Unlike John Paul II, who seemed to sign off on conventional evolutionary theory save for the divine infusion of souls at the origin of humanity, we can expect Benedict XVI to single out intelligent design for special favors. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Michael Behe invited to an audience with the new pope. Consider the following remarks by the new pope on evolution and the intelligence underlying living forms:
Let us go directly to the question of evolution and its mechanisms. Microbiology and biochemistry have brought revolutionary insights here… They have brought us to the awareness that an organism and a machine have many points in common… Their functioning presupposes a precisely thought-through and therefore reasonable design…
It is the affair of the natural sciences to explain how the tree of life in particular continues to grow and how new branches shoot out from it. This is not a matter for faith. But we must have the audacity to say that the great projects of the living creation are not the products of chance and errorÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ (They) point to a creating Reason and show us a creating Intelligence, and they do so more luminously and radiantly today than ever before. Thus we can say today with a new certitude and joyousness that the human being is indeed a divine project, which only the creating Intelligence was strong and great and audacious enough to conceive of. Human beings are not a mistake but something willed.
–Jospeh Ratzinger, In the Beginning: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, 1986), p. 54.
I’m predicting that Bush and Benedict XVI will play much the same role in the distintegration of evolution (i.e., the ateleological materialistic form of it that currently dominates the West) as Reagan and John Paul II did in the disintegration of communism.