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Distressed by the atheist onslaught? Get a grip of yourself

This is how things are meant to be: get used to it

By on Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Distressed by the atheist onslaught? Get a grip of yourself

When Cardinal Hume died, it was generally observed, in obituaries and other assessments of his achievements, that he had “normalised” Catholicism, removed the lingering hostility towards the Church still felt at the beginning of his time in Westminster. The Queen spoke of him approvingly as “my cardinal”. All seemed peaceful and unthreatening; we had finally settled in.

Some of us were not so sure; I, for one, felt that this “normalised” Catholicism had become acceptable because we were now thought to be harmless. I was not sure that this was such a good thing. It would be healthy, I thought, to have to face a little opposition: at least it would mean that we were taken seriously.

One should always, the old saw goes, be careful what one wishes for; for one’s wish might be granted. What we were experiencing was the lull before the storm. The present wave of hostility directed towards the Pope and the Church may be utterly unreasonable; but its basis is a rejection of everything we stand for: and it is a rejection from which our culture had never really withdrawn.

It may all be unpleasant, even distressing; but difficult though it may be to realise it now, this present hostility is to be welcomed: it means that we are beginning once more to count for something.

The atheists’ utter loathing, all the same, is at times a little frightening in its sheer vicious irrationality. These people are in the grip of a barely restrained hysteria. Take the current issue of the New Humanist, subtitle: “Ideas for godless people”; this issue gives a good idea of what it must be like being godless, and at least it makes you grateful not to be godless yourself. “If you were invited to address Benedict XVI during his UK visit,” the New Humanist introduces its special issue, “what would you say to him? Richard Dawkins, Philip Pullman, Claire Rayner, Ben Goldacre and many more take part in our Pope quiz.”

Claire Rayner’s offering gives a good idea of the tone and the rational level at which these contributions are conducted: “I have no language with which to adequately describe Joseph Alois Ratzinger, AKA the Pope. In all my years as a campaigner I have never felt such animus against any individual as I do against this creature. His views are so disgusting, so repellent and so hugely damaging to the rest of us, that the only thing to do is to get rid of him.” (What that means is not explained).

This is all horrible for anyone who regards Pope Benedict with the admiration and love most Catholics feel for him; and I find myself almost wishing that the decision had been taken to beatify Cardinal Newman in St Peter’s Square and not a muddy field, and for the Pope to be spared this dreadful business of a state visit.

But things are as they should be. As I remarked in my last post, nobody said that being a Catholic was easy. And when the Church is being faithful to her mission, this is how the world will regard her. Oh, and this has nothing whatever to do with child abuse; our enemies know that the evidence is that we are no worse than representative of society as a whole (shameful enough though that is) – see my previous post.

When things get rough, as they will, first say a quick prayer for the Holy Father, then say to yourself the magic words “Luke 6: 22”; or, if you have time, the whole verse: “Blessed are you, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.” You might add (verse 26): “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets.”

That’s the deal. Get used to it.

  • Bwaj

    Nonsense – it is athiesm which should be illegal.

  • Bwaj

    Nonsense.

  • Bwaj

    No you don't have a right to criticize believers – this is a Christian country nor is it a Protestant one because England became a united country under Catholicism and a Catholic king (Athelstan).

  • Bwaj

    Watch your libel – the Holy Father was never a member of the Hitler Youth and his family hated Nazism. He was forced when a teenager to help with the ack-ack guns (or something like that – I'll check) but ran off as he didn't believe in the war or the Nazis. Also he had a cousin who was mentally disabled – he was taken by the Nazis to a special hospital and like all with disabilities murdered by the Nazis. How many athiests in the UK believe in murdering the sick and disabled (euthanasia) or before birth (eugenics)? The Nazi agenda of eugenics came from the UK & the USA in the 1920s & 1930s based on Galton (the cousin of Darwin).

  • Bwaj

    The Catholic Church has done nothing wrong – she is the Mystical Body of Christ – and your attacking her will condemn you to Hell on the Last Day.

  • Bwaj

    St. Peter and the Apostles told Our Lord they had left their wives and families to follow Jesus.

