The Church of England is to officially apologise to Charles Darwin for misunderstanding his theory of evolution - 126 years after his death.
The Church the will address its contrition directly to the Victorian scientist himself.It will concede in a statement that it was over-defensive and over-emotional in dismissing Darwin's ideas, calling "anti-evolutionary fervour" an "indictment" on the Church.
The apology has been written by the Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, the Church's director of mission and public affairs.The statement says that Christians, in their response to Darwin's theory of natural selection, repeated the mistakes they made in doubting Galileo's astronomy in the 17th century, reports Telegraph.
An article to be posted on the Church's website will say: "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 practise the old virtues of 'faith seeking understanding' and hope that makes some amends."
Opposition to evolutionary theories is still "a litmus test of faithfulness" for some Christian movements, the Church will admit. It will say that such attitudes owe much to a fear of perceived threats to Christianity. The apology will be made on Monday 15 Sept.