What do you believe - Creationism or Evolution? Here are some quotes by Pope Benedict concerning the Church’s views:
We cannot say: creation or evolution, inasmuch as these two things respond to two different realities. The story of the dust of the earth and the breath of God, which we just heard, does not in fact explain how human persons come to be but rather what they are. It explains their inmost origin and casts light on the project that they are. And, vice versa, the theory of evolution seeks to understand and describe biological developments. But in so doing it cannot explain where the ‘project’ of human persons comes from, nor their inner origin, nor their particular nature. To that extent we are faced here with two complementary – rather than mutually exclusive – realities.
– Cardinal Ratzinger, In the Beginning: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall [Eerdmans, 1986, 1995], see especially pages 41-58)[page # needed]
In a book released in 2008, his comments prior to becoming Pope were recorded as:
The clay became man at the moment in which a being for the first time was capable of forming, however dimly, the thought of “God.” The first Thou that–however stammeringly–was said by human lips to God marks the moment in which the spirit arose in the world. Here the Rubicon of anthropogenesis was crossed. For it is not the use of weapons or fire, not new methods of cruelty or of useful activity, that constitute man, but rather his ability to be immediately in relation to God. This holds fast to the doctrine of the special creation of man . . . herein . . . lies the reason why the moment of anthropogenesis cannot possibly be determined by paleontology: anthropogenesis is the rise of the spirit, which cannot be excavated with a shovel. The theory of evolution does not invalidate the faith, nor does it corroborate it. But it does challenge the faith to understand itself more profoundly and thus to help man to understand himself and to become increasingly what he is: the being who is supposed to say Thou to God in eternity.
– Joseph Ratzinger