Increased attacks on Catholics caused by popular culture – Archbishop Tartaglia

The Scottish Crown Office has released  statistics on religiously aggravated offending that show an increase in attacks on Catholics. Archbishop Tartaglia responded that said the Scottish Government is refusing to face up to the brutal nature of anti-Catholicism in Scotland:

‘“Sadly, it seems incontrovertible now that our problem is not so much sectarianism but anti-Catholicism. This is regrettable because popular culture is inventing all kinds of new reasons to marginalise and hate Catholics. In the face of this, the Catholic community of Scotland remains steadfast in faith, joyful in hope and fully committed to being part of Scottish society.”

The data contained in the latest report—Religiously aggravated offending in Scotland 2011-2012—shows an increase of 26 per cent in religious hate crimes, with 509 attacks on Catholics making up 58.per cent of all such offences. Anti-Catholic attacks are more prevalent than attacks on all other religious groups combined.

Scotland introduced the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 on March 1 this year and it was reported this month that 89 per cent of reported cases of offensive behaviour have been prosecuted and 83 per cent of those have brought convictions.

Archbishop Tartaglia, newly elected President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, said the statistics proved Catholics can not feel completely safe in Scotland.

“I am saddened by the latest figures on religiously aggravated offending,” he said. “While most Catholics are safe most of the time, these figures show a side of Scotland, which is truly unfortunate.”

The archbishop also said the Scottish Government had to face up to the reality that Scotland was and still is an anti-Catholic country.

While Archbishop Tartaglia has himself witnessed anti-Catholic bigotry on the football terraces, sectarianism in Scotland is not limited to sporting events. As Peter Kearney, director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office, told the SCO last week: “The reality is that football-related incidents only ever made up 15 per cent of sectarian-aggravated offences, so that is a total red herring.”

Protect the Pope comment: Over the past two years this website has received many obscene comments attacking Pope Benedict, Catholics and me personally because I’m a Catholic.  So long as prominent public figures, such as Prof Richard Dawkins, remain unchallenged by politicians and the media for condemning Catholics as ‘vile’ and the Catholic faith as ‘evil’, other anti-Catholic bigots will invent excuses for attacking Catholics.

Will the BBC and SKY pay any attention to Archbishop Tartaglia’s observation that the popular culture they broadcast and commission is inventing all kinds of new reasons to marginalise and hate Catholics? Deacon Nick Donnelly

74 comments to Increased attacks on Catholics caused by popular culture – Archbishop Tartaglia

  • John Dare

    I can’t discuss the report in any depth, I haven’t read it.

    Taking the point about attacks on this site, provided they are made in polite and reasoned terms, then I think there can be no objection. I would say that the whole tone and tenor of the site is pretty combative in itself though. Contrast with the site by ? Ben Travolto, urbane, civilised and self deprecating, maybe worth thinking about ?

    • Lynda

      Obscene comments and personal attacks are never reasoned. There is no justification for them. They are immoral – which is antithetical to reason.

  • Karla

    What else could explain the attacks than the increased hatred and bigotry displayed by secularists towards Catholics in recent years?

  • Joseph Matthew

    Richard Dawkins has accused Catholics of child abuse simply for teaching our children the Faith. Is that not hate speech ? What do mobs do to “child abusers?”

  • Mike2

    Ah, but these attacks are not because we are Catholics. They are because of the ‘personal views’ we hold. Nothing to do with being a Catholic. (Anybody familiar with the European Parliament’s treatment of Dr Tonio Borg will understand the irony of these comments.)
    Incidentally, I once had a letter published in a newspaper in defence of Cardinal O’Brien and a kind gentleman responded by writing to me and advising me to go back to Ireland (where I have never been in my life).

  • chidiock tichborne

    I wonder if Archbishop Tartaglia would consider as anti-catholic the attack on the late Catholic MSP David Cairns suggesting that his early death was a consequence of his being gay? Who made this comment? It was Tartaglia himself – and he had to apologise afterwards.

    There is a genuine and troubling hostility to the Catholic Church that is growing – and is difficult to counter when Archbishops make such witless and flat-footed comments as these. How do I defend the Church to gay friends after this when Peter Kearney then goes on television and claims that homosexuality is an unhealthy life-style choice that will lead to premature death?

    • Eric

      I agree completely.

      Both sides could do with being less combative. That includes Dawkins and Archbishop Tartaglia. Both men need to calm down a bit. This alternation between attacking and playing the poor victim is damaging everyone.

    • Michael B Rooke

      Archbishop-elect Tartaglia gave a lecture on Religious Freedom and Equality at Magdalene College, Oxford in April, an event held in association with Georgetown University’s Berkley Centre for Religion, Peace and World Affairs.

      He was asked a question about gay activism being bullying and intimidating and the link between homosexuality and mental health. The questioner referred to a book that said how good it is to be gay and getting older but that author committed suicide because he said his life was based on lies.

      The Archbishop-elect in his reply did not comment on bullying and intimidation but said some issues were hidden in society. He agreed with the questioner that he had heard about mental health issues being linked to homosexuality but these were not openly discussed and he then raised a different topic the sad death a Scottish MP at 44.

      “If what I have heard is true about the relationship between physical and mental health of gay men, if it is true, then society is being very quiet about it,”

      “There was recently in Scotland there was a gay Catholic MP died at the age of 44 or so, and nobody said anything, and why his body should just shut down at that age?
      “Obviously he could have had a disease that would have killed anybody.”
      “But you seem to hear so many stories about this kind of thing and but society won’t address it.”

      The Telegraph reported the last paragraph as being “He added: “But you seem to hear so many stories about Anger at ‘hurtful and ignorant’ comments this kind of thing, but society won’t address it.””

      but that was not a correct transcript as a reply to that question. My transcript (that may be confirmed by the video) “But you seem to hear so many stories about this kind of thing and society won’t address it.” as is given above.

      The questions are after 1 hour on the video.

      Officials later denied the Bishop had intended to “cause offence and he regrets that anyone may have been upset”.

      The issue of a shortened lifespan linked to homosexuality was raised in a Telegraph article and it is likely that the then Archbishop-elect had such information in mind when he raised the death of the MP.

  • kfca

    I hardly think that sectarian violence against Catholics in Scotland is new – surely hatred for ‘taigs’ has been institutionalised there for a century or more, and becomes a way of life for largely disaffected (and probably unemployed) youth/men. These gangs generally have a very low level of educational attainment, (very limited but colourful vocabularies), and have been brain-washed into this tribal mentality from an early age – they are literally raised to hate Catholics; I myself have witnessed it elsewhere, and in some ways it would be comical if it didn’t hurt. I suspect the Scottish Crown Offices’ time series on religiously-aggravated violence doesn’t go back very far.

    Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchins and one or two others like them have enjoyed freedom of speech, as have we, (for the time being at least). As and when they use this kind of incendiary language it simply makes them look highly irrational and weakens their entire case – all you can do is bear patiently with the flak. I often think of Hitchens in particular: there is always a danger that we can take our own faith for granted, but when we reflect on men like these, it places into sharp relief how deeply precious a gift it really is.

  • Raymond

    In the year the Pope visited this shore Cardinal O’Brien received a bullet through the post : in the background the ‘liberal’ press tried it’s best to put every negative spin on the visit.The bullet incident was only revealed later by the Cardinal who did not want it to spoil the visit and detract from the Pope’s message.This year the Cardinal was branded a ‘bigot’ by the government funded homosexual activists Stonewall.Earlier in the year the Cardinal had stated ‘today advancing a traditional understanding of marriage risks one being labelled an intolerant bigot’ – his words had proved prophetic , but of course ignored by the mainstream media who prefer soundbites taken out of context.

    One can only imagine the media outrage if a Rabbi had been deemed a bigot – there would be a twitter war and BBC Panorama specials, while the media would call for the grants to be stopped on the Anti-Semetic Stonewall , for the V&A to drop hosting it and Barclays to stop funding it .Anti-Catholicism is politically correct it seems and without criticism .

    I’ll be cancelling my Barclays Card and will be making a complaint against the Company.I’ll be letting my MSP know about my objection to government funding of polysexual fringe groups.

  • “I wonder if Archbishop Tartaglia would consider as anti-catholic the attack on the late Catholic MSP David Cairns suggesting that his early death was a consequence of his being gay?”

    Unheard of for several weeks, suddenly we were told that David Cairns had died of pancreatitis after having been taken ill six or so weeks previously.

    David Cairns was not known to be a prodigious drinker, which has a common enough association with pancreatitis. He was known to be a practising homosexual and that, too, is associated with pancreatitis. What Archbishop Tartaglia, admittedly in a rather ham-fisted way, tried to do was make the point that since nothing had been said about Cairns’s illness until his death was announced it would be reasonable to assume that it was related to his homosexual lifestyle but the media was silent. For homosexuality is beyond criticism.

    The reaction to the reporting of his remarks — which reporting was brought about by a carefully stage-managed homosexualist lobby coup designed to discredit Archbishop Tartaglia on his installation — proved the good archbishop’s point.

    • Eric

      Evidence please that acute pancreatitis is associated with being gay.

      The US National Institutes of Health don’t seem to know about it. It is strongly associated with being male something else poor David Cairns had no choice over.

    • Lynda

      Anal intercourse causes a plethora of disease and trauma. Hence, the special medical centres for same. It is inherently dangerous behaviour.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    chidiock tichborne: You seem to be defining yourself as a dissident Catholic. Am I right in thinking that you think homosexual sexual activity is okay? There is quite a body of medical evidence that homosexual sex has serious health risks and can lead to premature death.

    • Eric

      Whether or not homosexual activity is OK or not is irrelevent to the fact that it is not OK to make spurious assertions about a dead man which have no basis in fact. Tartaglia was wrong and the face he presented to the world with those comments were that the Church was a nasty organisation obsessed with homosexuality and willing to lie and distort to promote its agenda. That is not the true face or the Church, but it is a bit rich to on the one hand present the nasty side of the Church and then complain a short time later when popular opinion starts to view the church as something nasty.

  • rifleman819

    In reply to chidiock.The answer is quite simple.Peter Kearney is quite correct.
    St.Paul is quite correct.Homosexuality is an unhealthy lifestyle.
    Why should the Catholic church and individual Catholics have to feel in any way apologetic about fighting their corner? Our unscrupulous opponents don’t.
    There was a huge anti-BXV1 blog campaign in the Guardian….and someone tackled Tatchell about his record in disrupting services at Westminster/Canterbury cathedrals-but noticing the omission of the Central London Mosque.
    He and the Guardianistas squirmed …he would not , could not answer the question, trying every trick in the book to evade an answer.
    What we need to do is to take the fight to the enemy.

    Old RAF adage “If you’re getting a lot of flak that means you’re over the target”

    • chidiock tichborne

      Does that mean that Dawkins is “over the target” – as he certainly seems to be “getting a lot of flak” ?

      Peter Kearney is not correct – he is allying his prejudices with very dodgy research and the ignorance and meanness of his statements are unlikely . It is one thing to say, as the Church does, that homosexual desire is against Natural Law (the Aquinas version not observation of nature which would suggest it being entirely natural of course) and quite another to start creating fear about health aspects. In all the comments about the ‘trauma’ of anal sex – etc etc – it would appear the lesbians have the most healthy sex-lives of all.

      It’s strange how the issue of homosexuality seems to get people so upset when the only people it should matter to are those whom God made that way.

      And the intolerance shown by some of the clergy and many of the Bishops about it just encourages people to ignore the Church – AND ignore those who attack it. Look at the boy denied confirmation by his priest in Minnesota recently – just for putting a picture on his facebook page showing his opposition to the recent Marriage Amendment which was defeated on Nov 6th. Robert C. Mickens, Vatican correspondent and columnist for “The Tablet,” commented that if they all did this then they would “really clear out the barn quickly”. (see at 40:20 onwards in the clip below – and an interesting speech altogether.)

      • rifleman819

        Chidiock.So really it is up to you and you alone to decide what is right for you then?

        The Church is wrong and prejudiced because it condemns the grave sin of homosexual behaviour?

        Richard Dawkins belongs on an entire galaxy of his own -the only place to accommodate his titanic ego.The Church believes in the Gospel of the New Testament.Part of that Testament are St.Paul’s Letters and his teaching in relation to sexual behaviours (amongst many other things)to the growing churches around the Mediterranean.Paul’s teaching was very clear and the fact that some people 2,000 years ago and during the ages that followed and today don’t like what he has to say does not negate the truth he was preaching.
        In the end you must either support Peter or Paul…..”Saint” Peter Tatchell or Paul of Tarsus.
        Either choice has a consequence…both in the here- and -now or for the life of the world to come.

