I have read elsewhere that some think Pope Benedict (or JPII) has concluded that evolution is fact. As I suspected, his true position is much more complicated. From what I’ve read about his position, I tend to agree with his analysis.
In the beginning
The debate over creation and evolution, once most conspicuous in America, is fast going global
A much more nuanced critique, not of Darwin himself but of secular world-views based on Darwin’s ideas, has been advanced by Pope Benedict XVI, the conservative Bavarian who assumed the most powerful office in the Christian world two years ago. The pope marked his 80th birthday this week by publishing a book on Jesus Christ. But for Vatican-watchers, an equally important event was the issue in German, a few days earlier, of a book in which the pontiff and several key advisers expound their views on the emergence of the universe and life. While avoiding the cruder arguments that have been used to challenge Darwin’s theories, the pope asserts that evolution cannot be conclusively proved; (emphasis mine) and that the manner in which life developed was indicative of a “divine reason” which could not be discerned by scientific methods alone.
Both in his previous role as the chief enforcer of Catholic doctrine and since his enthronement, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has made clear his profound belief that man has a unique, God-given role in the animal kingdom; and that a divine creator has an ongoing role in sustaining the universe, something far more than just “lighting the blue touch paper” for the Big Bang, the event that scientists think set the universe in motion.