Evolution fine but no apology to Darwin: Vatican

Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:07pm EDT
 
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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican said on Tuesday the theory of evolution was compatible with the Bible but planned no posthumous apology to Charles Darwin for the cold reception it gave him 150 years ago.

Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, the Vatican's culture minister, was speaking at the announcement of a Rome conference of scientists, theologians and philosophers to be held next March marking the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin's "The Origin of Species".

Christian churches were long hostile to Darwin because his theory conflicted with the literal biblical account of creation.

Earlier this week a leading Anglican churchman, Rev. Malcolm Brown, said the Church of England owed Darwin an apology for the way his ideas were received by Anglicans in Britain.

Pope Pius XII described evolution as a valid scientific approach to the development of humans in 1950 and Pope John Paul reiterated that in 1996. But Ravasi said the Vatican had no intention of apologizing for earlier negative views.

"Maybe we should abandon the idea of issuing apologies as if history was a court eternally in session," he said, adding that Darwin's theories were "never condemned by the Catholic Church nor was his book ever banned".

Creationism is the belief that God created the world in six days as described in the Bible. The Catholic Church does not read the Genesis account of creation literally, saying it is an allegory for the way God created the world.

Some other Christians, mostly conservative Protestants in the United States, read Genesis literally and object to evolution being taught in biology class in public high schools.   Continued...

 
<p>Charles Darwin in an undated photo. The Vatican said on Tuesday the theory of evolution was compatible with the Bible but planned no posthumous apology to Charles Darwin for the cold reception it gave him 150 years ago. REUTERS/Handout</p>