cardinal schönborn, who wrote the op-ed, said it wasn't officially approved by the vatican but that our new pope had personally encouraged him to write it:
In a telephone interview from a monastery in Austria, where he was on retreat, the cardinal said that his essay had not been approved by the Vatican, but that two or three weeks before Pope Benedict XVI's election in April, he spoke with the pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, about the church's position on evolution. "I said I would like to have a more explicit statement about that, and he encouraged me to go on," said Cardinal Schönborn.
the op-ed cherry picks quotes to suggest that not only does pope benedict not believe in darwinian evolution, but john paul didn't either, and the church never did either. this is a "clarification" according to schönborn.
turn off your irony meters before reading the final two paragraphs of the op-ed, because you might otherwise get some vicious feedback when schönborn claims to be "standing in firm defense of reason" against all those irrational biologists:
Throughout history the church has defended the truths of faith given by Jesus Christ. But in the modern era, the Catholic Church is in the odd position of standing in firm defense of reason as well. In the 19th century, the First Vatican Council taught a world newly enthralled by the "death of God" that by the use of reason alone mankind could come to know the reality of the Uncaused Cause, the First Mover, the God of the philosophers.
Now at the beginning of the 21st century, faced with scientific claims like neo-Darwinism and the multiverse hypothesis in cosmology invented to avoid the overwhelming evidence for purpose and design found in modern science, the Catholic Church will again defend human reason by proclaiming that the immanent design evident in nature is real. Scientific theories that try to explain away the appearance of design as the result of "chance and necessity" are not scientific at all, but, as John Paul put it, an abdication of human intelligence.¶