Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A few brief thoughts on Benedict's visit

Didn't get a chance to really share in it while it was happening, but followed at a distance and skimmed some of his speeches. I'm reasonably familiar with, and sympathetic to, his major themes. That being said, a few thoughts:

- Richard Dawkins has replaced Ian Paisley in his role as walk-on-nutter/rentaquote (see this);
- it was good to see Christians out in force, and we should do this much more often;
- I think the tide began to turn against secularism some time ago (in the academy, best part of 30 years ago) but often it takes a while for an event to crystallise understandings that have been brewing for a while. This visit may end up being seen, retrospectively, as the moment when 'the tide turned'. He hasn't got Gandalf's voice, but I was reminded of this

(See also this)

And that's all I have to say about that.
UPDATE: actually, reading this, I'm starting to think that his attitude is much more hostile than I realised. Hmmm.


  1. Personally, I loathe Benedict. I would take sharia law over roman catholic social policy.

  2. odi et amo ...
    I think you're on the money regarding Dawkins' new hat.
    Still can't get away from dislike of what teh Observer above calls RC social policy, but I think even that might be less bad than sharia becasue it does at least have some elements of NT grace rather than being essentially derivative of an OT type legalism

  3. Oh "Observer" --
    What about "Roman Catholic social policy" do you find repugnant?

    Sam -- if you'd rather he and I entertained this conversation off-blog, just say so.

    God bless,


  4. The observer has succeeded in genuinely shocking me! (Quite rare, or so I flatter myself). I think that might need its own thread - post will go up later today.

  5. Heh, dawkins is a nutter but the child rapist aiding ratzi is great! Religion : It has the power to make assholes of the most well meaning people.

  6. An alternative explanation for the stole (assuming that the connexion with Leo XIII is correct) is that it was Leo XIII who made Newman a cardinal.

  7. Hey Chimp - glad to see you hanging around once more. If you have clear proof that BXVI is guilty of what you accuse him of then your point holds; if not, not.

  8. Celtic Chimp,

    By "Dawkins" do you mean Richard Dawkins? Who's "the child rapist aiding ratzi"?

    Why must you take such a dim view of religion? Wouldn't it be more modern to take a benign, even positive approach?


  9. Why must you take such a dim view of religion? Wouldn't it be more modern to take a benign, even positive approach?

    If the catholic church was just a regular state, without all the religion hoopla, which had for several centuries practiced nearly systematic abuse, do you think its head would be welcomed to modeern britian with so much reverence and respect? I take a dim view of religion because of its incredible ability to get people off the hook for being evil bigoted pricks.



    Even were the no evidence at all against him, do you honestly believe he could have held the position in the church that he did and really have no involvement or knowledge of the abuse and cover ups that were going on? Honestly?

    But hey at least he wasn't an atheist ;)

  10. Sam,

    Child abuse aside; doesn't the catholic church's stance on family planning clash with your ecological views? Surely you must be as annoyed as me about its dissemination of lies about condoms and AIDS in Africa?

    It is telling that that you only took a dim view of the pope because of his chioce of stole. All the rest you can forgive but insulting your particular brand of faith, that makes him hostile. Serious, do not the needless deaths of actual people offend you more?

  11. Chimp - the trouble is that I have been massively misrepresented by the press not that long ago - from the same stables as thisislondon - so I am sceptical of press reports, especially on something like this. I don't dispute for one second that the Catholic Church as a whole has an appalling record here, has a great deal to repent of and to make restitution for; nor would I dispute that B16 shares in a corporate responsibility for that - and quite possibly more. I don't think that article proves it though, and for now I'm willing to continue extending him the benefit of the doubt (on this matter).

    As for family planning issues, I actually have a great deal of sympathy with the traditional teaching - that is, I can respect where it is coming from and I think much of the criticism of it is bunk - as I hinted, though, because I don't accept the Aristotelean biology I reject the present conclusions drawn from it by the RC church. (I also think that the RC will change their position on this in a generation or two).

    As for the stole - if it was intended as a symbolic insult - then you could say I've got more personally at stake in the matter! Obviously it's a trivial thing compared to abuse.

  12. Rev. Sam: Newman was made Cardinal by Leo XIII (according to this, anyway).

    Which means that Papa Ratzi was just being his usual tone-deaf self, rather than hostile.


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