An underappreciated achievement of Pope Benedict has been his consistent support for science. At time when the gulf between science and Christianity is widening in the United States -- polls show support for young earth creationism is on the rise -- Benedict was a quiet and powerful voice calling for Christians to embrace science.However, it should be remembered that it was not always the case that Pope Benedict supported evolution (sorry, the regular link is no longer active) and that he went through a "conversion" of sorts. This seems to have occurred somewhat quickly, although it is not possible to ascertain that for sure. In August of 2006, he fired the royal astronomer for his support of evolution but by early September, 2006, USA Today reported that, in published minutes, the pontiff had changed his mind.
Just over a year ago Benedict even founded a new organization -- The Science and Faith Foundation -- at the Vatican to continue and enlarge the task of building bridges between science and theology, and to ease concerns of Christians that their faith demands the rejection of science. The executive director Father Tomasz Trafny describes the mission as the search for a "coherent vision of society, culture and the human being," arguably the most important quest we confront today.
The minutes, to be issued later this year, will show how Catholic theologians see no contradiction between their belief in divine creation and the scientific theory of evolution, participants said after the annual closed-door meeting ended Sunday.Now that he is abdicating, I wonder what the new pope will think about evolution.