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Debate: Is it helpful to describe British secular society as a ‘culture of death’?

Or is the phrase too hostile for non-believers to engage with it properly?

By on Friday, 28 September 2012

The Houses of Parliament (Photo: PA)

The Houses of Parliament (Photo: PA)

This week Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth said that British society was being threatened by a “strangling counter-culture of death”.

In a powerful address after he was consecrated as Bishop of Portsmouth he said:

We must offer this salvific message to a people sorely in need of new hope and direction, disenfranchised by the desert of modern British politics, wearied by the cycle of work, shopping, entertainment, and betrayed by educational, legal, medical and social policy makers who, in the relativistic world they’re creating, however well-intentioned, are sowing the seeds of a strangling counter-culture of death.

The phrase has already prompted some criticism. Michael Walsh, a papal historian, argued in the Tablet that a real “culture of death” would look very different from modern Britain. Another academic, Dr Gemma Simmonds, a lecturer at Heythrop College, also suggested it was too negative, saying: “The theology of Vatican II makes clear that the Holy Spirit speaks within contemporary culture and in many voices outside as well as within the Church.”

Many Catholics believe the phrase is a useful shorthand term for destructive practices such abortion, euthanasia and IVF. But is it too negative to be persuasive for non-believers? It has in the past provoked outrage. In 2010 Edmund Adamus, director of pastoral affairs for the Diocese of Westminster, described Britain as the “geopolitical epicentre of the culture of death”, and got into trouble for it.

But the term has a good pedigree. Blessed Pope John Paul II introduced it in his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae; Americans Cardinal Dolan, Cardinal Burke and Cardinal O’Malley have all used it more recently. It gives society a shake. It conveys a sense of urgency and crisis. Non-believers will have a hard time brushing it off as irrelevant.

So, is it helpful to describe British secular society as a “culture of death”? Or do non-Catholics find the phrase too offensive to engage with it properly?

  • teigitur

    I m not sure that the negative is ever helpful. But what it surely is; is truthful. Sometimes though the truth hurts and is offensive. But if it makes people think again, its worthwhile.

  • paulpriest

    Ok I’ll get back on my regular hobby horse and state I care a little less about a systemically genocidal secular society being called ‘the culture of death’

    …and a little bit more about our National Church’s formal & proximate material co-operation WITH this culture of death…

    Connexions – let into Catholic schools by the CES & the contraception, [same] sex-advice & abortifacients & abortion referrals followed.

    The Mental Capacity Act [Archbishop Smith's comments during a parliamentary debate that the Church had no problem with the bill!!!???] [...+Smiffy also 'welcomed' the assisted suicide prosecution guidelines which effectively selectively-decriminalised euthanasia!!]

    The Ss John & Elizabeth Hospital – ordered by Cardinal Ratzinger to cease its sterilizations, abortifacient provision & abortion referrals – but the powers-that-be have repeatedly told Cormac to get stuffed & +Vin hasn’t even bothered to address the issue so the ‘john & lizzie’ continues unabated – now even receving awards for their ‘gender reassignment surgery’ [I kid you not - a Catholic charity doing sex change operations!]

    The Liverpool Care Pathway – Publicly repeatedly endorsed by Conference individuals [most especially Archbishop Smith] and in journals & the media by Catholic professionals, clerics, charity-reps etc The LCP is backdoor euthanasia directly contravening Catholic moral teaching and directly defying Papal & CDF directives in regard to pastoral palliative care. Denying patients natural care by removing nutrition & hydration [and accelerating their deaths] , depriving them of consciousness [& accelerating their deaths] by over-prescribing opiates for non-analgesic reasons. Providing prognosis-based care rather than needs-based. To quote a Catholic Medical Quarterly writer “If you are placed on the LCP you will die – even if you weren’t dying!”

    Our Catholic Education Service – which not only endorsed Connexions – Oona Stannard helped draft the last government’s Health & Sexual education bill which would have banned all moral opposition to contraception and abortion in Catholic Schools except in RE classes – rather the Schools would have been forced to promote them via an ‘impartial non-partisan objective’ perspective

    Need I mention Our illustrious Archbishop and his record?

    That foetuses are “obviously of more worth than embryos”? On TV!!!

    That he gave an inaugural memorial address for an abortionist to abortionists in the RCOG and thanked them for their ‘conscience clauses’ which don’t exist!!?? [and afterwards declared the Church had no place interfering with professional medical decisions!!!

    That in the above 'fiasco' over Edmund Adamus's comments - rather than supporting him he actually bawled him out for risking the success of Austen Ivereigh's debate against secularists that evening!!
    As well as immediately issuing a media-statement dissociating himself from EA's comments we then have Paul Vallely's hatchet-job article in the Independent sneeringly eviscerating EA [obviously having garnered info from  insiders whispering against EA - I'm not suggesting +Vin was behind it but he certainly didn't stop or block it]

    That during his time as head of the Bishops Conference we have had appointments of known pro-abortion legislators and enforcers, that population control advocates have been allowed to maintain consultative positions – and need I mention the unmitigated disaster that is CAFOD?

    What has the Archbishop of Westminster done to deal with any of these scandals?
    Nada: Nyet: Rien: Zilch!!!

    ….and need I mention the national scandal that Our Lady’s Dowry – with all the millions pouring into and leaking out of Eccleston Square – does not have a National Catholic Pro-Life organization?

    Culture of Death?
    We don’t need to acknowledge it by name – we’re fully aware of what it is because we’re up to our neck in it!!!

  • Cestius

    I feel the term is pretty accurate, and when John Paul II coined the phrase, most faithful Catholics knew exactly what he meant.  Particularly relating to abortion and euthanasia (thinly disguised as assisted suicide.)  Of course it might not always be helpful to use it outside Catholic circles, I think it depends on the circumstances.

  • NewMeena

    Even IVF is apparently seen by Catholics as part of their “culture of death” fantasy.

    I doubt that the phrase will bring much hostility from non-theists. But including procedures such as early abortion, euthanasia in the case of intelligent and aware people (who wish it) suffering great pain and discomfort and IVF, will bring down more derision on the Church. 

  • teigitur

    Oh I think the Church will withstand it. But your concern it touching.

  • Paula

    Seems that the only people who have a problem with this ‘negativism’ are he British, who apart from drowning in the culture of death are also drowning with their political correctness and diplomatic way of saying things. I appretiate there is a desire not to offend but sometimes the truth is needed and offen when this is said bluntly, many pull out the ‘offended’ or ‘that’s personal’ card. No wonder many are having problems facing the abort 67 posters. Many people are critical of the gruesome photos and condem them but are quite happy for this gruesome reality to continue happening behind closed doors in abortion clinics. By the way since my school times, teachers have refered to european countries living in a culture of death and culture of death indeed it is.

  • Just_a_simpleton

    Didn’t you know the Church is founded on derision?  Compared with the derision heaped upon our Lord and Saviour any derision (including yours) is little enough. God bless.

  • Just_a_simpleton

    I don’t know why this is even a discussion.  Millions of abortions, and millions of embryos experimented upon or ‘wasted’ by IVF, the vociferous push for euthanasia and assisted suicide, etc.  It’s blindingly obvious that we have a ‘culture of death.’   Of course, it’s not surprisingly for this topic to be debated in The Tablet, which is hardly a defender of Catholic teaching on the right to life.  I stand with the likes of John Paul II,  Cardinals Doland, Burke and O’Malley, Bishop Egan and Edmund Adamus.

  • Robert

    But the phrase in JPII,s usage is much broader, it is everything that is opposed to Jesus Christ who is “Life” itself

  • awkwardcustomer

    The fact alone that the Tablet has condemned the use of ‘culture of death’ suggests that this is a highly effective and accurate term.  

  • Muniment_Room

    What Paul said.

    Plus using an expression like “Culture of Death” allows us to set the terms of the debate, instead of our having it framed for us.

    We’ll just have to live with The Tablet and Heythrop College not being on the same side as Bl JPII, the three US Cardinals, the new Bishop of Portsmouth, and a fair number of the rest of us as well.

  • orapronobis

    When a liberal states that the phrase the ‘culture of death’ is too hostile, what they are actually doing is once again elevating political correctness at the expense of the truths of the Church. 

    It is not just shorthand for abortion, euthanasia & IVF, but also for aggressive consumerism and greed, aggressive secularism, the new age movement, and ANY contemporary barrier which is placed between man and God.

    The ‘culture of death’ is the devils work and therein lies the problem. The people who say that we should not use this phrase are also the ones, who are at work within the church, and sideline the concept of sin and the need for confession, and in doing so move themselves and other Catholics away from Christ.

  • scary goat

    I’m not sure that it’s too offensive……I just don’t think they really understand what we mean by it. Maybe a different term could express it better?  

  • NewMeena

    I was attempting to do that rare thing on the CH website: to actually respond to the article. The article, in its title, asks “is it helpful”. I don’t think so.

    It serves no purpose to respond with cheap sarcasm.  

  • NewMeena

    Forgive an amateur, but is it not founded on rock?

  • NewMeena

    PS: I have never – and would never – heap derision on Jesus of Nazareth.

  • NewMeena

    What a shocking rant!
    Not only against secular progressives, but also against progressive members of your Church, including the leading Catholic in England.

  • Parasum

    The Papacy is not in a good position to condemn others – in the past, it was content to be no different. That past is coming back to haunt it. If it is to condemn moral evils, it needs to find ways to do so that don’t provoke the retort “Don’t be such a hypocrite – you are not free of blame yourself”. And yet, it cannot let evils go unchallenged, as though they were not evil.

    That means it needs to disentangle itself from its message. One way of doing that is to live lives that are so unanswerably good & gracious that they show up the spiritual grubbiness of everyone else’s life. But such radiant Christian holiness, which would be an immensely powerful witness to Christ, is not something one can “adopt” as a “strategy”; it is not at man’s command.  And people can’t take up being Saints for worldly ends, however admirable.  

    The most powerful witness against sin is holiness. Words & doctrines are not as powerful – St. Philip Neri left Rome transformed from the semi-pagan place he found it, because he was a Saint. The living force of the Holy Spirit in him – not primarily his words – brought the change about. Without his holiness, all the Papal Bulls and attempts to ensure compliance with the reforming canons of Trent would have got nowhere.  Bulls and canons and encyclicals are just paper and ink – but Christian holiness is far more powerful, because it is far more personal.

    STM we need people like him – not just because he was a Saint, but because he is a Saint whose character is remarkably well-fitted to make him an antidote to the evils of our culture:  [scroll down to the Epilogue]

    The culture will be transformed and purified by the Holiness of Christ in His Saints, not by words – “the letter kills, it is the Spirit Who gives life”. Winning arguments will be useless, if hearts are not won.

  • Parasum

     It is not just shorthand for abortion, euthanasia & IVF, but also
    for aggressive consumerism, aggressive secularism, the new age movement,
    the infantilisation of teenagers, divorce (etc…) and ANY contemporary
    barrier which is placed between man and God.

    ## In which case, why not call it “sin” instead of “the culture of death” ? STM the bishops are concerned with “pelvic sins” and secularism (in some of its forms), not with the other stuff you mention.

    Nationalism, racialism, pleasure-worship, money-worship, & love of domination over others are all contemporary evils – and very old ones.  When did anyone last hear a sermon that mentioned the deadly sin of sloth ? Or even avarice ? Pride has become a virtue – it is no longer the “head and front of all offending”. Satan’s fall was not caused by liberalism, using a condom, or dissenting from “Humanae Vitae”. “Liberality” is a word never heard these days – yet it is a virtue commended to Christians in the NT. 

    Nothing in V2 abolished the seven deadly sins, the list of them, or the lists of “Four Sins that cry to Heaven for Vengeance”, or the “Nine Ways of Offending”, or the other useful not-so-trivial trivia that used to be printed in prayer-books.  Putting them back in prayer books should surely not be beyond the C.T.S. – and it would a step in the right direction, because this kind of info helps mould the Catholic character. Memorising these things would be good for the memory, and good for the formation of Catholics.

    And it would end the silly & ill-informed habit some have of talking about “greed” when they usually mean is “avarice” – “greed” could be “avarice”, or else a form of the sin of “gluttony”; it’s ambiguous and unhelpful to say “greed”. Gluttony is surely a contemporary sin – but how often do the clergy preach about it ? The help we need, is the very help they often don’t give :(

  • Parasum

    Then he should have said “sin”. God turns His Face, not from dead bodies, but from living sinners. Death is only a consequence of sin – to condemn death but not sin, is to scotch the serpent, not to kill it. Death would be nothing, but for sin. Sin is not confined to any faction or party – it can’t be politicised  by being identified with a particular group alone, because it is a universal scourge. As St. Paul made very clear in Romans 1-3. The Wrath of God is poured out upon impenitent sinners – not upon corpses. Death is intimately related to sin, but it is not the same. It is not death that separates us from God, and that can damn us, but sin.

  • theroadmaster

    The words “Culture of Death” evoke an apocalyptic nightmare of gulags and concentration camps in a totalitarian landscape and thus might be regarded by some as rather overstating the facts in relation to right-to-life issues.  But if we examine the situation situation more closely, we can see how life at both it’s natural beginning and end has become seriously undermined by the promotion of such evils as abortion, embryonic research and euthanasia over recent decades.  The dissembling nature of the language used by advocates of these positions has given them a false credibility which continues to hide their morally corrosive and dangerous nature.  Phrases like “right to choose”, “a greater good” or “a compassionate end to suffering” will continue to distort and mislead those listening to debates on right-to-life issues until they are challenged and revealed for what they are, by pro-life advocates

  • theroadmaster

    The words “Culture of Death” evoke an apocalyptic nightmare of gulags and concentration camps in a totalitarian landscape, and thus might be regarded by some as rather overstating the facts in relation to right-to-life issues.  But if we examine the situation more closely, we can see how life at both it’s natural beginning and end has become seriously undermined by the promotion of such evils as abortion, embryonic research and euthanasia, over recent decades.  The dissembling nature of the language used by advocates of these positions, has given them a false credibility which continues to hide their morally corrosive and dangerous nature.  Phrases like “right to choose”, “a greater good” or “a compassionate end to suffering” will continue to distort  the truth and mislead those listening to debates on right-to-life issues until they are challenged and revealed for what they are, by pro-life advocates

  • Parasum

    The problem with IVF in particular is that involves “harvesting” body-parts from dead human foetuses – but that amounts to treating humans as  commodities. It is no better than slavery was – which most people would regard as a great evil. To treat people as commodities is reductive, and indescribably demeaning. It degrades those who do it. And it makes discerning the wrongness of other offences against the person harder; for when we do wrong, coarsening of delicacy of conscience is one of the results. It is an offence against society – because our moral choices have effects beyond calculation, for good and evil.

  • teigitur

    It keeps me amused, so a purpose is indeed served.

  • paulpriest

     Do you seriously think I enjoyed saying it?
    That I haven’t begged, pleaded, implored His Grace and the powers-that-be to do something to clean out these Augean Stables which scandalise us all and despoil Our Lady’s Dowry?

    …and answer came there none except a continuance of fiasco after fiasco…

    The Papal Visit screw up where the coffers were empty and only Damian Thompson’s revelations led to Government intervention to rescue us from national humiliation.

    The months of total silence – refusing to redress or counter the malicious stitch-up witch hunt about the Pope and clerical abuse…lies upon calumnies upon mendacities…and they said not one word until ultimately one Bishop took a stand and even then when forcing the Bishops’ hands to make a joint statement in papal defence – they watered it down to wash their hands of any culpability and damned His Holiness with the faintest of support – and to quote another Bishop “Well I think the Pope should be condemned!…

    The Ad Limina where en masse our Bishops rejected His Holiness’ invitation to Extraordinary Form Vespers? Where the Pope gently reprimanded them – and they still didn’t understand His Holiness’ grave concerns – so continued obliviously with ‘business as usual’…

    The Vaughan!!!? Nuff said!

    The Ordinariate – +Vin off in Rome making secret negotiations over the formation of the Ordinariate while simultaneously being vociferously antipathetic to them among the hierarchy.
    And now they’ve arrived?
    Despite His Holiness’s appeal to our Bishops to support His flock in the Ordinariate our crowd refuse to give them an HQ or even their own Church – on the grounds of ‘well we wouldn’t want to financially burden you!!!”

    The Warwick Street Sunday same-sex speed-dating spectacular?!!!

    The downright ‘larceny with the Truth’  that the Church does not oppose Civil Partnerships? +Vin only ‘clarifying’ when knuckles were rapped by Rome

    The suicide strategy of opposing same-sex marriage by refusing to use the single weapon we possess – that the LGBT don’t want marriage – they want its abolition and the whole nation to have enforced downgrading to civil partnerships!
    Instead they rewrite Catholic definitions of marriage [ 'it's all about kids'!!!]  and adopt a victim-siege mentality and make appeals to the end of civilization as we know it – making us look like homophobes who want to pull the ladder up…..

    The Ambrosden avenue shenanigans where normative Cathedral relations were severed and the three auxiliaries were made to feel as welcome as amoebic dysentery – Where Westminster used to be like a miniature Whitehall it’s now more redolent of Chapter one of War & Peace….

    The International Catholic Day for Life where we are called to speak out against the culture of death and all its genocidal evils – and what have we had?
    One year where we promote ‘environmental sustainability’ [advocating environmental strategies which - had our Bishops bothered to check the literature - were also promoting intensive 'culture of death' population control]
    And this year ? We got Jog for Jesus and eat your five a day!!!

    The Westminster farce continues…

    ….and we’re supposed to deny all this?

    Smile as we enter the Year Of Faith as if we’re at the dawn of a New Spring for the Church – where we speak of the New Evangelisation and the Common Good as if our parishes aren’t being wiped out throughout the land and millions of Catholics are being denied their culture, their heritage and their Catholic identity – schools with 94% lapsation…generations of Catholics lost to us…

    We’re dispossessed, disenfranchised…and all our grave concerns are swathingly dismissed…

    …and we’re just asking for how long will this go on?

    The Church in this fair land was a sinking ship – and +Vin sailed over to Westminster with his very own anvil…adopting a policy of drilling holes in the bottom of the boat to let the water out!

  • teigitur

    “Shocking rant” You really are a hoot.PP says it as it is, almost always on the money. It is a measure of authenticity if what he says  “shocks” you.

  • Benedict Carter

    We are living in the End Times if Fatima, Akita and Garabandal are correct. The first two have been judged to be authentic; the third has been judged by the Church to contain nothing against the Faith or Revelation: the Magisterium awaits the first of the three Garabandal miracles, the Warning (which, if it is true, MUST take place in our lifetimes).

    If these are indeed the End Times (I myself do believe so) then it is not a good thing to be pussy-footing around worrying who might be shocked or offended. 

    We have to tell it as it is. The times are truly evil and we must shout this out from the rooftops. The Salvation of billions of souls demands it.

  • TreenonPoet

    A death cult could be one that (1) talks about such topics as ‘End Times’, (2) thinks that what follows death can be better than what precedes it, (3) given free rein, would burn heretics to death, (4) is represented by the symbol of a man dying an excruciating death, (5) would rather allow a mother and her unborn to die than save the mother with an abortion, (6) treats some victims of child abuse so badly that they commit suicide, (7) reveres a character who thought that children who dishonour their parents should be put to death, (8) worships a god who approves the smiting of innocent men, women, and children, and who punishes all mankind for a sin that was not their fault and, worst of all, (9) acts to ensure there will be maximum casualties as a consequence of overpopulation.

  • Oconnord

    There’s a bad old joke about a drowning Christian. As a Lifeguard reaches for him, he says, No! God will save me. Then a Lifeboat appears, which he also refuses. At his end a trawler looks to rescue him, but he kicks away, saying that God will save me. Then he drowns.

    The punchline of course being that you can’t reply on miracles, sometimes the divine is mundane. God rescued him three times, he was just too arrogant to notice.

    We live in a world of “common sense” and politick statements like “a culture of death” are ridiculous.
    IVF, for example, is seen as life giving. An idea that would be shared by most catholics. The church fails to have a coherent reason to explain otherwise.  Prayers, posters ,harsh language, nasty images.. they are just a distraction. 

    How do you convince people you are right?
    Where will the renewal come from?  

  • Just_a_simpleton

    Yes, it (or rather, she) is founded on rock and the rock has a two-fold meaning: Christ and Peter.  The Church is founded primarily on Christ – she is Christ’s Church, his bride. If you deride the bride you deride the groom for they are one body. Any derision of the Church is derision of Christ.

  • teigitur

    Thats not such a bad joke Damo, not bad at all, the message, as you point out, is clear.
     I disagree we live in a world of “common sense”. Nothing could be further from the truth, it is in very short supply.
     Ah! IVF.It IS seen as life giving and it does give life. I have family members that can testify to that. The Church has a very coherent reason for opposong it. That being; in a nutshell, it seperates sex from procreation. The same as contraception. I agree with the Church on this, at least in theory. In practice of course its much more difficult to resist. But some-one has to hold the bottom line, and the Church continues to do that, to it’s eternal credit.
     Renewal is of course on-going and comes, as everything does, from the Holy Spirit. A hard concept for an organic atheist to grasp, Damo, but I m sure you’ ll have a stab at it!! lol

  • awkwardcustomer

    Anyone who thinks that the term ‘culture of death’ is a bit ‘negative’ should listen to the words of Bishop Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, on the Democratic Party platform’s support for “intrinsic evils” like abortion and “same-sex marriage”. According to a report by the Catholic News Agency on Bishop Paprocki’s comments: 

    ‘He said that voting for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are “intrinsically evil and gravely sinful” makes a voter “morally complicit” and places the eternal salvation of his or her soul in “serious jeopardy.”

  • JabbaPapa


    hmmm, well this description of the Virgin is completely accurate, anyway :

    Her hair, deep nut-brown, is parted in the center. Her face is long, with a fine nose. Her mouth is very pretty with lips a bit thin. She looks like a girl of eighteen. She is rather tall.

  • Lazarus

    Like most rhetoric, it is useful in some circumstances, less useful in others. It’s useful in describing the logical links between apparently disparate evils such as abortion, contraception and euthanasia, and useful in encouraging a sense of identity amongst those, Catholics and others, who are opposed to them. It’s less useful where it, crudely, gets people’s backs up: it might put off some who might listen if the message were put in less stark terms. On the whole, I think it’s more helpful than not: it certainly helped me in developing m,y understanding of these areas. 

  • Herman U. Ticke

    Doctor Gemma Simmonds, 

    a lecturer at Heythrop College, 


    “The theology of Vatican II makes clear 

    that the Holy Spirit speaks within contemporary culture 

    and in many voices outside 

    as well as within the Church.”

    From the Catechism of St. Thomas Aquinas
    R.P.T. Pegues O.P.
    Burns & Oates  
    London 1922

    Q.  Is there not an implacable opposition between the
    Wisdom of God and the wisdom of the world?

    A.  There is. Because each regards the other as folly.

  • Patrickhowes

    Shocking-but alas all too true.

  • scary goat

     What about “culture of self-destruction”? Any good?

  • JabbaPapa

    With all due respect, you’re comparing apples and oranges.

    The Holy Spirit has of course no limitations on where it can speak — which says nothing against the stark opposition between the Wisdom of God and the wisdom of the world.

  • orapronobis

     You are absolutely right, it is all sin.

    I have just gone in to battle with the overtly liberal parish council at St Marys.

    They are for the first time in 50 years hearing that there is a concept known as sin in the Catholic Church. It as come as a big shock to some of them.

  • Acleron

    The term ‘culture of death’ is rather irrelevant except in showing the paucity of the argument by having to rely on cheap and inaccurate slogans. But you have put your finger on the real reasons behind the slogan. It has nothing to do with the current state of society and far more to do with your beliefs.

    Now the concept of believing in something that shows no evidence of existing is not very hard to grasp at all. After all, there are plenty of examples of such beliefs and they all have similar characteristics. Of course, all these beliefs are quite different, often opposed and are all held quite deeply. A very simplistic concept then, it just happens to fly in the face of the evidence.

  • frater sejunctus

    Dr Oddie strikes this outside observer as having flipped a few steps beyond Semi-Pelagianism here; it’s reminiscent of American Armininians with their fingers in the air, checking what will please the culture.

    As for Vatican II & its Gaudium et Spes, let’s not go there. …Show where the NT takes this tack.

    If by “culture of death” is meant what the Didache labels the “way of death”, then the new Bishop is spot on. …Whether or not his diagnosis is “helpful” (i.e., panders to the unbelieving mob, headed to destruction), it is “true” (i.e., corresponds to Holy Scripture and orthodox tradition).

    Britain’s culture of death produced by its collective walking along the way of death badly needs a stout preaching of repentance.

    This expatriate Briton, now of another nationality, would dearly like to know who is preaching repentance in contemporary England. …Certainly neither +Rowan nor +Vincent. …Bishop Nazir Ali perhaps (though altogether too politely), but he has no chance of “elevation” to the see of Canterbury.

  • GFFM

    One should call it as one sees it. The culture of death is a reality. One of the hallmarks of modernity is its flight from reality and its enthusiasm for immnentist political ideologies. Britain and the West have embraced the secularist culture of death–no euphemism will do to describe this collaboration with the what Flannery O’Connor calls modernity, “The Church of Christ Without Christ.”

  • Alexander VI

    Hopefully  our bishops will continue to ignore people like you…… 

  • Benedict Carter
  • Kevin

    It would be more interesting to debate the alternative: is it feasible to flatter a society into outlawing abortion, infanticide, living wills and assisted suicide?

  • Benedict Carter


  • JabbaPapa

    Whereas your own cheap and inaccurate slogans are of course pearls of wisdom and “reason” ?

    Yeah, right ….

  • Acleron

    Got any examples of my cheap and inaccurate slogans?

  • JabbaPapa

    Yeah, I watched a similar one earlier — thanks for the full 1980 interview though.

    We DO have to be very careful with Prophecy (as Card. Ratzinger eloquently describes in his theological commentary accompanying the revelation of the third secret of Fatima) — because even *when* it is genuine, it may be delivered as a warning, that God may change His Mind about, so that some genuine Prophecies may never come to pass.

    Two points about this — we are into our fourth Pope after John XXIII, so that if that Prophecy about only three more Popes were accurate at one point, God has clearly averted that one. Pope John Paul II indeed attributed his survival of the assassination attempt to a protection by the Virgin – which I believe.

    Second, she says the Virgin described Vatican II as “a great Council”, which I take as meaning one of the Great Councils in the History of our Church. Now I’m utterly opposed to the abuses and rebellions that are inherent in the “spirit of the council”, but this Prophecy is important as well !!!

  • JabbaPapa

    You make some very very good points — though to be totally fair, Catholicism in the UK has been in a VERY difficult state of affairs since Henry VIII’s near-successful attempt to just utterly destroy it.

    The upcoming generation of Bishops is probably the first that we’ve had since that time with anything even resembling a solid grounding, and the current and previous generation, with all of its massive flaws, has nevertheless set in place a structure within which growth is now an objective possibility, instead of the vague dream that it was prior to WW2.