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article imageVatican: Evolution is OK but no apologies to Darwin

By Chris V. Thangham     Sep 18, 2008 in World
The Vatican finally gave approval to the theory of evolution proposed by Charles Darwin but said there is no need for a posthumous apology to Darwin.
Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, the Vatican’s culture minister, made this speech after he announced a Rome conference of scientists, theologians and philosophers to be held next March to mark the 150th anniversary of the Darwin’s book “The Origin of Species”.
Christian churches have been hostile towards Darwin when he published his book because his theories conflicted with the Biblical account of creation.
Earlier this week, a leading Anglican churchman, Rev. Malcolm Brown told reporters that the Church of England owed Darwin an apology for the way his ideas were ridiculed by the Anglicans in Britain. But Ravasi doesn’t think an apology is necessary.
He told Reuters:
Maybe we should abandon the idea of issuing apologies as if history was a court eternally in session.
He added that there is no apology necessary because the Catholic Church never condemned Darwin’s theories nor banned his book.
Only recently Catholics like Pope Pius XII approved Darwin’s theory in 1950 and called evolution a valid scientific approach to the development of humans. Pope John Paul II repeated the same approval in 1996.
Some Christians like the conservative Protestants believe in Creationism that God created the world in six days as described in the Bible. The Catholic Church teaches “Theistic Evolution”, which accepts evolution as a scientific theory and believes God could have used a natural evolutionary process in the forming of the human species. It considers the six-days theory as an allegory for the way God created this world.
Ravasi said creationism belongs to the "strictly theological sphere" and could not be used "ideologically in science."
Professor Philip Sloan of Notre Dame University, which is jointly holding next year's conference with Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University, hopes the conference will explain the Catholics’ stand on evolution.
Pope Benedict also favors the “theistic evolution” approach; in a speech in Paris last week, he spoke out against biblical literalism.
Also, read Bart’s excellent report on Darwin, they provide more background about Darwin’s theory of evolution.
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