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Richter und Henker: the pope & his enemies - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
wemyss
wemyss
Richter und Henker: the pope & his enemies

My latest at The Torygraph, in response to the Online Gordon Riots: http://tinyurl.com/235jewj

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blamebrampton From: blamebrampton Date: September 19th, 2010 10:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Dear wemyss, surely, by your own arguments, if a man never once claims to be an atheist, but rather consistently throughout his life phrases his personal philosophies in theistic terms, at first staunchly Catholic, then generalist if insincere Christian and finally wackily NeoPagan, then he cannot possibly be described as an atheist.

For my part, I cannot (you will be unsurprised) agree with your suggestion that the anti-papal visit sentiment is propelled by what some are referring to as Militant Atheists (forgive the further parentheses, but I had no idea there was a uniform, and can only hope it is designed by Vivienne Westwood).

The pure expense of the papal visit in these lingering Credit Crunch days would be enough to excite antipathy, not to mention the recent handing down of the report on Father Chesney. Added to that the fact that at most 8% of Britons are Catholic, and many of those not practicing, is it any wonder that members of the British state should not want to see so very much money -- £15 million excluding police and security -- spent in this way? Support for Susan Boyle is greater around the country, and one can only imagine the outrage if it were suggested she be spent on national tour at the same time money is being stripped out of public education around the entirety of Britain.

Money aside, it remains the great stain of sex abuses perpetrated by the clergy that stirs the most anger here, and rightly so. When Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict was an integral part of the Church machine that pushed for sex abuses to be dealt with within the church rather than by the secular authorities. In many countries, including the UK, Ireland and Australia, this saw victims paid out and perpetrators protected. You will recall your outrage when the government of Gordon Brown sought to deal with its financial indiscretions within house, the only difference I can see is that the church's response is worthy of vastly more outrage as money is simply money, while the innocence and dignity of children are irreplaceable.

You are missing the mark when you label much of the negative response to this papal visit as generalised anti-papacy. Pope Benedict's history is very much in play here, especially his inactions on child abuse and his repeated assertions that only the Catholic church has moral authority.

As a non-believer, I confess that I am consistently insulted by this Pope. He has laid at my feet everything from loss of biodiversity and climate change (http://www.catholic.net/index.php?option=zenit&id=26693), to Stalinism (in 2007's Saved By Hope), to Nazism -- and even if we allow him leniency on that statement, he has at no time sought to correct the Bishops of Ausburg and Parramatta among others who have made this direct and deliberate assertion. Nor has he corrected Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone's assertions that homosexuality is to blame for the Church's child sex abuse scandals, despite the fact that the overwhelming have been abuses of girls and young women. Given how swiftly he has corrected those who veer from his strict doctrinal interpretations, his silence is telling.

In the Pope's words as you quote them:
'... let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a "reductive vision of the person and his destiny"...'

he begs the question by necessarily linking religion and virtue. I, and millions of others around the world, stand in living proof that no such link is required. It is this assertion that by lack of religious faith we are cut off from other communions, those of gentleness, kindness and consideration for our fellow human beings, of compassion, charity and the urge to good works, of all things morally or ethically 'good', that causes me to reject the message of this Pope as nonsense. And that it should come from one who as acted as he has done, offensive nonsense at that.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: September 19th, 2010 04:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

My dear Brammers - 1

1. I never said, nor was it necessary that I say, that any single person who ‘never once claimed to be an atheist, but rather consistently throughout his life phrased his personal philosophies in theistic terms, at first staunchly Catholic, then generalist if insincere Christian and finally wackily NeoPagan’, was an atheist.

2. Nor did I say that the motive force in the No-Popery mobs is militant atheism as such; I said and maintain it is largely driven by prejudice. Some of the bigots assert themselves – tediously incessantly – to be atheists, like that ass Dawkins.

3. You must I think concede that if I am labelling ‘much of the negative response to this papal visit as generalised anti-papacy’ sentiment, then I am not in fact saying that the motive force in the No-Popery mobs is militant atheism as such.

4. The suggestion that the sort of people who are protesting the visit are concerned with the cuts and the budget is captious: most of them are members of the gang that ran up the deficit and created the necessity for cuts, although, they being economically illiterate, they mayn’t realise that. I’ll concede your point when there’s the same outrage over any other state visit from an EU head of state and the marchers are from the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

5. When Cardinal Ratzinger was ‘an integral part of the Church machine’ (if it’s a machine. And if it is, mustn’t all parts be integral, necessarily?), he was one of the honoured few who fought to, in fact, change the cover-up culture. That this is unreported, misreported, and ignored by the passive takers-in of whatever the Grauniad bowls them as news (wrist-spin) itself substantiates the charge that both the hacks and the public are lazily incurious and blinkered by bigotry.

wemyss From: wemyss Date: September 19th, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

My dear Brammers - 2

6. You’re too easily insulted if you read the C Gandolfo remarks or Spe Salvi as ‘laying at the feet of unbelievers everything from loss of biodiversity and climate change, to Stalinism’: I don’t see that in the texts at all. I find it mournfully suggestive that what seems to have stung you is a Greenist / AGW bit of sermonising that shouldn’t have raised an eyebrow from the reflexively Greenish crowd had it come from any other source. I don’t think it can be denied that the excision from the public sphere of belief in some transcendent morality, often in its nature a religious belief, is a necessary condition for the success of totalitarianism (as opposed in some degree to authoritarianism, alas). And although I don’t agree that homosexuality as such is responsible for the abuse scandal as to youths – I must accept your assertion that girls and young women have suffered still worse, though I should like to see the source for that – it is true that ephebophilia rather than celibacy is causative there, which is what I took those clerics to be saying. It is equally true that the culture of licence and of therapeutic-cum-psychiatric, rather than legal, response to credible allegations of abuse very considerably assisted the abuse to go on effectively unchecked, and these are 1960s shibboleths, you know.

7. Finally, to say that the exclusion of religious claims and observance, and, also, of virtue generally (even the cardinal virtues and excluding the theological virtues), from the public square, leads towards a diminished understanding of social obligation, is, first, not really controversial, and, second, not at all the same thing as saying that those who lack or reject ‘religious faith … are cut off from other communions, those of gentleness, kindness and consideration for our fellow human beings, of compassion, charity and the urge to good works, of all things morally or ethically “good”’: and it is telling that most people would smilingly accept the pope’s actual statement, not your elision of it, as they would his environmentalism, if it came from Desmond Tutu or the Dalai Lama – whose views on all sorts of issues are congruent with if not to the right of the pope’s – yet won’t wear it the minute they twig to it’s having been said by the pope. Only prejudice can explain that. It’s depressingly like those polls in which people assent to a series of propositions as being plain sense until they are told that the Conservatives have proposed them. You’re too clever and too wise as well to behave in that fashion.

flewellyn From: flewellyn Date: September 23rd, 2010 04:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Never in the history of human discourse, have so many words been used to say so little.
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