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The Holy Father’s warnings on secularism and religious liberty are borne out by the consequences of the same sex marriage Bill.

But will the next pope carry on the struggle against the dictatorship of relativism with the same clarity and determination?

By on Friday, 15 February 2013

POPE BENEDICT RECEIVES HIS NEW BOOK FROM GERMAN JOURNALIST  PETER SEEWALD

One of the most central insights of Pope Benedict’s pontificate was summed up in his phrase “the dictatorship of relativism”. In his now famous conversation with the German journalist Peter Seewald (the same one on which he said that popes can abdicate), he said this, in explanation: “In the name of tolerance, tolerance is being abolished; this is a real threat we face. The danger is that reason – so-called Western reason – claims that it has now really recognized what is right and thus makes a claim to totality that is inimical to freedom. I believe that we must very emphatically delineate this danger. No one is forced to be a Christian. But no one should be forced to live according to the ‘new religion’ as though it alone were definitive and obligatory for all mankind.”

Later, he said this: “the reality is in fact such that certain forms of behavior and thinking are being presented as the only reasonable ones and, therefore, as the only appropriately human ones. Christianity finds itself exposed now to an intolerant pressure that at first ridicules it – as belonging to a perverse, false way of thinking – and then tries to deprive it of breathing space in the name of an ostensible rationality.”

There can be little doubt that this secularist dictatorship is being rolled out in this country today, notably in the education system, where in certain key areas, certain forms of behaviour must be presented as being valid and acceptable whether or not teachers believe they are. Only a few days before Pope Benedict’s bombshell, Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury spoke out about the implications for religious liberty of the vote last Tuesday on the same sex “marriage” bill now being pushed (probably irresistibly) through the Commons by the “Conservative” Prime Minister, David Cameron. Bishop Davies last week told married couples gathered from all over his diocese to celebrate landmark anniversaries at an annual Mass of Thanksgiving for Marriage that it was possible to “see the absurdity of changing the identity of marriage in the name of a false understanding of equality by the desire to even strike out the cherished names of ‘mother’ and ‘father’”.

That was a predictable enough criticism. But he also repeated a warning he has given before: having said that recognising the truth of marriage was not “an injustice to be remedied” he went on to predict that soon it could even become an offence to repeat “the beautiful teaching of Christ” that marriage is the lasting union of one man and one woman which forms the foundation of the family.

He is hardly alone, though I didn’t notice even Catholic MPs sounding the same warning in last week’s commons debate (I hope to be corrected; I did nod off once or twice). Many others have made the same prediction. Last month, no fewer than 1,000 Catholic bishops and priests signed a letter to the Telegraph:

“SIR – After centuries of persecution, Catholics have, in recent times, been able to be members of the professions and participate fully in the life of this country.

“Legislation for same-sex marriage, should it be enacted, will have many legal consequences, severely restricting the ability of Catholics to teach the truth about marriage in their schools, charitable institutions or places of worship.

“It is meaningless to argue that Catholics and others may still teach their beliefs about marriage in schools and other arenas if they are also expected to uphold the opposite view at the same time.”

This is not, of course, the only unfolding secularist threat to religious liberty in the Western world: such challenges take different legal forms depending on where you are, and there are analogous threats all over Europe; even in the US (supposedly more religious than we less churchgoing Europeans are), the government is mounting an anti-Christian, and more specifically an anti- Catholic, threat to religious freedom, which has spawned legal disputes all over the country.

The Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act requires employers with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance, and the Obama administration says an insurance plan must pay for basic preventive care, including contraceptives. Earlier this month the Obama administration proposed a compromise for some nonprofit religious organizations, such as Catholic hospitals and colleges, that would allow them to avoid paying directly for such insurance. But the administration refused to consider a similar exemption for private, for-profit employers. The Catholic bishops say this exemption should apply to any employer who has a conscientious objection to providing contraception (this includes abortifacient drugs).

The Holy Father’s influence can be seen very clearly in the American Bishops’ struggle against their authoritarian government. Over a year ago, in an ad limina viit to Rome, Bishops, with the Obama regime’s health provision legislation on mind, he said this to them: “it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life. Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion… concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.”

We are not alone in this country. But there is one sense in which the threat to Catholics here is even more serious. There is a threat to the education system which is more serious here, where the detailed content of most education is state controlled to a degree inconceivable in the US. If the State insists that children are taught, even in Catholic schools, that the view that marriage can be between those of the same sex has the same validity as the Catholic view that it can only be between a man and a woman, then a teacher who refuses to teach this will be breaking the law. And then what?

It’s high time for Catholics to mount a sustained and convincing fight on this issue. But we need leadership. So where, apart from Bishops Davies and Egan (“the usual suspects”, they are already being called) are our bishops? Where? I know some of them signed that Telegraph letter: but we need more than that.

And now another question imperatively presents itself. Will the new pope give the same clear teaching on this issue as we have had from the present Holy Father? We all face an uncertain future; there is a lot to pray about.

  • OldMeena

    “Catholics cherish the traditional family.”  — so do others, together with new forms of family life.

    “They regard contraception, divorce, sex outside marriage and abortion wrong and dangerous for society but unfortunately legal.” 
    — And many others regard these as “blessings”, and fortunately legal.

    “But so called homosexual marriage is a tipping point.” — this is futurology. We will see.

    “A redefinition of marriage which ignores the complimentary nature of traditional marriage”   —  No it doesn’t ignore this at all. But there can also be a complementarity between a loving couple of the same sex.

    While I may not consider your views as “scaremongering of dishonest”, I do consider them narrow-minded and blinkered.

  • CullenD

    For me an institution is somewhere you forced to live, with choices removed, at the whim of an authority. 

    I very, very got close to marriage once and neither of us thought we were entering an institution.

    I’ve never met a man or woman who still thinks marriage is an institution. You are of course correct by definition, but social understanding is different.

  • CullenD

    At this stage it’s like a guest at a dinner party shouting “And another thing!”

    The guest ignores the fact that the discussion ended an hour ago. He ignores the fact he’s being unsociable, then repeats his reputed and dismissed arguments verbatim. He just can’t accept that he lost, so tries to desperately appeal for anyone who will agree. He turns to the exotic guest, who he threatened to kill earlier, for support. They both agree that everybody else has no right to be at the party.

      

  • JabbaPapa

    the discussion ended an hour ago

    You are fantasising …

    Marriage only exists between one man, one woman, and their offspring.

    No matter WHAT any laws of whichever countries or territories may say, the relationship of two men, or two women, is NOT “marriage”.

  • JabbaPapa

    You have simply demonstrated your own subjection to the intellectual dictatorship in question.

  • JabbaPapa

    At the heart of Catholicism … is the oppression of women.

    What a load of b-word …

  • JabbaPapa

    The one that was not independent, un-biased or scientific? The one that was widely discredited as flawed, despite peer review.

    No, we’re talking about the one that underwent, and is still undergoing, serious peer review, that homosexualist political lobbyists slandered and grossly misrepresented in the international Press, and was entirely independent and unbiased despite the shrieking protestations of the gay lobby otherwise, and their absolutely VILE personal attacks and attempts at professional character assassination against the author of the report.

  • Kevin

    “we need more than that”

    Can the clergy get any advice from their Chinese counterparts on this? We need to resist in a manner that does not automatically make martyrs of us as isolated individuals. We need to resist collectively so that we may continue to enjoy the benefits of employment and economic co-operation, even if it is only among ourselves and our friends.

    In other words, we need to be more worldly about this, if only that our children may not grow up in poverty.

  • teigitur

    In a way what people “think” is an institution is not relevant. Society tells us marriage is. Indeed the poetic Anglican marriage ceremony mentions this and calls it an “honourable estate”. I mention this because the Anglican Church is far more entrenched in UK ( English) society than the RC Church is in Ireland. Even yet.

  • teigitur

    Your view of “institution” is interesting, and particularly Irish!
     I hope you enjoyed your jolly into Dublin. I am having a quiet weekend for once and intend to do a lot of cooking, and reading.

  • Sanddwood

    The Holy Father was instrumental to my conversion too. For me, it was love at first sight when I saw him at  JPII funeral. His love for humanity shines like a light for those of us who are searching for Truth that does not change.

    He is very right to warn us about same-sex ‘marriage’, because this is not about ‘equaqlity’ it is actually just another attack on women and children. If you think about it, how can two men be fruitful?

    If you think it is alright for them to ‘buy a womb’ if they want to, then as a woman, wife, mother and grandmother  I am afraid for the future of my grandchildren. Just look at Elton John’s exclusively male family, where a woman’s body has been bought and not for sexual pleasure but for her lifegiving capacity.

    And don’t you dare to call me homophobic! My only beloved son is gay, I have known him since his conception and I love him dearly, but I will not be bullied into changing the Law of Nature and bending the Truth to be Politically Correct.

    May God have mercy on us.

  • http://twitter.com/LaCatholicState la catholic state

    If you belive in divorce contraception fornication etc….then you don’t really have high regard for marriage as these undermine the traditional family.

    And I increasingly find that those who back gay so-called marriage….are very anti-straight women and anti-womanhood.

  • Acleron

    Jabba defines marriage. Governments, States and others also define marriage. Perhaps it would be better to consider the opinions of those who are considering all in society rather than those who believe in hating and vilifying all those who are different.

    No Jabba, the definition of marriage has changed from before your religion was a twinkle in the eye of Christ’s parents and will continue to change as society changes. The less your religion is able to change the less important it will become.

  • Acleron

    The scare tactics of your leader smack of desperation. Secularism means equality for all, just how that equates into -

    ‘it could even become an offence to repeat “the beautiful teaching of Christ” that marriage is the lasting union of one man and one woman which forms the foundation of the family.’

    - is difficult to understand.

    But I suppose he could be right in one respect – equality for all means that the special privileges enjoyed and abused by religions would be removed. Gosh you might have to justify your objectionable actions against gays, women and Africans. You might even have to start paying tax when religion is deemed not to be a charity but a business.

  • Acleron

    The scare tactics of your leader smack of desperation. Secularism means equality for all, just how that equates into -

    ‘it could even become an offence to repeat “the beautiful teaching of Christ” that marriage is the lasting union of one man and one woman which forms the foundation of the family.’

    - is difficult to understand.

    But I suppose he could be right in one respect – equality for all means that the special privileges enjoyed and abused by religions would be removed. Gosh you might have to justify your objectionable actions against gays, women and Africans. You might even have to start paying tax when religion is deemed not to be a charity but a business.

  • JabbaPapa

    Secularism means equality for all

    Of course it doesn’t !!!

    It means the imposition of a certain set of ideologies upon one and all.

  • JabbaPapa

    rather than those who believe in hating and vilifying all those who are different

    ie — radical atheists.

  • Pete

    Life is tough, brockbabe, and then you die.  Grow up.  Life is tough for everyone, even your hated group of supposedly pampered men, whom you present as privileged.  Our refuge, and our help,  is the Church and Jesus,

  • CullenD

    If using an analogy is fantasising… then guilty as charged.

    You can assert that marriage is between one man, one woman, and their offspring, and in many countries you are correct to a point. But it is not true in Spain, Holland, Saudi Arabia… etc. It’s also not true for married couples worldwide who don’t have offspring.

    Marriage is whatever a particular society defines it to be. You are free to consider certain marriages invalid, but you’ll have to accept that you’ll be in a minority. You’ll also be incorrect in respect of the law.

  • majorcalamity

    What “intellectual dictatorship”? No-one tells me what to think. I reach my own conclusions. You have just demonstrated how silly such remarks really are.The debate is devalued as a consequence. If there is any “intellectual dictatorship” in play it comes from the RC Church, who instruct their members how they are to think, and if they dare exercise their own brains, call them heretics.

  • majorcalamity

    I disagree. I think a great deal of effort is made to respect conscientious objection and to let common sense prevail. There are though some aggressive religious groups, and individuals, determined to see offence at every turn, and the devil under every bed. There are some shady people funding the various legal challenges which have been made in recent years and we all, you included, need to try to determine what their real objectives are.  

  • Sweetjae

    A Da Vinci conspiracy theorist eh? So to you the liberal ideas, half-truths and gross exaggerations are your gospels.

    Well forget the Catholics who believe that to love your neighbor as yourself as epitome of Christian principle that is second to none. Forget about their Church to be the largest provider of charitable actions, health care centers, community hospitals, orphanages, soup kitchens, rehabilitations, school and university system, feeding the poorest of the poor and marginalized etc.

    All you seem to care about is yourself and the tiny dot on the white paper. Why don’t you rant about the killing fields of communism and atheism? The last time I checked more than 200,000,000 plus million deaths.

  • mollysdad

    Marriage is defined in terms of the act which consummates it. How do you consummate a same-sex marriage?

  • Sweetjae

    You are deluded and failed to recognize the difference between the actions of the priest (if it’s true) and the Articles of our Catholic Faith.

    Where does our faith say to beat women or any of your supposed atrocities? Ours is of loving others as ourselves, those that you see on the contrary are not being faithful to that beliefs. A huge difference! So don’t compare us to the Talibans or Communists, you sounded silly.

  • TheBlueWarrior

    “But there can also be a complementarity between a loving couple of the same sex.”
    How?  One likes to cook and the other likes to eat?  Because it sure isn’t the physical and sexual complementarity of natural law.    

  • Sweetjae

    Comparing same-sex marriage and women’s right to drive as the same Is comparing apples and oranges. The former is against the laws of Nature the latter is not. The former undermines the very nature and purpose of family and continuity of the species the latter is not.

  • Sweetjae

    What would Jesus do? It’s a clique of modern relativistic Protestant theology that actually amounts to a blank check of morality of whatever pleases one.

    According to fact finding commission the highest number of child sexual abuse is in the School System. We strongly condemn child abuse to the fullest but be fair, there are only 5% of the Catholic clergy were found as bad apples and rest of 95% are good ones. Still low compare to other institutions.

    Don’t believe in the gross exaggerations of liberal Media because they hated the Catholic Church as it stands in their way for total immoral domination of earth they espoused like abortion over the counter, euthanasia, cloning, gay-marriage etc.

    On the other hand, what do we expect from you if you are one of them?

  • Sweetjae

    What would Jesus do? It’s a clique of modern relativistic Protestant theology that actually amounts to a blank check of morality of whatever pleases one.

    According to fact finding commission the highest number of child sexual abuse is in the School System. We strongly condemn child abuse to the fullest but be fair, there are only 5% of the Catholic clergy were found as bad apples and rest of 95% are good ones. Still low compare to other institutions.

    Don’t believe in the gross exaggerations of liberal Media because they hated the Catholic Church as it stands in their way for total immoral domination of earth they espoused like abortion over the counter, euthanasia, cloning, gay-marriage etc.

    On the other hand, what do we expect from you if you are one of them?

  • Sweetjae

    You have none even the slightest of an idea of what the Catholic Church’s teaching on sexuality, procreation and responsibilities of a husband in relation to his wife and of both. All you accuse as of is misrepresentation and just amounts to a diatribe rant.

    The catholic church has done more for feeding the poorest regardless of sex, religion or race and other charitable acts to equal treatment of human beings than any other institutions, SECOND TO NONE. What you only see is a dot on the white paper.

  • OldMeena

    A further tribute to Pope Benedict:

    ” Father Gabriele Amorth, the founder and head of the International Association of Exorcists, said the German pontiff had “done many things for exorcists” during his eight-year papacy, which will come to an end on Feb 28.He said Benedict, regarded as a staunch conservative during his time in office, had “allowed exorcists to administer the sacrament of exorcism not only to people who are suffering from demonic possession, but also those who suffer other evil disorders, such as diabolical infestations.” (AND in the Telegraph too)

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/the-pope/9873017/Worlds-leading-exorcist-praises-Pope-Benedict.html

  • Nicolas Burbach

    Catholics won’t be precluded from teaching their definition of the nature of marriage: they’ll merely be precluded from teaching their definition as the only one. However, this is hardly a problem. If a teacher is forced to say that “the Catholic definition of marriage is between one man and one woman, but it has other meanings in other groups”, all the better – after all, it is the truth. What is false is teaching a definition of marriage as the only one in the face of a diverse society. 

    The Government has (finally) got this right by allowing individual religious groups to choose the nature of the unions for which they choose to administer the sacrament. Furthermore, although there is the assumption that multiple definitions are equally valid on the part of the government (which amounts to relativism), this value judgement is not foisted upon individual groups. If a child identifies as a Catholic, they should identify with the Catholic definition. Acknowledging the existence of any group which disagrees with your worldview does not necessitate the adopting of their worldview or even holding it as equally valid.

  • majorcalamity

    And I guess you haven’t! You have just read the Catholic analysis of the news. None of these things have actually happened in the way they are being spun. All that has happened is a rebalancing of rights.

  • majorcalamity

    Extending the concept of marriage diminishes no-one and enriches some. It strengthens the institution of marriage, rather than weakening it. That two men cannot be fruitful has no impact at all on the fruitfulness of the unions of men and women, who do not need the institution of marriage to achieve it. Those who object are doing so on some very muddled grounds. It most certainly is not an attack on women, or children, some of whom, like your own son, will be gay. I encourage you to reflect and rethink.

  • Patricius

    “Extending the concept of marriage diminishes no-one …”

    Like adding sand to sugar, perhaps?

  • majorcalamity

    This comes from someone who believes secularism is aggressive! Sorry, but you are totally wrong.  No-one will force you to change your objections, or continue to campaign for them but if the law changes, it changes for everyone. You included. You don’t own the right to define the word.

  • majorcalamity

    Defined by whom? Not by me in this way, nor soon by the state. Get used to it. It won’t make any difference to you.

  • Parasum

    “Perhaps it was harsh to point out  hints of dissonance, paranoia and a
    persecution, but unfortunately that doesn’t make it untrue.”

    ## Unfortunately, it is true :(

    One question is, was the CC like this in 1967, or in 1857, or at times in recent British history when the Govt. did something that didn’t square with what the CC wanted ? If this neurotic over-sensitivity & this paranoia & persecution complex are new developments: why ? And why is it impossible for some Catholics to avoid seeing those who disagree with them as malign, even satanic ? The temperature & tone of the debate (hardly the word for it) emit plenty of heat, but precious little light.

    And why does this issue, rather than any of those before it, mean the skies are falling ? I think it’s partly (& only in part) because of the “”yuk” factor”, which is not present in other “attacks” on marriage. A Venusian might be very surprised to learn that this issue is only the latest in a longish series of similar issues in UK politics; & would probably conclude that the CC in the UK was no better off than in 1750.

  • majorcalamity

    This attitude reflects the persecution complex I detect in many Catholics. I am not “anti-Catholic” in any way, and don’t see it in others either. I respect that you see things differently and your right to hold your views. However I strongly disagree with many of them, and don’t want to see our society following them in any way. That too is my right, and I trust you can also pay me respect. I would like to see you doing what you do best, in helping the sick and disadvantaged and doing less politically.

  • CullenD

    So it is the same one:)

    One report, not reports as was stated. Followed by the implication that more are about to follow. I was replying to a comment which said…”..independent, scientific reports are all ready coming out in the US which clearly show……”

    I rightly pointed out, somewhat sarcastically, that there was only one report and that it is being widely dismissed. When I asked for a citation/link to the study I was ignored. 

  • CullenD

    Sorry, but you don’t get to play both sides.
    You can’t claim marriage should not be redefined and also say actions speak louder than words.

    I can call a knife a fork, and a fork a knife.
    My redefinition of the words in now way affects the utility of either object. 

    So extending the definition of marriage to gay couples simply means a use of context.

    The thing you stir your tea with is a spoon, the large wooden utensil you stir batter with is also a spoon.

    Same name, similar uses, equally useful for different purposes  but of equal value. Thinking that they could be mixed up, as they are both technically spoons is idiotic. The idea that the existence of one would reduce the use of the other????????

    Insane!

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     LET US USE THE INFLUENCE or POWER OF THE CHURCH for working out the plan of Christ The Lord for the world – SALVATION FOR ALL. And the enemies  OF THE CHURCH will be defeated on their own ground.

    JESUS THE LORD IS THE VIRTUOUS CIRCLE, The one who prayed for those who crucified him. To do The work of the Lord we need to promote APOSTLESHIP among ourselves which includes MARTYRDOM; for this we need to set aside the old and tried ways of mere human contrivance and cleverness which proceeds not from THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST THE LORD  but from mere human thinking.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

     MEN WITH GOOD WILL are not conditioned by history and the principle of EVIL.

  • teigitur

    You can indeed call a knife a fork, etc, just as they can call a union of anything else but a man and woman a marriage. But it is not. Same value? Well that depends what you are eating. A fork is not much good for eating steak. It all depends what you use it for. But again you did not act, in your mind you changed something,but it stayed the same in reality. If however you melted down a knife and fashioned it into a fork you acted. It has changed this time and has a totally different use. You can argue equal use, but it depends what you eating.
     What we are “eating” is the building block of society, marriage and the family. Redefinition of marriage will, in my estimation,be a knife which will inflict yet another cut on it.
     

  • majorcalamity

    Strange and inaccurate analogy! The marriages of men and women remain unchanged. There will just be some additional marriages which were not previously so recognised  Within your own community, nothing at all changes. Why seek to restrict the rights of those who are not in your community and who disagree with you. Catholics do not own marriage!

  • gabriel_syme

    I liked your post by accident.

    Frankly, you make a fool of yourself with the comparison with the Taliban.  Wipe the saliva off your monitor and try to be more temperate and realistic next time.

    So a single priest made some silly remarks (which have likely been exaggerated by the media, as per).

    Do you know that there are 410,000+ Catholic priests in the world? And you seize on the ill-judged comments of one man, as being representative of Catholic opinion – and expect to be taken seriously?  What a joke.

    That is akin to me condemning all women on the basis of (eg) the infamous you-tube video of a racist woman ranting on a London bus.

    I think you have a bit of growing up to do.

  • whytheworldisending

    No need to do that. It is not possible to marry someone of the same sex. It is illegal, so I am sure someone would notice and point out the legal impediment. Still, I suppose to save everybody embarrasment……

  • whytheworldisending

    You have hit the nail on the head. Demanding that everybody believes the gaytheist propaganda is like someone being sacked for refusing to wear a turban. Sikhs would never demand such a thing, but Gaytheism is not just another “religion.” It is a totalitarian evil ideology like Nazism, which demands that we all stop worshipping God and start worshipping the same nonsense as the dictator. A same sex marriage law would be like passing a law abolishing the rule that we all drive on the left side of the road. It woul dlead to mayhem. Ultimately it is the Devil they want us to worship. 

  • whytheworldisending

    Same sex marriage is just evil. Freedom to do evil is not real freedom but enslavement.

  • whytheworldisending

    Don’t forget the right of British women to slaughter 200,000 unborn children every year. That is a freedom atheists seem to particularly cherish.

  • CullenD

    Again the claim that gay marriage will in some way lesson hetro marriage. There is just no evidence for that assertion.  

    We are not talking about melting forks to make knives, we are looking at adding those German forks, the ones with a widened tine as a blade, to our cutlery. We are not taking away, we are adding.

    And again with the presumption of your view of marriage being the basis of human society. Over 100,000 years of human society, many cultures, many locations, but barely 6000 years of history. Much of which is evidently not what you claim it to be.