ROME - A Vatican cardinal said Tuesday that the Catholic Church does not stand in the way of scientific realities like evolution, though he described as "absurd" the atheist notion that evolution proves there is no God.
Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Levada said the Vatican believed there was a "wide spectrum of room" for belief in both the scientific basis for evolution and faith in God the creator.
"We believe that however creation has come about and evolved, ultimately God is the creator of all things," he said.
Church teaching holds that Catholicism and evolutionary theory are not necessarily at odds. The evolution conference will explore intelligent design later this week, although not as science or theology but as a cultural phenomenon.
In his remarks, Levada referred to both Dawkins and the debate over teaching creationism in schools in the United States. He declined to pinpoint the Vatican's views, saying merely: "The Vatican listens and learns."