, and tells us that in the beginning is the creative word, the creative reason, that has created everything, that has created this intelligent project of the cosmos.”
In attendance at the Pope’s regular Wednesday audience where the comments were made was Christoph Cardinal Schönborn of Austria, a friend and collaborator of the Pope who has written a number of articles critical of scientific materialism and defending traditional Catholic concepts of the intelligibility of design in nature. “It may be that the Pope was implicitly showing support for the Cardinal’s work,” said Discovery Institute President Bruce Chapman in Seattle. Many of the scientists active in the intelligent design movement are affiliated with Discovery Institute.
“Scientists exploring the idea of design in nature,” said Chapman, “are bound to be encouraged by yet another indication that Pope Benedict is standing firm on the church’s traditional opposition to materialist philosophy in science and other fields. The Pope’s statement about ‘the reason that sleeps’ shows that he, like Cardinal Schönborn, sees the crucial issue as not whether one can know the order in nature by faith, but whether human reason is capable of grasping design.”
“Further, he seems to be cautioning those who have been claiming Church endorsement of the full-bodied, design-defeating version of Darwin’s theory of evolution, which, after all, is often little more than philosophical materialism applied to science,” added Chapman.
Chapman noted that in his very first homily as Pope, Benedict XVI had rebuked the idea that human beings are mere products of evolution, and that, like his predecessor, John Paul II, the new Pope has a long record of opposition to scientific materialism.
Chapman also said that the Pope’s latest statement is likely to call further attention to the series of nine catechetical lectures on evolution and creation that Cardinal Schönborn is in the midst of delivering.