On September 16, senior Vatican official, Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, stated that Darwin’s theory of evolution is compatible with Catholic Church teaching and the Bible, but the Church still wouldn’t be apologizing to Darwin. Ravasi stated, ”Maybe we should abandon the idea of issuing apologies as if history was a court eternally in session.” In 1950, Pope Pius XII and, in 1996, Pope John Paul II stated that the theory of evolution has validity.
This came after Rev. Malcolm Brown of the Church of England suggested that the Anglican Church owes Darwin an apology. In a special news section of the Church of England’s website, Brown stated:
Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still. We try to practice the old virtues of ‘faith seeking understanding’ and hope that makes some amends.
Nonetheless, the Catholic Church’s early dismissal of Darwin’s theory 150 years ago has an impact that is still being felt. While the Catholic Church may have recanted, other denominations—following the lead of the Catholic Church to refute Darwin—still cling to the ideology of creationism. Even vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, supports teaching creationism in classrooms and presenting evolution as just another theory.
So, it is likely that Darwin never expected an apology from the Catholic Church—and he probably doesn’t care that the Church still is giving him the cold shoulder. However, maybe the Church needs to apologize to planet Earth. Denying evolution, promoting creationism—and its damaging legacy—has only aided in the advancement of global warming.
Those who promote creation science, such as Governor Palin, deny that global warming is human-made. When asked about it in a recent interview, she stated: “I’m not one though who would attribute it to being man-made.” It is this mentality—this denial of ownership under the auspices of creationism—that has allowed global warming to flourish.
So, Catholic Church, continue to ignore Darwin, but don’t deny that rejecting his theory has resulted in the ongoing degradation of Earth and the denial of that degradation.