Friday, 16 September 2011

A red rag to my papist bull

What am I like?

I've just got embroiled again in a great conversation online about the Catholic church .
One of my interlocutors ( who I have met, this being a local forum) put a link to this march organised by the Secular Society and suggested readers might like to come along.
This is the photo that they used to promote the march they will be holding tomorrow:

Talk about red rag to my papal bull.

This is what I said:

"Dear Stewart
Many thanks for the invitation but I regret that I will not be attending your nasty anti catholic rally.

I am disappointed that I missed an opportunity at Laurences "is secularism more tolerant?" talk.
With a little more foresight I would have prepared a large banner bearing the caricature of the burning demon Pope leading three children by dog leashes and holding a Nazi swastika style crozier.
It would be the same one as that which was carried by the gleefully bigoted "secularists" in the picture on the site you linked to.
Then I wouldn't have had to bother Terry Sanderson with my  long questions.
I could have saved my breath and simply held the banner aloft, as my silent riposte to his claim that secularism is a tolerant ideology."

He respnded with comments like this:
"Secularism is tolerant, except when it comes down to acts of abuse...

The catholic church has been responsible for more than it's fair share, and for that reason we need increased secularism in Europe...
The pope is a valid target for derision - this is not attacking Catholics.

His biggest beef was the homophobia with which catholic children are apparently being inculcated. Secularists being naturally tolerant and open minded about everyone. Well...not quite. But anyway.
 I pointed out that homophobia is a silly hysterical word which means an irrational fear of homosexuals and asked him to point to some teaching of the church that promotes this.

Here is the digested version of the rollicking convo that ensued:

Stew: "The pope is a valid target for derision - this is not attacking Catholics."

Me: Again, I'm not feeling the love.

Respect and tolerance wearing thin is it?
Is Mohammed a valid target for derision?
There are mad mullahs aplenty for your banners, where are they then?
I know why you don't have caricatures of mullahs on your banners. Because your pusillanimous marchers know that their current "valid target for derision" is a safe bet fatwa-wise. They don't need to be looking over their shoulder on the bus back from their big day out deriding his popiness

Stew: "Perhaps I should ask you if you think atheists should stop worshiping the devil."

Me: Well that would be a silly question Stewart wouldn't it and probably revealing of a very touchy defensiveness about being a "good person" on your part.
I didn't say atheists are bad people, much less devil worshippers.

Stew: "Homophobia is not a hysterical word, it has a meaning - it is a word related to those that can't stand homosexual people, be it hate or fear."

Me: It is a completely hysterical word when used about the catholic church which is in no way homophobic.
In what way are catholics likely to bring their children up with this hate or fear of homosexuals?
Any little example coming to mind, or is it merely such a long accepted notion in your circles that you hardly know where it came from?
Really. You militant secularists love to get all frothily militant about something.
And the favourite fall back is invariably the good old GLBT issue. Where would you be without it to stir you all to indignation

Stew: "Perhaps you've heard of the Alpha course. This is Christian course (sometimes hosted by Catholics) that is critical of homosexuality. "

Me: Yes, I am very familiar with it and this is news to me. In what way is it critical?

Stew: "Now you and I can't say what catholics believe because different catholics believe different things "

Me: Wrong. The catholic church is probably the only church in Christendom* where you CAN say exactly what they believe.
We are not free to wing it, and although many do, those areas in which they are winging it are not catholic. If there is anything you want to know about what catholics believe look it up in the catechism online. Simples.

Stew: "As long as there is homophobia in the Catholic church then it remains a problem and erodes the church as a whole. The more religious a country the less tolerance of homosexuality it appears to be to the extent it is made illegal.

I know of no atheists who are homophobic.

Me: And I know of no catholics who are homophobic.
Goodness me homophobia is a biggie for you isn't it Stewart?
This homophobia hunting has a touch of the old  McCarthyism which saw reds under the bed and around every corner.

Stew: "But many will call the Pope an evil old man who collaborated with kiddie fiddlers and rules over a 'country' that is built upon the blood and gold of countless innocent and poor people who really could not afford to give."

Me; Well many people are ignorant twits aren't they? I do what I can to shine a light into such profound intellectual and moral darkness but it's like shovelling snow while it's still snowing.

Stew: "You don't need gold crosses to have a faith - melt them down and give the proceeds to people who need the help."

Me; And who owns the gold crosses Stewart? Who can make the decision to sell them?
WE own them,
and our future generations own them.
That means that they belong to no one and they belong to us all.
That is what it means to be catholic.
A penniless drunk can sit in a cathedral and be just as much at home there as a duke. All that grandeur belongs to us all. We are rich because we are catholic, and by extension so are you.
If you melted down gold crosses you'd feed some poor people for a fortnight and the priceless antiquities would be gone forever. It would be robbing future generations of their heritage and no one has the right to do that. Not even the pope.

Stew: "Interesting you should mention intelligence and faith - there is a overall tendency for the smarter you are the more likely you are to be an atheist. You are also far less likely to end up in jail. So universities tend to have more atheists and prisons more religious people - and that's worldwide. It's a not very popular or PC fact but a fact none the less."

Me: Well i DID NOT mention intelligence and faith, i was just talking about getting a good education.
But you were keen to squeeze that info nugget in sideways weren't you?
But thanks for the LOLs, because you secularists know how to big yourselves up on the brains front ( "The Brights" indeed!)
I'm not buying it.

Atheists tend to be infatuated with the idea of intelligence, specifically their own.
I just don't believe that intelligence is an easily quantifiable thing ( sorry to all you IQ mensa egg heads out there)
And while I'm more than happy to have the lame brains in my gang, I also get to have the super clever too:
Max Planck.
Gregor Mendel
Issac newton
Thomas Aquinas
GK Chesterton
Hilaire Belloc
to name just a few off the top of my head.

What a  humourless, smug, middle of the road bunch The Brights appear by comparison.
And they take themselves so awfully seriously.
All that objecting to things makes one a little dull don't you think?

As Hilare Belloc puts it:
"Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
There’s always laughter and good red wine.
At least I’ve always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!"

Stew: " You left off your list Fred Hoyle - he gave the start of the universe the name 'Big Bang' in an act of derision as he thought it was utter rubbish. This does not diminish the other great work he did in the sphere of astro physics."

Me: Why would I have included Fred Hoyle in a list of Christian geniuses?
Fred Hoyle initially derided but later accepeted the work of the first proponet of the Big Bang theory, a CATHOLIC PRIEST Georges Lemaitre. He was one of many that I left of the list I ran off, as I said, from the top of my head.

As I said, i'm happy, DELIGHTED, to have the lame brains in my gang.
I don't mind your being un PC but it has more than a whiff of the ubermnsch about it.
Which is understandable. When 'the mind' is all you have it had better be a good one.
Small wonder you don't have a cross section of humanity in your gang, feeble minded people are not welcome with you as they are in the church.
we believe people are worth infinitely more than their intellectual capacity.

I am proud that my church puts flesh on the idea that "the least of these" are of infinite value. It's not like having a march with some like minded mates.

Stew: Now if you follow the church closely you'll know that under the Catholic church that  "Every human being is called to receive a gift of divine sonship" and that to do this you must reject sin. And homosexual behaviour is seen a s a sin. Therefore being a proper Catholic means seeing homosexuals as second class citizens who ain't getting into heaven.

"Now if you follow the church closely you'll know that under the Catholic church that  "Every human being is called to receive a gift of divine sonship""


"and that to do this you must reject sin."


" And homosexual behaviour is seen as a sin."

Sex you mean? ok, with you so far...

"Therefore being a proper Catholic means seeing homosexuals as second class citizens who ain't getting into heaven."

Wake up!
You are confabulating.

You did alright with 1,2 and 3 but went off the deep end at 4.

Well done for getting the bit about divine filiation ( was that meant to be controversial?), now that you've managed that, it shouldn't be too difficult for you to have a further gander for some actual catholic teaching that supports your guess about gays and hell.

It's quite important isn't it, given your repeated allegation that the RCC promotes homophobia.

I'll give you a bit of a leg up with the research (matron!)

Catholics do not believe that unless you are without stain of sin you are destined for eternal perdition in the fiery sulphrous pit.
We tend to be quicker to accuse ourselves in the "sin department" than to be looking for the speck in our brothers eye.
I did already mention that any sexual act which is not within the sacred bond of marriage is sinful. We are not obsessed with orientation as you are. And anyway, catholics are big hearted and magnanimous. We like to shove up and make room for a dirty rotten sinner, without whom no party is complete. 

Stew: Now you may be wondering if I might be homosexual, after all I keep on going on about it. It really doesn't matter one way or the other because, according to the Catholic church, i'm not getting to heaven anyway! But as I don't believe even secretely in a kind of closeted way that there is a heaven, or hell or big sky master ape that kind of stuff doesn't affect me. What does affect me are scum bags who abuse children, cheat on their wives and hide their real sexuality only to be discovered as big fat hypocrites later.

Sooo  if you bring your Children up as Real(tm) Catholics then they are more likely to be homophobic as gay guys and girls are sinners!

"Now you may be wondering if I might be homosexual, after all I keep on going on about it. "

You read my mind.
I just keep wondering and wondering.
All day it's been going round and round in my mind.
"Is Stewart 'one of those'?"
It's hard to be sure.
There IS *something* of the nancy there, but I can't quite put my finger on it.
...Do you like Kylie?


  1. Your last line practically had me rolling around on the floor! Fabulous!

  2. Hattie
    sometimes I cry laughing when I'm having these conversations.
    Probably not very noble of me, but at least my blood pressure isn't popping.

    (on another note, i have this package of stuff for you that now needs to be a bit updatedd size wise. I still can't believe it went to Florida and back. I blush whenever I look at it. I'll get round to it. Bear with)

  3. Those banners just scream TOLERANCE.

    And I really felt it when my children walked through a wall of their lurid messages and images, whilst making our way through Hyde park to see the Pope.

    They really do care about the kiddys, those kind people.

    "is Stuart 'one of those'?" HA!

  4. Hi Clare, what a post...I enjoy your blog and admire the courage/faith/theological astuteness you have to engage in the difficult conversations of today's world. It's such a mean & noisy world to remain Christian hard not to get mean and noisy with it.

    I wanted to point out that I'm a former atheist who became Catholic. In fact, I'm a bit different because I was raised rather than making a conscience choice, I was born into the godless vacuum. You know what? There's no such thing. When you are experiencing love in your life, you are experiencing God. Atheists of today just seem like angry nay-sayers. Not many of them seem like the intelligent philosophers of my father's era, who really were asking the big questions and had trouble coming to God----the only thing that every atheist I've ever met has in common, is that they're angry, and they've definitely been confronted by a lot of bad examples from 'Christian' people (which I definitely have too, wasn't easy becoming Christian!)

    But as to secularists/atheists being more tolerant, let's look at the Communist regimes of Russia and China in the 20th century...some of the least tolerant and most narrow-minded idealogies have been atheist-inspired. Science, intellectualism and culture were thrown out if they didn't 'serve the state' or meet the dictates of the ideology.

    The point is that ideologies don't solve the world's problems. We are the world's problems. A bad human being can be found anywhere and in any religion.

    I'm a friend of Charlotte Ashenden by the way, she referred me here and I've been wanting to get in touch with you, Clare! Well done---six kids and homeschooling, you're amazing!