No chance of world without reason, says Benedict

God's Creator Spirit is responsible for the cosmos as well as humanity and its reason which cannot be the mere "chance result of evolution", Pope Benedict told 300,000 listeners at a Regensburg, Germany, Mass yesterday.

Although Italian news agency ANSA interpreted the remarks as "his strongest criticism yet of evolutionary theory", the Pontiff's only direct reference to evolution was made as part of his reflection on God's creative role in the cosmos.

"We believe in God," Benedict XVI declared.

"But is such a thing still possible today? Is it reasonable? From the Enlightenment on, science, at least in part, has applied itself to seeking an explanation of the world in which God would be unnecessary."

However, whenever the attempt seemed to be nearing success, it would become clear that "something is missing from the equation", the Pope continued.

Pope Benedict said there are only two alternatives.

Either "Creative Reason" or the "Spirit" makes all things and gives them growth. Alternatively "Unreason", which lacks any meaning, still "somehow brings forth a mathematically ordered cosmos, as well as man and his reason".

"The latter, however, would then be nothing more than a chance result of evolution and thus, in the end, equally meaningless," the Pope said.

But Christians believe in the Creator Spirit, Benedict said.

"We believe that at the beginning of everything is the eternal Word, with Reason and not Unreason. With this faith we have no reason to hide, no fear of ending up in a dead end. We rejoice that we can know God! And we try to let others see the reasonableness of our faith".

Earlier, after visiting his birthplace in Markt am Inn, the Pope called on parents to embrace the Christian rituals that have fallen into disuse, such as taking children to Sunday school, kneeling in prayer at bedtime and saying grace before meals, the Times Online reports.

Benedict XVI's father, a policeman, and his mother were strict Catholics. His brother, Georg, who attended the Mass in Altötting yesterday, also became a priest.

Vatican: pope slams evolution (ANSA, 12/9/06)
Homily, Mass in Regensburg (Radio Vaticana, 12/9/06)
Pope pleads for new priests(The Australian, 12/9/06)
Return to old rituals, Pope tells families (Times Online, 12/9/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Benedict in Bayern website

Benedict says learn Gospel from Africa and Asia (CathNews, 11/9/06)
Benedict heads home to Bavaria, Germany (CathNews, 8/9/06)

13 Sep 2006