The official Vatican position on evolution tilts towards intelligent design. Its point man on the subject, Cardinal Schönborn, says: “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.” Ouch.
These are folks who have a fundamental, willful, and very large blind spot. They deliberately twist science to fit their own dogma. And that is something that’s absolutely incompatible with science.
So yes, the true biological view of evolution as a materialistic, unguided process is indeed at odds with most religions. Organizations that promote evolution, such as the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), prefer to avoid this critical point: all they care about is that evolution get taught in the schools, not whether believers wind up accepting the concept of evolution as it’s understood by scientists. (If all they want is evolution to be taught, that, I suppose is fine. But it’s not fine if they want public understanding of evolution.)
And it’s not fine when millions of people are told by their pope that science ain’t science. That twisted, skewed view of what science is matters. That twisted, skewed view leads people to mistrust and misunderstand science. It leads them to believe science can be bent to their own wishes, no matter what the evidence is.
That’s not science. That’s religion trying to steal science’s respectability after having lost its own. It’s pseudoscience, and it’s right on par with the cons, crooks and crazies who snatch a few words out of a science dictionary to try to make their wackaloon theories about homeopathy or magnetic bracelets sound plausible to people who don’t know any better.
It’s nice that the Catholic church is so cornered by reality that they’ve been forced to swallow a little bit of science in a desperate attempt to stay relevant and retain their power. But it’s giving them indigestion. And anyone who believes that science and religion are perfectly compatible isn’t paying attention to reality.