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Archbishop: secularists are holding back the faithful

By on Wednesday, 15 February 2012

A delegation of British Ministers pictured with Archbishop Nichols in Rome (Photo: Cabinet Office)

A delegation of British Ministers pictured with Archbishop Nichols in Rome (Photo: Cabinet Office)

The Archbishop of Westminster has said that intolerance is preventing believers from making “some of the best contributions” to the common good in Britain.

Speaking after an official state visit to the Holy See, Archbishop Vincent Nichols said that secularists, “with a kind of stubbornness, with a dogmatism, want to isolate faith and privatise it”, adding: “It is often that kind of intolerance of the reality of faith which is holding back some of the best contributions that can be made to the common good.”

His comments followed a speech to the Vatican by Cabinet Minister Baroness Warsi, who said that Britain was under threat from a rising tide of “militant secularisation”.

Baroness Warsi, who was leading an official visit to Rome, said that Britain had “got to the stage where aggressive secularism is being imposed by stealth, leaving us with the ironic situation where, to stave off intolerance against minorities, we end up being intolerant towards religion itself”.

She said that the most worrying part of “this militant secularisation” is that at “its core and in its instincts it is deeply intolerant”.

Baroness Warsi, Britain’s first Muslim female Cabinet Minister, led a ministerial delegation to the Vatican to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and the Holy See.

Archbishop Nichols said that the visit marked the highest point in the modern history of diplomatic relations between Britain and the Holy See.

Baroness Warsi’s comments followed a High Court ruling in favour of an atheist town councillor who found prayers before meetings offensive. Mr Justice Ouseley ruled the prayers were not lawful under section 111 of the Local Government Act 1972.

Baroness Warsi said that the call for the marginalisation of religion in the public life came from “a well-intentioned liberal elite” who regarded such marginalisation as necessary for progressive equality. “But they don’t realise, as the Holy Father has argued for many years, that faith and reason go hand in hand,” she said.

She said that the marginalisation of religion also came from the “anti-religionists, the faith deniers, the people who dine out on free-flowing media and sustain a vocabulary of secularist intolerance”.

Baroness Warsi told her audience that Europe needed to become more confident in its Christianity.

Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark said: “Faith has a powerful and positive role to play in Britain, and people of faith need to be willing to speak clearly and calmly about their beliefs. A mature secular society needs to acknowledge the importance of faith for many of its members, and to create a true culture of dialogue in which the free and confident expression of faith is encouraged and celebrated.

“We must resist the intolerance of those who in the name of an aggressive ‘secularism’ would truly seek to ‘impose’ on others by denying any public place to faith.”

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Archbishop Nichols:

    So when will His Grace let Catholics be Catholic?

    When will the present scandalous farce cease?
    Catholic teaching is being ignored, dismissed, denied and abrogated.

    If His Grace wishes to be seen as man of integrity; a true, authentic Apostle of Holy Mother Church; there are a few things he must get in order before he deigns to pontificate and condemn militant secularists and atheists in the public forum:

    a] Follow CDF directives regarding our duty to oppose Civil Partnerships
    b] Follow CDF directives regarding nutrition & hydration being categorised as natural care and not removable clinical treatment – therefore actuate an immediate dissociation with the backdoor euthanasia Liverpool Care Pathway.
    c] An immediate cessation [8yrs after CDF orders] of anti-Catholic & Culture of Death practices in the St John & Elizabeth hospital – be it contraception & abortifacient provision, abortion referrals, sterilizations and even sex-change operations!
    d] The immediate suspension of Warwick Street Masses and associated organisations which contravene CDF directives regarding the pastoral care of homosexuals.
    e] Immediate dissociation from and the halting of payments to Connexions which provides contraception/abortifacients/abortion referrals and sexual advice – even to those under the age of consent.
    f] An immediate investigation into and elimination of anti-Catholic policies and practices in CAFOD
    g] The appointment of a Catholic Bishop-led media monitoring committee to ensure that any official Conference, Episcopal, Diocesan, CCN or Catholic Quango’s public statements in regard to Magisterial Catholic teaching and CDF-directed Catholic practice remains congruent, conducive and orthodox – with the recognition that personal and private opinion which runs contrary to the Catholic position will not be endorsed. This would include oversight of the reckless loose-cannon of Catholic Voices.
    h] After the recent scandals where the CESEW was found to have assisted in the drafting of the contra-Catholic Health & Sexual Education Bill, allowing Connexions into Catholic schools and engaging in policies which have contributed to 94% teen lapsation – a complete overhaul, restructuring and personnel-redeployment at the Catholic Education Service.

    This is the bare minimum he can do to seem remotely credible and not be judged as a liability; the prime fiddler while the Church of Rome is burning.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal




    Thomas Poovathinkal

  • Anonymous

    Right, I’m not sure how wise it is to blame “secularists” for our own lack of vitality..

  • Anonymous

    This is a despicable lie – secularism has never held Christianity back – in fact, it has often triumphed in adverse circumstances.  What holds Christianity back is worldly, unfaithful prelates.  Always has done, always will do.  Note that Archbishop Nichols is standing next to homosexual ‘gay rights’ champion, Alan Duncan MP.  What a farce.

  • EndTimes101

     Totally agree with all the above. But we all know it will not happen until Nichols is gone. He is the biggest obstacle the Catholic Church in England faces in turning the devastating decline around, not Atheists……..

  • EditorCT

    Well said, pat21.  The sheer nonsense of blaming “the world” for the dire state of the Church is to show manifest ignorance (or rejection) of Christ’s warning that “as the world hated (Him) so it will hate His followers”.

    Any old excuse, but falling from the lips of this “gay” activist archbishop, it’s particularly galling.

  • Barton

    For crying out loud, you blithering idiot Nichols, many of the secularists are right in your own presbyterate, as well as that of the North Americas.

  • WSquared

    “We must resist the intolerance of those who in the name of an
    aggressive ‘secularism’ would truly seek to ‘impose’ on others by
    denying any public place to faith.”

    Indeed.  We must be ever watchful of the flippant willingness to bandy about the words “don’t impose your morality on ME!” when it is these champions of “tolerance” who do the imposing.  What, after all do they seek to impose on the rest of us?

  • Thomas Poovathinkal






  • Thomas Poovathinkal



    Thomas Poovathinkal

  • EditorCT

    According to the “gays” themselves over at the Queering the Church website, the Pope knows – and approves.  Why not nip over there and ask them for more details?

  • Anonymous

    I was talking to Daphne McLeod of Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, and I told her
    about this post. She said that unless Abp Nichols does something urgently about
    teaching the Faith in schools again, we won’t need secularism to destroy us – we
    will inevitably destroy ourselves.  Quite.

  • Charles Martel

    Archbishop Nichols is a man who does not reply to e-mails asking him for simple clarifications on whether or not he accepts the Church’s teaching on homosexual unions. Of course we know the answer: he does not. We, Catholics of England and Wales, do not need his lectures about how we are being held back in the public square. We are being held back by the likes of our own hierarchy, and by the heretical teachings of priests from pulpits all over our land which are destroying the Catholic Faith. I personally have complained to Archbishop Nichols about heresies being taught and have not received a reply. Do the right thing, Your Grace, GO!

  • Parasum

    She’s been saying that for many years. What’s the likelihood that her complaints are seen as unworthy of notice ? She is a Mary Whitehouse figure – but Catholic, not Evangeliccal Protestant, and concerned about RE rather than TV.

    In fairness to the bishops, they can do nothing if the laity won’t pull their weight. If there were a “critical mass” of laity energetic & devoted enough to “tip the balance”, things might change. A step towards that would be to have many more priests like Father Tim Finigan. But nothing will change unless the laity changes, and the bishops change. And – to be blunt – the culture in the  Church. There is no way out of this but repentance & conversion. A Church that won’t repent is on a hiding to nothing, in which case we can say “bye-bye” to the New Evangelisation.

    To blame secularism is grotesque – if Catholicism is a catastrophic mess, that is the doing  of Catholics, nobody else. We will get nowhere by trying to shift the blame – that is a brilliant way to dig our hole even deeper.

  • Thomas Paine

    If the catholic church wants to improve its disastrous plunge in membership, it needs to find ways (and policies) that attract younger people.   Younger people are, in large numbers,  supportive of contraception, gays, empowerment and equality for women, and secular society.

    As long as bishops fulminate against these things, you are dooming your church to increasing irrelevance.   In a couple of generations, catholicism will be gone from western europe.  It will be a church of third world nations, with exotic and bizarre new traditions, like those we see among Filipino catholics.   Good luck with that.

  • m francis

    Its called having principles and sticking to them and not being so weak as to submit to the latest trend of liberal permissiveness which can only dilute the soul of any nation

  • m francis

    You dont represent me and if you dont believe in the bibles teachings,then all you are is a catholic in name only, certainly not a practicing one.  The door is that way. Goodbye. 

  • EditorCT

    Not quite.  No pope can dispense with Divine Revelation. Just as we would laugh if the Pope announced that stealing was now lawful, because we know that he does not have the authority to change the moral law, so it is with other aspects of the moral law.
    No pope can decide that a child can have two mothers or two fathers or that marriage can be redefined.

    Believe me, if Pope Benedit  could do it, he would.  “Liberal” is his middle name.  This is where we must thank God for His guarantee of papal infallibility. Left to himself, this pope and his predecessor would have gone along with the latest fads, no problem.  You can’t trust liberals like them, trust me.

  • Anonymous

    The Anglicans tried to be “hip” and “relevant” and it didn’t work out too well. Eventually people will come to their senses and respect the natural law, or they will just die out and get overtaken by the Chinese. 

    You say that “[C]atholicism will be gone from [W]estern [E]urope,” but most Western Europeans will, themselves, be gone soon enough. It’s not just the Catholic Church that is in decline in Europe, it is Europe’s people.

    You snidely dismiss “exotic and bizarre” Asian traditions, but as Europe slides into irrelevance, Asia is going to be running the world for the next few hundred years at least.

    Incidentally, the regions of the world with the most economic and population growth are also those which are more socially conservative than Western Europe.

  • David Devinish

    I am prepared to trust you, but I know nothing about you. Your logo suggests that you are female, but this might not be the case. If I am to trust you, then what credentials do you have. I know the Popes credentials and those of Archbishop Nichols so I can choose whether or not to accept their dialogue. So what do you have to offer? Do I just accept your word on blind trust?

  • EditorCT

    What, precisely, is it that I wrote that you require “credentials” for?

  • EditorCT

    Forgot to say, David Devinish, that not only am I female, but I’m a witty, highly intelligent, smooth-talking and GLAMOROUS female.  Oh and humble, with it.

  • David Devinish

    Well, the Pope and Vincent Nichols have impressive academic records and a wide experience that gives them a mandate to speak with some authority. When I visit my solicitor, accountant, doctor, dentist, optician, and pharmacist I expect them to have recognised qualifications, otherwise how can I be sure of their integrity or the veracity of what they advise or propose. In other words, what is the basis of their professionalism. I expect those who are trying to persuade me and others about faith, morals, ethics and theology to be fittingly qualified in these disciplines so as to ensure their absolute objectivity in their thoughts words and deeds. Otherwise their word and opinion is worthless if what they say cannot be objectively validated.Surely you do not suggest that theological qualifications are unnecessary, just like Reverend “Jim” Jones the founder and leader of the Peoples Temple that ended in mass murder in Jonestown in November 1978. Please note that self appointed, self professed prophets are dangerous people who are driven by closed minded, paranoiac piety and sanctimonies psychotic zeal. That is why I would like to know about the source and veracity of your knowledge and experience. What is your Alma Mater?

  • Guy Picardie

    I am glad to hear that! Mind you, Mae West was also glamorous, intelligent, smooth talking and very witty and very rich. However it now turns out that she was a big hairy man under all those frocks, so looks can be deceiving. I hope that you are not.

  • EditorCT

    Your hope is not in vain

  • EditorCT

    Well, you are absolutely wrong about the necessity of theological qualifications – they are, more often than not, a sign of dissent and lack of faith these days. However, there’s an exception to evey rule.

    I hold two degress and the one that will excite you most is my Masters in Theology. Aberdeen University. Do I pass the test?

  • David Devinish

    I do not have the right to test or judge you or anybody else. I was just making a point about the danger self professed prophets. You suggested that I should trust you, and I simply asked why, that is all. I accept that many theologians just made up “facts’ out of thin air and presented them as holy doctrine, which is why the church is in such a critical mess.

  • Anonymous

     Shouldn’t a Bishop, let alone an Archbishop; have a doctorate – or be in the continuing process of studying for one? It IS a directive of Canon Law or is that another thing we’ve decided to ignore these days?