On February 24, 1966, in a speech to employers and workers of an important pharmacy company, Paul VI praised the core of the theory of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin on the evolution of the universe and pointed to it as a model for science. Even though Paul VI made some restrictions in his praise, it seems a strong endorsement of Teilhard's unorthodox theses.|
The excerpt we present is taken from Insegnamenti(1966), collections of texts which were at that time written as a kind of chronicle of what the Popes did and said. Later it became the official source for transcriptions of the original texts used by Pontiffs in their pronouncements.
At right is a picture of volume IV of the Insegnamenti di Paolo VI; at right, photocopies of the Italian text. Below, we present our translation of Paul VI's speech (only the part highlighted in yellow).
A famous scientist said: "The more I study material reality, the more I discover spiritual reality." One who scrutinizes material reality sees that there are laws within it. This world that appears to be opaque and inert is a marvellous thing.
The Pope thinks that the task of science - which can seem to alienate the masses, modern men, and youth from God - is to lead them back to God. Then, the world will be truly intelligent and will say: "I must submit my reason to what I see, I did not create this. The world was created by One who sprinkled wisdom in everything."
The Holy Father quotes Teilhard de Chardin, who gave an explanation of the universe that, among many fantastic and imprudent things, nonetheless understood how to find the intelligent principle that one should call God inside everything. Science itself, therefore, obliges us to be religious. Whoever is intelligent must kneel and say: "God is present here."
(Speech to Employers and Workers of a Pharmacy Company, February 24, 1966, in Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, Poliglotta Vaticana, 1966, pp. 992-993).