Saturday, September 18, 2010

10,000 Protesting

I know there were 10,000 or so protesters against the Papal visit in London today, actually I am surprised the number was so small. I mean considering the supporters of the Protest the Pope group, this is their list.
•Atheism UK
•British Humanist Association
•Central London Humanist Group
•Council of ex-Muslims of Britain
•Doctors4Justice
•Gay & Lesbian Humanist Association
•Humanist Association of Northern Ireland
•Humanist Society of Scotland
•International Humanist and Ethical Union
•Liverpool Humanist Group
•The Marches Secularists
•National Secular Society
•North London Humanists
•One Law for All
•OutRage!
•Plymouth Humanist Group
•The Richmond upon Thames LGBT Forum
•Southall Black Sisters
•South West London Humanists
•Women Against Fundamentalism
•Young Freethought
I think some of these groups count their members by handfuls, I mean how many Plymouth Humanists are there?

The media, have built up a good head of steam for protest, Channel 4 gave Peter Tatchell a free advertising slot, the BBC put the "Pope on trial", various Guardian and Independent journalists have been drumming up support for the campaign for weeks. Secularist philosopher have been dragged into newsrooms, actors like Fry have been twittering, even dear old Liberal Catholics have been paying out good money for ads on buses.

All that being said, I think their is anger abroad, first those who genuinely feel that taxes paid by Catholics should not be used for a visit of our Pope. Who mentions the cost of a State or any other visit for any other Head of State, or the security for anyone else for that matter? n austere times there is a natural concern over unnecessary government expenditure, especially coming on the back of MP's expenses.

The other important group are those genuinely angry with the Catholic Church. Not just those who see us as a monolithic agency for child abuse and cover-up. There are plenty of others who are just angry with the Church partly because they actually hate our moral stance on a number of issues; there are the divorced, women who have had abortions and yes other libertarians who see us as a bastion of the old morality which they really see needs to be overthrown; a whole strata from young Trots to at least parts of the gay "community" - lots of course were sitting at home watching the Pope on telly thinking it was all wonderful.

Another group of course are those Englishmen who just hate Catholicism, today they have have lost the veneer of fundamentalist Protestantism and draped themselves in the new flag of aggresive atheism.

Then of course there are those on the left who just love a good demonstration.

All that being said I think it is also a demonstration of how little the Church is seen as doing any good  in society, we tone down our Christianity, organisation, even schools adopt neutral names. Our local secondary school for example is simply known as "Newman". Stephen Fry last year fronted something called a "Night Under the Stars" a fundraiser for "The Passage", I am told that although he knew it was a charity for the homeless, he didn't quite understand it upheld the same abominable views of the ghastly Pope and was actually a very Catholic charity. The same could be said for CAFOD, which is just known by its initials, those who deal with it I suspect, maybe even those who work for it aren't quite sure what the "C" stands for.
It is a bit like nuns and veils or priests and collars, get rid of them and everyone just assumes we are part of the greyness of secular society.
What was it the Pope said about schools, and perhaps other instituitions, being "demonstrably" Catholic?
I think there is also something about the divisions in our society but also the difficulties of the heirarchy in explaining and teaching Catholic belief and to equip the laity to do  that effectively and fully.
The Pope has an hour and half tomorrow in a close of visit forum the explain the importance of that.

21 comments:

Michael Petek said...

Odd, really. The Popeis here for four days and there are all these secular humanist and gay demonstrators.

Ian Paisley is here all the time, and he never gets bothered.

nickbris said...

We did the whole thing today from 9am at the cathedral to 9pm in Hyde Park.100s of thousands of happy well behaved people from all over the planet,it was very squashed up at the Piazza and a lot of photographers on ladders & stools spoilt the view but not a single cross word was heard.

The only sign of a protest was a few morons at Hyde Park Corner with some sort of placard about condoms and they were probably planted there by the manufacturers.

Thousands of us were in the trees outside the arena at Hyde park but it was just possible to see the TV screen.It was a fabulous day and His Holiness will go away Knowing in his heart that the UK has not gone down the pan as far as our Faith is concerned.

I think it was a slap in the face for Tatchell,Dawkins,Fry & Co.

Physiocrat said...

There has been some very nasty emotional anti-Catholic stuff in the Guardian's Comment is Free page, not just in the readers' comments but also in the editorial. If they said the same thing about Islam they would need to fear for their lives.

Clare said...

I love the STEADY NOW! placard!

nickbris said...

I have now recovered from the very long day yesterday,don't think I could do it again but it was a fantastic day,surrounded by happy people and friendly helpful Policemen & Women.

The only teensy weensy source of complaint was the length of the hymns,the sound system of the Cathedral was enough to shake ones bones so that helped.

The glorious weather was another miracle and after the congestion at the end in Hyde Park getting home was a breeze.A cup of tea in The Thistle nearly broke the bank butit was pure Nectar.

A truly unforgettable day.

core luminous said...

As a survivor of long term, unmitigated abuse by priests, by nuns, by lay teachers and by some members of my own family, I am appalled at the unwillingness of both Christians and Humanists to get to the roots of abuse dynamics as they permeate Society.

Both groups seek to bolster their own idiosyncrasies, whilst children are routinely abused, wars are blessed and the environment thrashed for Private Gain and Religious Authority.

So many claim to follow the ethic of The Christ, or The ethic of Humanism, yet few even make a serious attempt to investigate the nature of our Societal reality, Power Relationships and the dynamics of intergenerational trauma patterning which writes the primary scripts of Society at this time; and prefer instead to engorge their egos with received wisdoms and what amounts to projection rather than direct perception.

Sadly this applies equally to Bhuddists, Sikhs, Muslims, Hindi and many others of similar ilk. All of whom claim Creation as the work of their particular given God.

There is NO Hierarchy in nature, none can be found within any living system.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Core Luminous,
The problem is that it is indeed an "unspeakable crime".
In the Church I think it is not just that it was covered up but that we simply didn't see it was there. The rest of society happily points at the Church but I just wonder if this is symptomatic of the refusal to acknowledge the "unspeakable".

justin said...

well the protesters are claiming 20,000. The police on the other hand are saying 2,000.

santoeusebio said...

I expected the usual stuff from Peter Tatchell concerning the teachings of the Catholic Church which he thinks are the private opinions of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

However I was surprised to hear our Bishop Kieran Conry on Newsnight last week. He said that volunteers at Marriage Care, previously the Catholic Marriage Advisory Service, should not, in their counselling, "put across Catholic views in any of the Counselling they did".

I would commend anyone to read Fr Peter Bristow's "Christian Ethics and the Human Person - Truth and Relativism in Contemporty Moral Theology" which explains JPII's theology of the body. It certainly illustrates a magnificent view of marriage as a vocation to which most of us are called to, being based on anthropology, Genesis, natural law, Aristotle and the teachings of the Church. Would this teaching be something which volunteers at Marriage Care be excluded from communicating in their counselling? I cannot help feeling that if this is the case then they are wasting their time and our money. These views are not exclusive to Catholics but can be found in the writings of many other Christian writers basing their views on what Genesis teaches us.

This statement by Kieran Conry goes some way to explain the way in which the Cabrini Society has been allowed to be detached from the trusteeship of the Bishops. If the idea that practising homosexual couples are not a suitable environment for placing children to be adopted is a "Catholic view" not to be visited on these children then one can understand how the three Bishops were prepared to relinquish their trusteeship. Yet it is presented to us as a Catholic charity which we should support.

I must say I am puzzled. Can anyone explain where I am going wrong?

Nicolas Bellord

georgem said...

Dear core luminous,
What you have described is unimaginable to most of us. I think that is why it has taken so long to recognise this crime against God Himself and against humanity itself. Sadly, it has come to light only in recent years how cruelly children are treated, in all stratas of society. Because, historically, children have had no voice these crimes have gone unmarked and unpunished.
I suspect it has gone on from time immemorial. I do believe that abuse of the vulnerable, whether sexual or physical, is as much about the strong wielding power over the weak. Children have suffered, women have suffered, the elderly have suffered, men, too, when in slavery or in lowly station. It is within us all to be the facilitators of evil by turning away in fear of what we are also capable of. Those religious guilty of abuse spoke the Faith but did not believe it and their culpability is the worse as was/is the culpability of those who protected them or simply didn't listen.
You say you are a survivor but memory cannot be erased. I can only hope and pray that you, somehow, have found unqualified love in your life and are able to offer that love and help to others in extremis. It has taken courage for you to speak out. May God give the same courage to those like you and may He give us the courage to confront and defeat evil wherever we find it.

Michael Petek said...

I suspect that Bishop Conry had in mind views that were quintessentially Catholic and founded on revelation, as opposed to truths of reason which revelation merely confirms.

The Holy Father referred to as much in Westminster hall.

epsilon said...

Beautifully expressed, georgem!

I hope cor luminous is able to find a way to help others, through his understanding and pain.

nickbris said...

I also will sympathise with Core Luminus,he or she has had some very bad experiences.

A lot of us of a certain age have had a good Catholic Education,some of it meant we got the Strap even in infant school,then we went on to boarding school to continue our education by Presentation Brothers or Christian Brothers.Discipline was the norm and we led them a merry dance challenging them to do their worst which was a rite of passage.

There were of course some failures and nowadays we are being bludgeoned by anti-catholic propaganda that really has got the wrong end of the stick.

Mike Telford said...

Father, Has it struck you that the media, especially TV, manages to appear 'Pope-friendly' while still quite cleverly following an anti-Papal agenda. They do this (I think) by saying things in ways that link them in the minds of their viewers/ listeners/ readers; e.g., 'The Pope arrives today amid continuing scandal...". Likewise the terms 'priest' (Catholic, that is) and 'paedophile'. Really subtle, isn't it?

georgem said...

Yes, the BBC was still at it tonight on the R4 midnight news. The religion correspondent Robert Pigott (rhymes with) talked about the "body language" of Catholics towards the Pope, implying it was negative. Huh? Was he watching the same scenes as the rest of us? Also, he said that people had turned out to see a Pope not THE Pope. Whaaaaat?
Well, I think that if there were any doubts about the impact of the Pope's visit the fact that the PM turned out to bid him farewell says it all.

santoeusebio said...

I am not very clear as to what Michael Petek would regard as quintessentially Catholic rather than founded upon reason. Perhaps he could give us some examples. On which side of the line do Catholic views on adultery, abortion, homosexuality or contraception fall? I would have thought that most people would rely upon revelation to a very great degree if they hold to the Catholic view on these as reasoning about them is not that easy although not impossible.

The problem with the Kieran Conry/Euan Harris interview is that I suspect Harris and many viewers would regard Catholic teaching on abortion or contraception as quintessentially Catholic. Thus they would come away with the view that the Bishop is saying that such views would not be mentioned in counselling by Marriage Care.

One wonders if such a view does not extend to Catholic schools which explains the often woeful teaching therein on the subject of sexual ethics.

Nicolas Bellord

santoeusebio said...

I am not very clear as to what Michael Petek would regard as quintessentially Catholic rather than founded upon reason. Perhaps he could give us some examples. On which side of the line do adultery, abortion, homosexuality or contraception fall? I would have thought that most people would rely upon revelation to a very great degree if they hold to the Catholic view on these as reasoning about them is not that easy although not impossible.

The problem with the Kieran Conry/Euan Harris interview is that I suspect Harris and many viewers would regard Catholic teaching on abortion or contraception as quintessentially Catholic. Thus they would come away with the view that the Bishop is saying that such views would not be mentioned in counselling by Marriage Care.

One wonders if such a view does not extend to Catholic schools which explains the often woeful teaching therein on the subject of sexual ethics.

Nicolas Bellord

Michael Petek said...

Santoeusebio, all the examples you give are open to reason, even in a non-Christian. They are not strict mysteries as are the divinity of Jesus Christ, His substantial presence in the Eucharist, the Immaculate Conception of Our lady.

However, because of the effects of the Fall on the human intellect it is practically necessary for revelation to confirm the truth about these things.

Not that reason cannot grasp them, but that it is in practice difficult to do so. Revelation just makes it easier.

Physiocrat said...

Adultery, abortion, homosexuality or contraception have consequences that are readily discovered by empirical observation. There is no need to invoke revelation.

Independen said...

Before he arrived the BBC treated Pope Benedict as they always treat the State of Israel, with a careful selection of facts, figures, and interviews, which would seem to be intended to denigrate, misinform, and give a pejorative impression.

"Honest Reporting" does a good job in exposing media bias on the Middle East, why is there no comparable Catholic organisation concerned with media bias?

Incidentally, I found the Chief Rabbi's address to the Pope eloquent, erudite, and scholarly. It was certainly well received.

santoeusebio said...

Physiocrat: In general terms I am sure you are right. However to judge the right or wrong of an action by its consequences is surely consequentialism or utilitarianism. The problem then is that in counselling an individual in the context of particular circumstances you may be confronted with the person who says that in their particular situation the consequences of e.g. their extra-marital affair are beneficial on the whole.

In response to Michael Petek I can agree that divine mysteries such as the Immaculate Conception may not be relevant in marriage counselling but in respect of relevant matters as to what marriage is about surely both Faith and Reason are supportive of Catholic Views which the Bishop would have us exclude? I cannot believe that he was merely suggesting that counsellors should not mention divine mysteries not obviously relevant to the matter in hand.

Nicolas Bellord