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The Vatican will publish the minutes of the Pope's recent meeting with his former doctoral students in which he discussed the Catholic Church's position on the origins of life, evolution, and creationism.

The meeting was called, aides say, not to align the Catholic Church with the Intelligent Design camp from the US, but to revive a public discussion of faith and reason.

Intelligent Design is presented as a counter to the theory of evolution, suggesting that life is too complex to have evolved without a designer, usually understood to be God. Proponents want it taught in science classes, alongside Darwin's theory.

Father Joseph Fessio, provost of Ave Maria University in Florida, told Reuters that described the session as "a meeting of friends with some scholars to discuss an interesting theme".

Fessio explained that the conclusion that God created the world is not a scientific position, but a philosophical one. This, he said, is where the Catholic Church differs from the creationist movement in the US.

He told the news service: "There's a controversy in the United States because there is a lack of awareness of a thing called philosophy. Evangelicals and creationists generally lack it and Catholics have it."

Pope Benedict has also argued that some scientists go too far in their interpretation of the theory of evolution, and make claims for it that are based on ideology, rather than science.

Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn said that the minutes would probably be published in November. ®

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