"The faithful have the obligation to listen to that which secular modern science has to offer, just as we ask that knowledge of the faith be taken in consideration as an expert voice in humanity."
Cardinal Paul Poupard, who heads the Pontifical Council for Culture and others at the news conference were asked about the religion-science debate raging in the United States over evolution and "intelligent design."
Intelligent design's supporters argue that natural selection, an element of evolutionary theory, cannot fully explain the origin of life or the emergence of highly complex life forms.
evolution is more than just a hypothesis
Monsignor Gianfranco Basti, director of the Vatican project STOQ, or Science, Theology and Ontological Quest, reaffirmed John Paul's 1996 statement that evolution was "more than just a hypothesis."
"A hypothesis asks whether something is true or false," he said. "(Evolution) is more than a hypothesis because there is proof."