The Pope has weighed into the age-old debate between religion and science over the universe's origins, telling worshipers gathered at St. Peter's Basilica that God was behind the Big Bang.
In a sermon marking the Epiphany, the day when Bible says three kings gathered at the site where Jesus was born by following a star, Pope Benedict XVI said "the universe is not the result of chance, as some would want to make us believe."
"Contemplating it (the universe) we are invited to read something profound into it: the wisdom of the creator, the inexhaustible creativity of God," he said.
This is believed to be the first time that the Pope has publicly shared his thoughts on the Big Bang, a theory put forward by scientists to explain the formation of the universe. However, the Pontiff's comments were in line with recent moves by the church to dispel the image that it is anti-science. "The Church never fears the truth of science, because we are convinced that all truth comes from God," Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, Vatican City's governor, said during a visitlast year to the atom smashing complex at CERN. "Science will help our faith to purify itself. And faith at the same time will be able to broaden the horizons of man, who cannot just enclose himself in the horizons of science."
In 2000, Pope John Paul II apologized for putting Galileo on trial as part of a sweeping sermon asking forgiveness for the Church's sins.