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Pope John Paul II in an October 22, 1996 address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences discusses evolution and why the broader church has particular interest in that area of scientific investigation:
I am pleased with the first theme you have chosen, that of the origins of life and evolution, an essential subject which deeply interests the Church, since Revelation, for its part, contains teaching concerning the nature and origins of man. How do the conclusions reached by the various scientific disciplines coincide with those contained in the message of Revelation? And if, at first sight, there are apparent contradictions, in what direction do we look for their solution? We know, in fact, that truth cannot contradict truth….
The Church’s Magisterium is directly concerned with the question of evolution, for it involves the conception of man: Revelation teaches us that he was created in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gn 1:27-29) The Conciliar Constitution Gaudium et Spes magnificently explained this doctrine, which is pivotal to Christian thought. It recalled that man is “the only creature on earth that God has wanted for its own sake” (n. 24). In other terms, the human individual cannot be subordinated as a pure means or a pure instrument, either to the species or to society; he has value per se. He is a person. With his intellect and his will, he is capable of forming a relationship of communion, solidarity and self-giving with his peers.
Click here for the full text of John Paul II’s discussion from the Pontifical Academy of Sciences web page.
Click here for the full text of John Paul II’s discussion, from the Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science (Inters.org), which is edited by the Advanced School for Interdisciplinary Research, operating at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, and directed by Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti.