On October 22, 1996, the Pope made an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences regarding evolution. It was the strongest statement that any Pope has made in favor of evolution.

The pope began his statement by reminding people that Pope Pius XII, in his 1950 encyclical "Humani Generis" proclaimed that "there was no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith..." The pope also noted that the encyclical "considered the doctrine of 'evolutionism' a serious hypothesis... equal to that of the opposing hypothesis.

He then went on to say that in the years since the publication of the encyclical, "new knowledge has led to the recognition of more than one1 hypothesis in the theory of evolution. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers..."

He concluded by saying that evolution is not counter to the magisterium provided that we believe that the human spirit was created by God.

1 The original message was in French most news media translated the statement as "..more than just a theory..." The tranlation above comes from the 'offical' L'Osservatore Romano.

The whole speech can be found at: http://www.origins.org/mc/resources/pope.html