  • Bwaj

    The truth about the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church and the fact the Holy Father is combatting it can be found in a book titled 'Pope Benedict XVI and the Sexual Abuse Crisis: Working for Reform and Renewal' By Gregory Erlandson and Matthew Bunson (ISBN-10: 1592768067; ISBN-13: 978-1592768066) http://www.amazon.com/Pope-Benedict-Sexual-Abuse-Crisis/product-reviews/1592768067/ / http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pope-Benedict-Sexual-Abuse-Crisis/dp/1592768067 Please read the book review of 'Pope Benedict XVI and the Sexual Abuse Crisis: Working for Reform and Renewal' titled 'Daunting and Soothing: Abuse Report Gets Facts Straight Review Makes Clear That Pope Is a Hero in Church Reform' hhttp://www.zenit.org/article-30302?l=english / http://www.zenit.org/phprint.php / http://www.zenit.org/phprint.php

    Please also read: 'The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States A Research Study Conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice' http://usccb.org/nrb/johnjaystudy/ This study shows the Catholic Church does not have a problem with 'paedophile priests' but gay priests who sexually abused minors of their gender (male) mainly aged between 11-17 while paedophiles prey on pre-pubescent children (those below 10).

    Please also read the book 'Pedophiles and priests: anatomy of a contemporary crisis' By Professor Philip Jenkins (Oxford University Press: 2001) who explodes the secular media lie that the abuse crisis concerns priests who are 'paedophiles' when it is not. Please also read Professor Philip Jenkins in 'FORUM: THE MYTH OF THE 'PEDOPHILE PRIEST'' (03/03/2002) in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette http://www.post-gazette.com/forum/comm/20020303edjenk03p6.asp

    I hope you will also read 'MEAN MEN' By Pat Wingert (Newsweek: 8 April 2010) http://www.newsweek.com/2010/04/07/mean-men.print.html which also confirms that studies show there is a higher rate of abuse among Protestant ministers and those in the secular world e.g. teachers than in the Catholic priesthood.

  • Bwaj

    1. The greatest majority of clerical abuse victims are not female – the majority of victims are male. 2. I agree with your absolute condemnation. 3. LifeSiteNews is not a website full of rubbish. On the contrary – no-one should be having sex with a person who is not their opposite sex partner. Even a European study confirms these UN and US studies which the liberal media refuse to tell you about.

  • Bwaj

    I don't believe in evolution – it is a lie from the Devil.

  • Bwaj

    I don't know where you get your nonsense from that the early Church had female leaders – it did not and never has. For the record I am not against homosexual people – it is the sexual act which God forbids just as He states marriage is only between a man and a woman. As for your reference to abstinence – I'm pleased we agree that does stop the prevention of HIV/AIDS. As for your claim people will catch it through heterosexual sex this is a lie of governments connected to the Population Control Movement who also push abortion. If a heterosexual couple have never had sex with anyone else – how are they to get HIV/AIDS unless one had taken drugs or caught it through a blood transfusion like haemophiliacs? As for saying sexual abstinence is impossible – without wishing to go into detail – I am still a virgin and am 39 so please don't tell me it is not possible.

  • catholic woman

    >>One thing we agree on is that abstinence is certainly the best preventative of AIDS

    Sorry, Daz must emphatically disagree with this statement.

    1. What about rape? What about babies born to HIV infected mothers? Surely you are not disregarding the poor kids and women in the way that are frocked celibate priests regularly do?
    What about blood transfusions?

    2. The way to eradicate an infectious disease is
    a) Reduce the disease burden in the community by destroying the infectious agent – by Treatment with very expensive antiHIV drugs in this instance. The treasures of the Vatican would go a long way towards paying for these. The carpenter from Gallilee would completely agree if you dropped him in the middle of the Vatican tody. Perhaps he would take a whip to Ratzinger and co. as he did the money-changers in those synagogues 20 centuries ago.

    b) Block transmission – my means of condoms. What would old celibate men without wives, children or families know about this? You may as well tell someone the best way to prevent Tuberculosis is not to breathe air – or the best way to prevent Typhoid is not to drink water.

  • Bwaj

    Your taxes also went to protect warmongers like George W. Bush and Obama during their visits and to protect Tony Blair. The Holy Father is the head of s State – individuals like Geoffrey Robertson who attack his being a State leader should have their British citizenship revoked as should Peter Tatchell (both being Australian). Without the Catholic Church there would be no united England nor an English monarchy. It is a State Visit – it is the Queen, your Sovereign and mine, who invited the Holy Father and any attack on her invitation should be classed as an act of treason. You may say you are an athiest – but on the Last Day that will be to your loss not mine. Our conversation is over.

  • catholic woman

    You can be a homesexual, have homosexual sex provided it is consensual, with another adult, respectful and loving- and stay a Catholic Bwaj. Take it from me a Cradle Catholic and twice as smart as Ratzinger.

  • catholic woman

    Unfortunately for you the Catholic Church believes in Evolution.

  • Shaundenney

    Oops! Is there a sign saying “Catholic contributors Only!”? I can't see one.

    I can't speak for Daz, but I'm here to answer the ridiculous assertions and misrepresentations in Oddie's propaganda-piece.

  • Shaundenney

    A priest is, or should be, answerable to the same authorities as any other citizen. Any enquiry by the church should be *in addition to* an investigation by the proper authorities. Your attitude is exactly what got your church into its current mess.

  • Shaundenney

    You'll understand if we place more trust in the figures provided by external sources than in internal sources with a vested interests.

  • Shaundenney

    Oh, i *see*. You're a nutcase.

  • Shaundenney

    So you're pretending it never happened?

  • Shaundenney

    Another delusion. England was Catholic (on and off) until Pope Pius V excommunicated Elizabeth I in 1570 the Church of England has been officially protestant ever since.
    Moreover, secular law supercedes canon law there. Popes have no authority there at all, except that which individual Catholics accept privately.

    As for your ridiculous assertion that the english have no right to criticise believers (you wish!); the blasphemy laws were repealed On May 8, 2008 and the english have the right to criticise god himself!

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    Take a look at the title and content of the article you're commenting on.

    Shaundenney put it well enough.

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    Someone with morals, empathy and a sense of common human decency.

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    “until he is proven guilty by the Church. “

    Pardon? Do you really mean to say that a priest is above the law? And I mean the law of the land, not the law of your particular sect of the Christian religion. Guilt needs to be established **by the court.**

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    I thought YECs were bad …

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    Ok, changes of policy …

    Heliocentricism and the theory of evolution are now officially accepted by the Catholic church Official apology for Galileo's treatment.

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    You're right, of course. I meant in the context of consensual sex only, and in my defence I did go on to say that abstinence on that scale was an unobtainable pipe dream. I was trying to show that use of condoms is the most practical solution, within that context.

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    Ah, so the Catholic church can be wrong when it disagrees with you personally, but not when it disagrees with anyone else? Can we say 'hypocrite'?

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    Well first off, I'd disband the monarchy tomorrow if I could. England many years ago, and yes partly under the auspices of the church. You cannot possibly say what would have happened over that thousand years had some things been different.

    You thought this was a conversation? Dude, this wasn't even a decent debate. Come back when you have some facts.

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    Doh!

    “England **became united** many years…” etc

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    “and twice as smart as Ratzinger. “

    Don't put yourself down so. ;-)

  • Shaundenney

    Wrong – sex between a 30 year old and a 50 year old is intergenerational, but involves no children.
    That's the trivial point out of the way.

    Quote me where *Peter Tatchell* argues that paedophilia is not harmful, and I'll lose all respect for the man. Writing a chapter in a book doesn't mean you agree with the views of every other contributor.
    The only chapter he contributed was the one reviewing the age of consent laws.
    Yes, he founded a group to campaign for homosexuals to have the same rights as everyone else. I think that's a good thing myself.
    Tatchell's article you linked to is called “Consent at 14″, in which he calls for the age of consent to be lowered to 14, and gives a cogent argument, based on actual evidence. I still disagree with him, but he's entitled to his opinion.
    He points out the anomaly that the age of criminal responsibility is lower than the age of consent, but does not suggest lowering the age of consent to 10.

