(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis delivered an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Monday morning, on the occasion of the unveiling of a bust of his predecessor, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, in the Academy building at the Vatican. “Benedict XVI,” said Pope Francis, “[was] a great Pope: great for the power and penetration of his intellect, great for his significant contribution to theology, great for his love for the Church and of human beings, great for his virtue and piety.”
The unveiling of the bust came during the course of the Academicians’ Oct. 24-28 plenary meeting, dedicated to evolving concepts of nature.
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Pope Francis spoke to the theme of their gathering, noting that the Catholic intellectual tradition has always affirmed the fundamental compatibility of a natural order that unfolds and develops, with the idea that the universae has been made, and does not merely happen. “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation,” he said. “The scienctist,” he continued, “must [nevertheless] be moved by a trust in the idea that nature hides, within her evolutionary mechanisms, potentialities that it is the task of intellect and freedom to discover and actuate, in order to achieve the [kind of] development that is in the design of the Creator.”
Pope Francis concluded with a word of encouragement, calling on all the to continue their work and to carry forward those “happy” theoretical and practical initiatives for the benefit of human beings, which he said bring honor to science and scientists.