Monday, September 20, 2010

Lucia The End of the British Empire - The Holy Father in Westminster Hall

Damian Thompson of Holy Smoke blogs, with commentary in red from Fr Z of WDTPRS:

How odd that it should be the Guardian that grasped the magnitude of what happened yesterday. Andrew Brown, religion editor of Comment is Free, and the possessor of an intellect as mighty and muddled as that of Rowan Williams, writes:
This was the end of the British Empire. [!] In all the four centuries from Elizabeth I to Elizabeth II, England has been defined as a Protestant nation. The Catholics were the Other; sometimes violent terrorists and rebels, sometimes merely dirty immigrants. The sense that this was a nation specially blessed by God arose from a deeply anti-Catholic reading of the Bible. Yet it was central to English self-understanding when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1952 [sic], and swore to uphold the Protestant religion by law established.
For all of those 400 or so years it would have been unthinkable that a pope should stand in Westminster Hall and praise Sir Thomas More, who died to defend the pope’s sovereignty against the king’s. Rebellion against the pope was the foundational act of English power. And now the power is gone, and perhaps the rebellion has gone, too. [!]
This was indeed a day of unthinkable events. Many Protestants will have been disturbed to see Pope Benedict XVI in Westminster Hall praising St Thomas More (who incidentally died to defend what he saw as the sovereignty of God). I don’t agree, [I don’t know as much about it, but I think Damian is right, and I said as much in my piece.] however, that rebellion against the Pope was the “foundational act of English power”.


Even Catholics who would never be so crude as to say “the Abbey belongs to us, not to you” sensed that history was being re-balanced in some way. [Indeed they would] They realised that the Pope had as much right to sit in that sanctuary as the Archbishop of Canterbury (who, to be fair, showed the Holy Father a degree of respect that implied that he, at least, recognises the spiritual primacy of the See of Peter even if he rejects some of its teachings).  [Williams recognizes Benedict’s "Spiritual primacy"?  I wonder about that.]

Protestant anti-Catholics, in contrast [to secular humanists to are anti-Catholic], don’t have mates in the media or useful allies in the Church of England. All they can do is watch in horror as the Pope of Rome processes into the church where Protestant monarchs are crowned, declares unambigously that he is the successor of St Peter with responsibility for the unity of Christendom, and then walks out again – to hearty applause.  [And I suspect quite a few of them would also applaud… and will, given time.]
To be honest, I’m still not quite sure what to make of it all myself. Benedict XVI’s speeches are worth reading several times; they often turn out to be more radical than they first appear. But one thing is for sure. Despite the unassuming courtesy of the Pope’s manner, he didn’t give an inch. [Exactly.]

The ramifications of this are still yet to be seen...

Related links: Damian Thompson’s take on the Pope at Westminster ~ WDTPRS
The Pope in Parliament and Westminster Abbey: a day that shook the foundations of Britain's Protestant myth ~ Holy Smoke

16 comment(s):

Paul Bennett said...

With regard to the Popes UK visit,

I was wondering what opinions, if any, people may have with regard to the sentiments and hypocrisy the pope displayed in his recent UK speech at Holyroodhouse.

Transcript of the Popes original speech

Then, what thoughts, if any, that people may have with regard to Richard Dawkins reply to the Popes speech.

And if non of that moves you, try watching this without becoming emotive about the issue that is at the heart of all the controversy concerning the Pope.

A question is asked about the Ryan Commission report on child abuse within institutions run by the religious orders in Ireland. After the panel had spoken the questioner responded and his response…well see for yourself. The guy deserves a medal!

I await any responses with interest.

Psycho Milt said...

Many Protestants will have been disturbed to see Pope Benedict XVI in Westminster Hall...

Not just Protestants - there are plenty of secularists who are grateful that England rid itself of these self-appointed bosses back in the 16th Century, and aren't chuffed to see one back again acting like we owe him some respect.

the Archbishop of Canterbury ... showed the Holy Father a degree of respect that implied that he, at least, recognises the spiritual primacy of the See of Peter ...

It appeared so because Williams is a polite wet liberal who thinks everyone should just get along - unlike his colleague Ratzinger, who's playing to win. I'd say the CoE isn't going to look back kindly on Williams after he's gone.

Lucia Maria said...

Hi Paul,

So you created a new blogger account just to comment here. With the same one-eyed POV that identifies another person that I warned earlier.

Convince me you are not the same person who was banned last time for multiple user names.

Lucia Maria said...

Or own up and apologise. Your choice.

I.M Fletcher said...

Paul, it's not worth my time to read what Dawkins has to say. I was interested in some posts from spiked-online by atheists there (including this one by Brendan O'Neil) who can at least see the ridiculousness of statements by Dawkins and his cadre.