    He is quoted, in Hitchen's hysterically homophobic article (and I find that a good rule of thumb is to never believe anything I read in the Daily Mail) as saying he knows people who had consensual (in the sense of non-coercive) sex with adults when they were children and were not harmed by the experience. That is not the same as saying “sex between adults and minors aged between 9 and 13 is not harmful 'if consensual'”. It is saying that it is not *always* harmful if consensual, which it evidently isn't.
    He also says he “cannot condone paedophilia”.

    I am defending him because your attack on him is based on guilt-by-association, misrepresentation, religious dogma, and homophobia.

    And what is it that you have against sex education? The evidence consistently shows that countries with more and earlier sex education have higher average ages of first sexual experience, lower rates of underage sex, lower rates of STDs, and lower rates of unwanted and under-age pregnancies. Personally I see all of these as positive outcomes – why don't you?

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    “I don't know where you get your nonsense from that the early Church had female leaders”

    You probably think of the pre-Roman church as a monolithic institution. It wasn't. There were many sects, and each village probably worshipped in a slightly different way from the next village down the road. Some at least had female leaders and preachers.

    If you're interested—which I doubt, but we can but try—try “Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed The Bible And Why” by Bart D. Ehrman. It's a good read, not particularly dogmatic, and provides a good general grounding in the history of the the Bible as a book.

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    And I find I've STILL worded it badly!

    “in the context of consensual sex only **and for the individual, not society as a whole**”

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    Odd. I know, personally, of two child molesters who were imprisoned during the 1970s. But they were non-Catholic as far as I know. Far be it from me to suggest that the Church might have been listening to a different set of trick-cyclists than everyone else, whose ideas allow it to hide the problem.

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    “priestly celibacy is a virtue”

    Maybe. Unfortunately it seems to have been a much rarer 'virtue' than was previously thought, so it's kind of hard to tell.

  • Shaundenney

    Sorry, correction – I see plenty of contempt for catholics in Burchill's column, but then she's contemptuous of pretty much everyone – it's what she does for a living.

    BTW, The pope himself admitted having joined the Hitler Youth: http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/pope-and-hitler-youth-benedict%E2%80%99s-words
    Far too much has been made of this though, as he says that he had little choice, and that he left as soon as he could.

  • Shaundenney

    You can't legislate what people think.

  • catholic woman

    And that is why “institutional” pronouncements especially by influential ones like the RC Church or byb the Dept of Health must be scrupulously phrased and guided by “Public Health” science and expertise.

    I am sure Ratzinger did not choose the precise specifications and materials of his grand Bullet Proof Popemobile but left it to Security and ballistics experts. Why is the life and health of the Laity, in African countries especially, less important than that of a 80+ year old with one foot in the grave and no dependents to speak of.

  • Shaundenney

    Get your facts straight. Although Federico Lombardi, speaking for the Vatican, denied that the Pope had ever been a HY member, the Pope later said *himself* that he joined the Hitler Youth. He said that he did so under duress, was never a Nazi, and left the HY as soon as he could – see this article from a Catholic Newspaper:
    http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/pope-and-hitler-youth-benedict%E2%80%99s-words

    He later served on the anti-aircraft defences, and joined or was conscripted into the German infantry, before deserting in 1945 and being captured by the allies.
    I am not aware of any evidence that he ever supported the nazi cause, or was complicit in any war crimes.

    “How many athiests in the UK believe in murdering the sick and disabled (euthanasia)”.

    That depends on how you've redefined 'murder'. I know of nobody who would condone *involuntary* euthanasia, which I agree, is murder. However, many people, religious and atheist, support the idea that a terminally ill person should be allowed to die at a time of their own choosing, with assistance if they require it. Many people on both sides of the religious divide also oppose this idea.

    “or before birth (eugenics)?”

    The purpose of pre-birth genetic screening is not the same as Galton & Hitler's half-arsed, unscientific ideas about racial purity. It is to prevent unnecessary suffering, not to purify the gene pool. Many atheists and religious people support its use, many don't.
    Also, abortion is not murder. Murder is a legal term, as we are constantly reminded by christians trying to square their support for wars or the death penalty with the commandment “Thou shallt not kill”.

  • Shaundenney

    Sure – having three names is pretty common in English-speaking countries, why I don't know.

    My first name is one my mother just happened to like, my middle name is just one of those really common names derived from english translations of the bible, and my surname is one that either crossed over to England when the Normans invaded – albeit probably spelled 'Denis' at the time, or ( less likely) it was made up by the Anglo-Saxons to refer to the Viking settlers along the east coast, deriving from a word for 'Danish'. There *is* also an outside chance that it is a contraction of the Irish 'Dennehy', but it's the least likely of the three options.

    In any event, Since given names are not a reliable guide to ethnicity, and even unambiguous surnames only tell you about the (presumed) male-line heritage; and because my family tree, going back four generations before it hits a dead end, contains nobody Irish, French or Scandinavian I can only assume I'm ethnically generic north-western european.

  • Shaundenney

    Just like Heliocentrism…

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    I truly have no idea. Just the thought of a probably semi-senile man who's totally inexperienced at anything sexual telling people how to have sex seems preposterous to me. Trying to fathom the workings of religion-based science, even more so.

    I suspect that it's mostly for the power rather than the faith, but then I'm a cynical old git.

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz

    Ah I see. I misread the original post. I read it as meaning you had one christian-name that had been subjected to three different translations **from** English. On re-reading I have no idea why.

  • Shaundenney

    You do know that the biggest protests in English history were against the Iraq war, don't you? And that the anti-war campaigns haven't stopped? And that there is also current a campaign to have Blair indicted for war crimes?

    You have a bizarre take on history. Do you seriously believe that England would never have united under a non-Roman Catholic leader?
    And you do know England hasn't had a Catholic monarch for over 300 years, don't you?

    Also, thankfully, the UK is not your mythical theocratic dictatorship where merely disagreeing with the head of state is a capital offence.

    Anyway, you odious, delusional little space-cadet, our conversation is now over too.

  • Ratbag

    Nutcase? You speak for yourself!

  • Ratbag

    When Christians were thrown to the lions, they got plenty to chew on – backbone, guts, heart, brains and tender meat.

    When Atheists are thrown to the lions, the poor animals are disappointed because they found Atheists to have no brains, no guts, no backbone and as for heart – the lions find their hearts difficult to prize away because they are so obstinate, stubborn and freaking difficult to remove from beneath their ribs. When they succeed, it's tough to chew. Rather like junk food…

  • Ratbag

    Communism and Nazism tried it and millions died.

  • http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thedixieflatline/ Daz
  • Ratbag

    Henry VIII established the Church of England because he wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn. He made himself head of the Church of England, thus establishing a different church from the Roman Catholic Church. Anyone who disagreed with King Henry was beheaded for treason. Thomas More was one of them. Henry made the choice to break with Rome and establish his own church – a means to his own end. Edward VI enforced Protestantism with greater gusto than his father in his short reign. Mary I tried to bring back the Roman Catholic faith. Before you say it, although Protestants were martyred during the reign of Mary I, the numbers of Catholic martyrs were greater. Yes, indeed Elizabeth I was excommunicated by Pope Pius V but she, like her half-brother, wanted to enforce the new faith and many died or were exiled as a result. The last English monarch to be Catholic was James II. William III and Mary II brought in the Act of Settlement so that no Catholic would be King or Queen of Great Britain et al.

    Like it or not, the Supreme Head of the Church of England is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She is the Head of State of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Head of the Commonwealth. OK, she is a figurehead but she is the Head of a Christian Church! The United Kingdom has a Christian majority in its population – all Christian denominations were put under the same umbrella in the 2001 UK Census.

    10,000+ Jedis were recorded in the 2001 Census. At least Jedis have a belief in something – the Force!

    Better than nothing!

  • Ratbag

    Blimey! Are you in the FBI?