POPE Benedict has said there is substantial scientific proof of the theory of evolution.
The Pope, speaking as he was concluding his holiday in northern Italy, also said the human race must listen to "the voice of the Earth" or risk destroying its very existence.
In a talk with 400 priests, the Pope spoke of the current debate raging in some countries, particularly the US and his native Germany, between creationism and evolution.
“They are presented as alternatives that exclude each other,” the Pope said.
“This clash is an absurdity because on one hand there is much scientific proof in favour of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and which enriches our understanding of life and being as such.”
But he said evolution did not answer all the questions and could not exclude a role by God.
“Above all it does not answer the great philosophical question 'where does everything come from?'“
His comments appear to be an endorsement of the doctrine of intelligent design.