Cardinal Paul Poupard is part of a Vatican project to try to end the conflict of religion and science. Among some of his featured comments:
"The permanent lesson that the Galileo case represents pushes us to keep alive the dialogue between the various disciplines, and in particular between theology and the natural sciences, if we want to prevent similar episodes from repeating themselves in the future."
"We also know the dangers of a religion that severs its links with reason and becomes prey to fundamentalism."
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."
He was asked about comments made in July by Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, who dismissed in a New York Times article the 1996 statement by John Paul as "rather vague and unimportant" and seemed to back intelligent design.
Basti concurred that John Paul's 1996 letter "is not a very clear expression from a definition point of view," but he said evolution was assuming ever more authority as scientific proof develops.