By Pat Ciarrocchi

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pope Francis hit the headlines again with his declaration that “God is not a magician.”

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The words came in an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, where the Pope told the group at the Vatican that there was no contradiction between believing in God, as well as the Big Bang Theory for the expansion of the Universe.

“When we read about creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so, “ Francis said. “He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that He gave to each one, so they would reach their fulfillment.”

But what about evolution and humans descending from apes? The Pope stepped aside from addressing that but did speak to evolution.

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“Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.” Francis said. “God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life.”

The Catholic News Service explains the differences between the Vatican’s thinking and more secular understandings of evolution.

“What the church does insist upon is that the emergence of the human supposes a willful act of God, and that man cannot be seen as only the product of evolutionary processes. The spiritual element of man is not something that could have developed from natural selection but required a “leap.”

With a little less than year until Pope Francis is to visit Philadelphia at the World Meeting of Families, his provocative statements have the faithful and others watching closely.

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