O'Neil says -

With just a week to go until Pope Benedict XVI arrives on British shores, the campaigning against his visit has become so shrill that soon only dogs will be able to hear it. And the great irony of this allegedly rationalist protest against the pope is that it is indulging in precisely the kind of demonology that the Catholic Church once excelled at. Campaigners have turned Benedict into a Satan for secularists, an Antichrist for atheists, against whom they desperately hope to define and advertise their own moral integrity.

As a radical humanist, I hold no candle for the Catholic Church (I held more than enough candles for it when I was an altar boy). But I also don’t like zealous moralism, the irrational demonisation of some Other for the benefit of the Self. And the current baiting of all things popish stinks to the empty heavens of just that kind of campaigning. The anti-papists are ironically utilising the Torquemada-ish tools of intolerance and fearmongering to turn the pope into a much-needed bête noire for their social set.

Pope-protesting seems increasingly unhinged. When they aren’t demanding that Britain be made a pope-free zone – with scant humanist or tolerant regard for what that would mean for the six million Britons who follow the Catholic faith – the Benedict-bashers use the politics of fear to exaggerate the wicked works of the Catholic Church. Now, I know and you know and everyone knows (in way too much eye-watering detail, thanks to the misery-memoir industry) that some Catholic priests sexually abused children. That is disgusting and where appropriate it should be punished. But there is no justification for describing the Catholic Church as a ‘paedophile ring’, which carried out ‘systematic rape and torture’, giving rise to a palpable ‘stench of evil’. You don’t have to be a friend of the Vatican – and I am not – to be able to state categorically that that is top-notch bullshit.

These pope-protesters threaten to drain the last drop of decency from old-fashioned humanism, turning a once-principled outlook into little more than a requirement to hate religion. Today it is a powerful sense of lack within modern-day so-called humanist circles – a feeling of directionless and soullessness – that leads them to invent religious demons against which they might posture and pontificate. That is why they talk in such religious tones (ironically) about the Catholic Church’s ‘clinging and systematic evil that is beyond the power of exorcism to dispel’ – because this is about cynically cobbling together some sense of their own goodness and mission. And in the irony to end all ironies, they make use of the very religious tools that secularists once hoped to supersede with reason – intolerance, fear-stoking, demonology – as part of their self-serving campaign.

Although I don't agree with lots of things on the spiked website, the atheists there have Dawkins and co pegged with their articles about the Pope.

ZenTiger said...

Dawkins and Hitchens appear quite irrational and hated filled to me. I heartily agree with the quotation you supplied Fletcher.

Paul Bennett said...

@ Lucia Maria,

I see from your list of followers that you have Madeline Flannagan of M&M, she'll vouch for my account, as I've been posting over there for the last three months or so, ever since she and Matt decided to turn their critical eye to the atheist billboards that went up in Auckland, Wellington, etc.

If you can't stomach the reality of my post, that simply compares the Popes speech, where he blatantly twists history to claim that Hitler and the Nazis were atheists, to Richard Dawkins rebuttal then that is your problem and not mine.

The final post with regard to the clip from Irish TV related to the Ryan Commission is simply reality, but stick your head in the sand if you want, it still happened regardless of how much you may want to pretend that it didn't.

At least M&M are willing to engage with those who comment rather than dismissing them out of hand because they say something that they don't agree with.

Lucia Maria said...

Paul Bennett,

Dawkins is a fool who thinks teaching children religious faith is child abuse.

The Ryan Commission report has been commented upon numerous times on this blog - use the search facility and look.

Fletch (an author on this blog) has engaged with you. Zen (another author) has concurred. While as I am engaging in a different way - ensuring you are not a troll just coming here to stir up trouble.

Which it still looks like you are to me. Creating a blogger account with any particular name is dead easy. Pretending to be someone else is likewise easy enough, except on this blog those types will get caught.

You have made an off-topic comment on this blog post, and then demanded that I read and view the links you have provided, without even making any effort yourself to summarise what the main points were that you would have liked answered.

Your best bet, if you are who you say you are is to set up your own blog, write your comment at the top as a blog post and then wait for comments.

Until then, engage with Fletch. He's right there.

Anonymous said...

Well, this will probably get me banned, but here goes...

I guess lucia is trying to say you are also me. There does seem to be a ceertain paranoia around me. :-)

Dumbest line of the year:

"Dawkins is a fool who thinks teaching children religious faith is child abuse."

Jesusinatesttube lucyna, have you seen the achievements Dawkins has made in his field? I wish there were many more fools such as he.

And YES, teaching faith is child abuse - faith is what you have when you have no evidence, faith is used to blind people to evidence.

At least Men like Dawkins et al are not so afraid of what their children might learn that they hide them from the world so they can brainwash them at home. Just why are you so afraid to expose your children to knowledge?

Is it because you know that the light of reason will shatter the illusion of faith?

And no, I am not Paul, but I agree with his points.

ZenTiger said...

Dawkins is knowledgeable in one area, but on theology and philosophy he makes huge mistakes, lets prejudice govern reason, and is prone to irrationalism not to mention intolerant and vitriolic outbursts. It's not clear to me that he respects freedom either.

