In the latest issue of The New Humanist Paul Sims review of Pope Benedict’s visit was just another excuse to churn up the anti-Catholicism of the Protest the Pope movement. However, it ends with a totally surprising proposal of dialogue between humanists and Catholics. See post on this site ‘ New Humanist relentlessly mocks Papal visit to the UK, then incredibly proposes dialogue’ (http://protectthepope.com/?p=1728).
Now a post on Independent Catholic News provides some explanation of Paul Sim’s bizarre, unbelievable claim. Apparently last night, with some secrecy, Catholic Voices held a ‘dialogue’ with humanists, including Paul Sims, ‘news editor of the New Humanist magazine’.
‘The first of a series of ‘Catholic-Humanist dialogues’ took place last night between the Central London Humanist Group, part of the Protest the Pope coalition, and Catholic Voices, which was created to put the Church’s case during the papal visit. Some 14 Humanists and eight members of the Catholic Voices speakers’ team met in a room in Commonwealth Hall in Bloomsbury for two hours of discussions on contentious issues.’
‘Catholic Voices patron Fr Christopher Jamison and its coordinators, Austen Ivereigh and Jack Valero, put the Church’s case on Aids/condoms, faith schools, and same-sex adoption. A frank exchange of views then took place, aiming at clarifying areas of disagreement.’
Jack Valero said: “This has been an unexpected fruit of the papal visit – sitting round the table with people who were protesting the Pope to clarify where we agree and disagree. The atmosphere was respecful and attentive, but there was no attempt to suppress real differences. Everyone felt afterwards that they had learned from the experience.”
Austen Ivereigh said: “We are currently making plans to extend and expand the Catholic Voices project. After Tuesday night we think that this kind of exchange should be part of what we do in the future.”
Protect the Pope comment: Protect the Pope welcomes this excellent initiative from Catholic Voices and encourages future dialogue as an important way of challenging the ignorance and prejudice about the Catholic faith and Catholics in our society. Well done Jack Valero and Austen Iveriegh.
However, Protect the Pope has a number of questions:
- Who has appointed Catholic Voices to represent the Catholic Church in this dialogue?
- How are they accountable to Catholics in this country about these dialogues?
- How are Catholic Voices going to enable their fellow Catholics to have access to what is exactly said at these ‘dialogues’?
These questions are in no way intended to challenge the credibility of Catholic Voices in this dialogue, but are a genuine attempt to understand this important fruit of the papal visit.