Editor's Note: Pope John Paul II transmitted the following open letter to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in October 1996. His letter is a statement of the Catholic Church's current position with respect to biological evolution. It is of interest in the context of discussions concerning creationism, religion, science, and science education. The original references included within the papal letter have been preserved, but the subheadings appearing throughout the text have been edited for space constraints. The statement is followed by a response from a microbiologist concerned with evolutionary issues.
To the Members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences taking part in the Plenary Assembly. . . . 1. In celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Academy's refoundation, I would like to recall the intentions of my predecessor Pius XI, who wished to surround himself with a select group of scholars, relying on them to inform the Holy See in complete freedom about...

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