Are you too so foolish you believe I am not teaching my children all forms of knowledge simply because we also discuss God?

Are you too so foolish you imagine this as something to do with "fear"?

Are you so foolish you cannot see the power of faith and reason together? Understanding science does not require one reject a spiritual aspect to ones life, and vice versa.

Dawkins is a fool for mistaking his own ignorance about religion as indicative of the way all religious people think. Your own words condemn you, when you can only imagine faith as something illusionary.

Your comment may well be deleted simply because you have the ill manners to use religious profanities. We know you don't respect religion, but you also make no effort to respect the blog hosts when commenting here.

I.M Fletcher said...

And Dawkins is no theologian. The thing is that science will never be able to answer the biggest questions of the universe or to understand God. It just can't. God is so beyond our ability to understand - like your dog can never understand how it gets light when we turn a switch on.

As the Pope said in comment within the last few days -

“Within their own spheres of competence, the human and natural sciences provide us with an invaluable understanding of aspects of our existence and they deepen our grasp of the workings of the physical universe, which can then be harnessed in order to bring great benefit to the human family.

“Yet these disciplines do not and cannot answer the fundamental question, because they operate on another level altogether. They cannot satisfy the deepest longings of the human heart, they cannot fully explain to us our origin and our destiny, why and for what purpose we exist, nor indeed can they provide us with an exhaustive answer to the question, ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’”

I.M Fletcher said...

We are machines built by DNA whose purpose is to make more copies of the same DNA…It is every living object's sole reason for living’…fulfilling a purpose of propagating DNA…There is no purpose other than that. - Richard Dawkins, lecturing to children.

Sure, just lecture children that they are machines, made to make copies of themselves - that they have no other inherent value, that their lives have no other purpose and when they die that's it.

I know which sounds more like child abuse to me, and it's not Christianity.

Anonymous said...

I just went and read Paul's comments on the M&M blog - it's garden variety anti-Catholic irrational bigotry. Shrug.

"And YES, teaching faith is child abuse - faith is what you have when you have no evidence, faith is used to blind people to evidence."

You either have a very wide definition of abuse (to the level where anything you dislike or disagree with is abusive and thus it makes the term meaningless) or you loathe religion beyond the point of reasonableness.

Either way your position makes you seem unhinged.

How about we look at a case of actual abuse - Lillybing

If you can stomach reading all of this (I couldn't) and you _seriously_ want to compare that with my husband and I bringing up our children Catholic then we have such little common ground as to make it pointless to dialogue with you.

My faith is informed by my reason, something anti-Catholics seems to ignore or avoid. I find your ability to regard a childhood where parents teach ther children what they sincerely believe to be true, just and good as abusive to be deeply worrying. This kind of intolerance, dare I say fundamentalism, is the closer relation to the sick excesses of the Spanish Inquisition than is modern Catholicism.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you're right Zen, I do get a bit intemperate at times, and for that I appologise, but I also burn with anger when I see people who should know better fawn over religious leaders.

The pope a head of state - what a laugh, he only has that " title" thanks to Mussolini. Surely that's a connection the Vatican should have dropped a long time ago.

The pope is quoted above as saying human and natural sciences cannot answer "Why is there something rather than nothing?’”

Can catholocism answer why there are thousands of religions and their attendant gods, not just one? Or why god has only chosen to become incarnate in a very small place in time when there was no mass communication to spread the word?

Can religion answer Why there has to be a meaning to life?Why cannot life itself BE the meaning?

Why does the RC church oppose IVF when it was (suposedly) used by god himself to create Jesus?

Why is the RC church so down on unmarried mothers when Jesus was (supposedly) born out of a wedlock and to a man not her husband?

And just why can god's forgiveness only be achieved by the shedding of innocent blood?

KG said...

"..but I also burn with anger when I see people who should know better fawn over religious leaders"

And you--of course--"know better".

Faithless, perpetually baffled,'re a lot of things LRO but "better" isn't one of them.
Watching you whistle your way past the graveyard has a certain amusement value though.

Simon said...

The Bishop of Rome visited the UK as a Head of State, ie it was NOT just a pastoral visit. The British taxpayer bore the cost. The Queen, as Head of State (and Supreme Governor of the Anglican Church) welcomed and hosted him. The Pope did not attend Canterbury Cathedral, the seat of the Aglicanorum Ecclesiae since St. Augustine, Church Father. Westminster Abbey is however the national church (eg, monarchs are always crowned there), St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral, Wellington, fulfills a similar role in NZ. The Queen gifted Benedict facsimiles of Holbein drawings and portraits, including, I am informed, those of Anglican martyrs (+Cranmer, +Latimer, and +Ridley).

Post a Comment

Please be respectful. Foul language and personal attacks may get your comment deleted without warning. Contact us if your comment doesn't appear - the spam filter may have grabbed it.