This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Papal aggression

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2010/feb/01/religion-catholicism

Pope Benedict's view on equality and dissent will cause shock and outrage ahead of his visit

Just when it seemed that Roman Catholicism was a normal and natural part of the English religious scene, Pope Benedict has to come out with a statement that raises every residual Protestant hackle in the country. Authoritarian, tactless, and without the muscle to back it up, he says that

"In a social milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognise dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate."


This sounds exactly like the papacy of Ian Paisley's darkest imaginings, totalitarian in its ambitions and utterly dismissive of disagreement. "It is the truth revealed through scripture and tradition and articulated by the church's magisterium that sets us free." writes Benedict. Presumably the other things that anyone else might mistake for truth, whether they are Anglicans, Muslims, or post-Christian simply bind us in error.

It is difficult to think of anything which could more effectively enrage and energise the opponents of his visit. English atheism descends very clearly from protestantism, and tends to regard Catholicism as the purest and most evil religion. Its noisiest current spokesman, Richard Dawkins, once said in Dublin that "Horrible as sexual abuse no doubt was, the damage was arguably less than the long-term psychological damage inflicted by bringing the child up Catholic in the first place."

But at the same time, the Pope's remarks are clearly prompted in part by a sense that the secularist forces are mounting an aggressive campaign that the Catholic church must resist, as last week's battles over the equality bill in the House of Lords made clear.
...
Continue reading
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2010/feb/01/religion-catholicism

TAGGED: COMMENTARY, MORALITY, RELIGION


RELATED CONTENT

Science journalism through the looking...

Chris Chambers and Petroc Sumner -... Comments

Science has an uneasy relationship with journalism, so what can be done by both sides to improve coverage

In defence of obscure words

Will Self - BBC News Magazine 100 Comments

We chase "fast culture" at our peril - unusual words and difficult art are good for us, says Will Self.

Your Brain on Fiction

Annie Murphy Paul - New York Times 26 Comments

New support for the value of fiction is arriving from an unexpected quarter: neuroscience.

The spectre of militant secularism

Nick Cohen - The Spectator 40 Comments

If you turn on the news tonight and hear of a bomber slaughtering civilians anywhere from Nigeria to the London Underground, I can reassure you of one point: the bombers will not be readers of Richard Dawkins.

A brutal price still paid for daring to...

Amol Rajan - The Independent 39 Comments

Their assault illustrates the extent to which defenders of religion still dominate our press, the brutal retaliation exacted on clever opponents of faith and the incorrigible stupidity of Sayeeda Warsi's claim about "militant secularism" last week.

The Sins of the Fathers [Also in Polish]

Richard Dawkins - RichardDawkins.net 341 Comments

I can’t help wondering at the quality of journalism which sees a scoop in attacking a man for what his five-greats grandfather did.

MORE

MORE BY ANDREW BROWN

A creationist's 'scientific' disproof...

Andrew Brown - guardian.co.uk 55 Comments

Why 9/11 was good for religion

Andrew Brown - The Guardian 78 Comments

Resurgence of religious debate after September 11 challenges notion that theism is doomed

Church of England tied in knots over...

Andrew Brown - The Guardian 71 Comments

The memo warns: "This situation cannot endure. Exposure of the reality would be nuclear."

More than 10,000 people take to the...

Andrew Brown - Guardian 117 Comments

Degree of hostility over Pope Benedict's three day visit takes observers by surprise

MORE

Comments

Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment