On the Archbishop of Westminster

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Conner was the well deserving winner of The Bill Muehlenberg Trophy at Five Public Opinions the other day for his contempt for a balanced debate over Christianity occurring on the BBC. While boo-hooing over secularists and their supposed desire to “close off every voice and contribution other than their own”, he also suggested that the BBC abandon impartiality when covering religion and instead adopt an active bias in favour of Christian dogma:

“Sometimes the adversarial aspect — if you’ve got one view you’ve got to have the opposite view — supplants what we need.”

Hmmm.

In a lecture presented at Westminster Cathedral the other night, he whinged further about supposed attempts to “eliminate the Christian voice” from the public forum. No examples of these attempts are cited of course, and if he were pressed to provide one how likely would it be that this supposed stifling of the Christian perspective would in fact be criticism. I suspect the cardinal, like many conservative Christians, is unable to see the difference between persecution and criticism. They feel that they should be able to cast their opinion into the public domain and without scrutinisation because they are their deeply held personal beliefs.

In the same lecture he had this to say:

There are social currents today that want to isolate religion from other forms of knowledge and experience in order to marginalise it. One of the things which I challenge is the desire to separate Christianity from rational inquiry. Many of our ‘new atheists’ seem unable to cope with the notion of an intelligent, reflective Christian faith. But the Catholic Christian tradition is characterised by a close relationship between reasoned understanding and religious faith. Faith for us is the flowering of reason, not its betrayal.

Only to follow shortly after with this:

Our faith is not founded on the conclusions of reason, but it is grounded in the Logos, the expressive Word that comes from God, and it is compatible with reasoned thought.

So in one moment faith is “the flowering of reason”, and in the next it’s “not founded on the conclusions of reason”. Confused? You should be.

How is one to know precisely what the good cardinal thinks about reason and faith? If we listen to his interview on the BBC Today program we learn that reason without faith is dangerous and that the societies of Hitler and Stalin were “ruled by reason”. Yes, that’s right – the cardinal believes that the holocaust and the gulags were a direct result of reason untempered by faith. Ben “Science kills people” Stein has met his match.

Advertisements

~ by Sammy Jankis on May 9, 2008.

2 Responses to “On the Archbishop of Westminster”

  1. “Sometimes the adversarial aspect — if you’ve got one view you’ve got to have the opposite view — supplants what we need.”

    “And what we need is the opportunity to force our religious beliefs upon the population, whether they like it or not. Not giving us this opportunity constitutes persecution of Christians and is Christophobic.”

  2. “And what we need is the opportunity to force our religious beliefs upon the population, whether they like it or not. Not giving us this opportunity constitutes persecution of Christians and is Christophobic.”

    This is precisely what Ed Brayton was saying about the religious right’s contempt for the ACLU in the US when speaking on Dogma Free America the other day. If they can’t force other people’s kids to pray at school, they’re being “persecuted”. Their religion has always enjoyed a privileged status and it should stay that way, even if it infringes upon the personal liberties of others.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: