Church to make posthumous apology to Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin created a big controversy with his evolutionary theory and powerful church leaders castigated him. Now after 126 long years Church of England has realised their mistake and agreed to issue an an apology. Darwin in his theory had said that man descended from the apes.However Darwin's descendents are not happy with this long delayed apology and said that it is meaningless now.
The bold and unusual step by the Church comes on the 200th anniversary of the naturalist's birth.
On a website specially set up to honour Darwin and his hypothesis, launched todayMON, the church will admit that its Victorian hierarchy showed too much "anti-evolutionary fervour" when he published the notion in his book, the Origin of Species, in 1858.
The apology has been written by the Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, the church's director of mission and public affairs.
Howevetr is has cut little ice with Darwin's descendants. Andrew Darwin, a great-great grandson of the scientist, said: "Why bother? When an apology is made after 200 years, it's not so much to right a wrong, but to make the person or organisation making the apology feel better."
Dr Brown says that the hounding of Darwin was akin to the Roman Catholic church's treatment of astronomer Galileo in the 17th Century. Galileo was prosecuted for his belief that the Earth orbited the sun and ended his life under house arrest from the Inquisition.
His statement will say: "People, and institutions, make mistakes and Christian people and Churches are no exception. When a big new idea emerges that changes the way people look at the world, it's easy to feel that every old idea, every certainty, is under attack and then to do battle against the new insights.
"The Church made that mistake with Galileo's astronomy and has since realised its error. Some Church people did it again in the 1860s with Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection.
"So it is important to think again about Darwin's impact on religious thinking, then and now."
The apology, 126 years after Darwin's death was yesterday branded "pointless" by the naturalist's own family.