      • rifleman819

        For chidiock.
        You mentioned “creating fear about the health aspects”.In today’s BBC News the HPA records that 50% of the 6280 people diagnosed with HIV in 2011 were homosexual men.
        There are now 96,000 people suffering from HIV in the UK

        • John Dare

          Does that mean then, that 50 percent are not gay men?

          A few facts may not come amiss:

          1. heterosexuals practice anal sex
          2. before contraceptives became generally available anal sex was one form of safe sex

          • rifleman819

            For John Dare,

            But in 2010 a Census based survey from the UK ONS recorded that 1.5% of the population identified themselves as homosexual.
            So if 50% of HIV infections come from 1.5% of the population I would suggest that that statistically this is very significant evidence of health implications relating to behaviours.

  • John Dare

    All which [taken at face value, with no checking of the background] gets initial the proposition where…..?

    Who here, apart from Nick, who is a special case, can actually say that they’ve had a hard time for being a catholic, as against getting a hard time for espousing views that society no longer accepts as reasonable?

    Pastiches of Mr Travoloto’s blog would be appreciated.

  • Eric

    “but noticing the omission of the Central London Mosque.”

    not the Central London Mosque, but the East London Mosque….

  • rifleman819

    Eric. Not quite the comparison I was alluding to.Peter Tatchell and his acolytes went fearlessly inside both cathedrals to deliberately disrupt Mass/Eucharistic services.

    He declined to do the same at any mosque at Friday prayers-Central/East London or anywhere? Why was this? Perhaps because he knew he would be thrown out head first…closely followed by his torso.So he ain’t that fearless , is he?

    I think that my earlier comment applies.Cardinal Keith O’Brien received the Stonewall Award because he gives as good as gets.I think that the Scottish hierarchy are not afraid to stand up for the Faith and the Scottish Catholic community.The gay lobby likes dishing it out but its “bigotry” if Catholics robustly defend themselves.

    • Eric

      Tatchell has certianly demonstrated more physical bravery than I ever have.

      • rifleman819

        But his physical bravery stopped outside the door of a mosque yet proceeded to violate the sanctity of not one but two Christian cathedrals, didn’t it?
        Peter Tatchell is no hero.

        • Eric

          His attempt to arrest Robert Mugabee makes him a hero in my book

          • rifleman819

            And his continuous slanders against the Holy Father doesn’t put him in my
            book of Heroism-nor I suspect in the opinion of many other people either.

          • John Dare

            The pope is the head lad rifleman, getting stick goes with the terriatory, and I’m sure he’ll be big enough to handle it.

            What is your personal story of being slandered for being a catholic?

  • Ioannes

    Let’s get this straight. The Church’s objection to homosexual behaviour is not that it is unhealthy in a physical sense, but that it is immoral. Ditto adultery. Ditto incest. Ditto bestiality. The idea that there are no moral aspects to sexual behaviour is not new, and we live in a libidinous age which assumes that anything goes. But don’t assume this is unchangeable – history shows that an age of licence is often followed by an age of restraint.

  • Sorry Eric and everybody else, I have just returned home at 2145 hrs and am in no position to search out all my notes, so I can but hope that in the meantime you will allow me to posit the following and if necessary I shall give chapter and verse later (you can copy and paste any wee bit you want on to Google and confirmation will there you find!).

    Certain anti-HIV treatments used by people with HIV can cause pancreatitis, including ddI (didanosine, Videx / VidexEC) and d4T (stavudine, Zerit). Other drugs, such as the antibiotic pentamidine (Pentacarinat), which may be used to treat HIV-related illnesses, may also cause pancreatitis. Very high levels of triglycerides associated with protease inhibitor treatment. Infections that affect the gall bladder or pancreas may also cause pancreatitis. The infections linked to pancreatitis in people with HIV are cytomegalovirus (CMV), Cryptosporidium , Mycobacterium avium intracellulare (MAI), Salmonella and, less commonly, Cryptococcus , giardiasis, Kaposi’s sarcoma and toxoplasmosis.

    Official advice from the makers of Invirase: “Physicians should monitor patients’ blood cholesterol and triglyceride (fat) levels prior to beginning treatment with Invirase, as this drug can lead to elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. High levels of such fats can lead to development of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).”

    “Patients with AIDS can develop pancreatic disease from causes not related to AIDS or AIDS-specific lesions. AIDS-specific causes include opportunistic infection, AIDS-associated neoplasia, and medications used to treat complications of AIDS. Pancreatic involvement is usually part of a widely disseminated tumour and rarely produces clinical symptoms. Patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) can develop biliary and pancreatic disorders, like sclerosing cholangitis and acute pancreatitis and in rare cases pancreas may show chronic pancreatic changes.

    Pancreatic opportunistic pathogens include Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium avium intracellulare, Cryptococcus neoformans, Candida, Aspergillus, Toxoplasma gondii, Pneumocystis carinii, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex, cryptosporidium, and microsporidium. Although cytomegaloviral pancreatic infection can occur without clinically evident pancreatic disease, cytomegalovirus can cause pancreatitis. Other opportunistic infections that can cause pancreatitis include Toxoplasma gondii, Cryptococcus neoformans, and Candida. Mycobacterial infection can produce a pancreatic abscess. Hepatobiliary or pancreatic duct infection by cytomegalovirus, cryptosporidium,and microsporidium causes irregular ductular narrowing and dilatation.”
    AIDS-associated pancreatic neoplasms include Kaposi’s sarcoma and lymphoma.”

    • Eric

      So now you are saying David Cairns MSP had AIDS? Do you have any evidence?

      • Deacon Nick Donnelly

        I’ve held back on this thread on David Cairns but I have to say that I find it plain wrong to talk about such personal and intimate matters on a public forum. I don’t consider it respectful to the man or considerate to the feelings of his family. I don’t know the background to the Archbishop’s comments, if he made them in a private conversation or in a public statement. Either way, its wrong that such personal details of Mr Cairns life should become the subject of public discussion and dissection. Deacon Nick

        • Eric

          The archbishops’s comments were made in a public debate at Oxford university.

          But I agree with your comment above completely

          • John Dare

            Yup, a mans private life is his own, specially if he’s not hurting anyone else. I’m right behind you Nick.

          • Deacon Nick Donnelly

            A man’s life is his own, and God’s. The Church, drawing on God’s Word in Scripture and Tradition, proposes God’s truth and plan for sexuality. It’s up to each individual who hears the proclamation of the Gospel of Life whether or not they honestly listen and base their lives on it. Ultimately, a man’s private life is his own which he answers for before God who has made his will known. If you want to disobey God that’s up to you. Each one of us will have to face the consequences of our decisions, in this life and the next. Deacon Nick

          • John Dare

            So, man answers to God. Sounds fair to me.

  • John Dare

    John Dare
    ‘November 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm · Reply
    Who here, apart from Nick, who is a special case, can actually say that they’ve had a hard time for being a catholic, as against getting a hard time for espousing views that society no longer accepts as reasonable?

    Pastiches of Mr Travoloto’s blog would be appreciated.’


    Any takers for

  • John Dare

    John Dare
    ‘November 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm · Reply
    Who here, apart from Nick, who is a special case, can actually say that they’ve had a hard time for being a catholic, as against getting a hard time for espousing views that society no longer accepts as reasonable?

    Pastiches of Mr Travoloto’s blog would be appreciated.’


    • Lynda

      This is disingenuous. The essentials of Catholicism are not “accepted” by many who have accepted an atheistic, materialist view of the world, necessarily in contradiction of the objective truths espoused by the Church. If one practises one’s Faith, one is likely to be unjustly treated in many ways where states espousing such an ideology have abrogated too much power to themselves. One cannot separate a Catholic from the adherence to certain necessary moral and other truths, which others will not “accept”. Unjust treatment as a result is becoming more common, and often institutionalised.

      • John Dare

        Its simpler tyan that I think Lynda. What you might see as ‘necessary moral ….truths ‘ are now seen as unkind (at best) by society at large.

        My point, which you clearly are aware of, is that people don’t necesarily dislike catholics (indeed many have no idea what catholics believe, and have no reason to know) but, if presented with ‘real catholic’ views, will find them incredible.

  • rifleman819

    Dear All,

    If you really want to see the depth of animus against Catholics…have a look at today’s Guardian.Go to Education , schools , faith schools….and there is a bit of reportage at the alleged anger of Vince Cable (MP for Twickenham) at Michael Gove’s support for two new Catholic schools in Richmond.
    The paper is obviously unhappy at the failure of the British Humanist Association’s local front organisation, RISC,in the High Court to attempt to stop the establishment of these schools.It takes a thought-out, concerted plan and a lot of cash to fund High Court litigation…so there must be a campaign specifically engineered to do this.
    I urge everyone to have a look at the Comments section beneath the news piece.
    As at 13.20 hrs there were 156 comments. Make your own judgements and draw your own conclusions.
    And of course we shall await a BHA campaign specifically targeted against new Muslim schools , won’t we? Dream on.

  • John Dare

    Here is the piece that rifleman refers to

    The comments are very mixed and don’t seem to display any anti catholic bias in the couple of dozen that I looked at, anti faith schools possibly.

    I’d suggest that people read the comments before weighing in. Maybe it illustrates that you can see anti anything if you’re of that mind set.

    Still waiting for personal tales of folks being nasty to anyone because theyre a catholic…….

  • rifleman819

    I think you are wearing rose-tinted specs. As at 23.15 there are 185 comments and a great many of them are anti-Catholic.If you also read through much of the Guardian’s extensive “Faith school” archive you really will see the bile, vitriol and deeply offensive comments.The Guardian still has a cartoon on show denigrating the Eucharist , drawn by their artist Ros Asquith on 07 May 2012 entitled “Catholic tastes”.I looked really hard for a similar cartoon on the Koran. Did not see one.Funny that.

  • John Dare

    I’ve go to say that I didn’t count them, but I did notice a wide range of views. I got the sense that most of the ‘agins’ were anti faith school / private school / ‘special school for special people’ generally.

    It was also the usual bad natured tooing and froing that you get on any comments board.

    Rose tinted, well maybe substitute ‘not given to worrying’. I’m sure that many people might not like my views on some subjects, but I don’t feel any sense of being got at, mainly because my view is, ‘I have my view, you have yours.’

  • rifleman819

    For John Dare. Personal anti-Catholic jibes.

    Numerous times whilst serving …including being told I was a “f-ing Taig” by an ex-Army, English(!) Reserve constable in the former RUC.On another occasion being pointedly told close up that someone’s cousin was getting married at Brompton “Holy Trinity Brompton, I hasten to add” and who was not best pleased with my retort…”ah yes HTB …the Church of 5% of England”.
    I could go on.

  • John Dare

    When was this?

    • rifleman 819

      For John Dare

      The “F-ing Taig” incident a good few years ago but the HTB one about 3 years ago… often get scenarios with religious comments when a bit of banter just strays over that magic line with that throwaway, additional barb.

      I remember with some amusement when Rt Rev George Carey, ex-Archbishop of Canterbury, was clearly shaken at the level of anti-Christian diabtribes coming his way and thought(perhaps uncharitably) “Now you know what it’s like to be a Catholic at certain times and in certain places in the UK”.

      One of the best counters in dealing with casual anti-Catholic sentiment is to gently remind people that “As of course you know(a huge proportion don’t,of course)…England was a completely Catholic country for 962 years-from 597 until 1559 AD- and every cathedral ,abbey, priory,monastery, Oxbridge college and parish church built and running between those dates is a Catholic one.”

      It sometimes stops folk in their tracks.Utter disbelief (in every sense of the word)

      • John Dare

        Maybe because most people don’t know their own history very well. For example the king of Northumbria had a choice between rome and the celtic church.

        • rifleman819

          Yes quite so. But pretty soon after the Synod of Whitby in 664 AD the entire Church in the Saxon and Celtic spheres of influence accepted the Roman tonsure and the dating of Easter.
          Quite touching how Anglican feminists have “adopted” the Ven. Abbess Hilda as a bit of an icon, presumably unaware that she was famed for her piety and Roman orthodoxy!

  • rifleman 819

    Dear All….just a general comment of populist/academic attacks on Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular.

    If we take the cases of Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens I for one find a strange understanding of their motivations.

    They were both products of middle-ranking English public schools and were reared in Anglicanism/Methodism and so had/have no real understanding of the “sensum fidelium” of Catholic belief. Both equated the dry husk of institutional Protestantism with the living faith of the Apostolic Church and so completely misunderstood what they are/were opposing.

    Both felt an intellectual smugness/superiority to believers of lesser gifts than theirs but I have always sensed that at the very depth of their souls there was/is a quasi jealousy;that Catholics ,in particular, have a certainty, a knowingness that has always eluded both of these men.

    Their subsequent foaming at Christianity is nothing new either.It reminds me of the utter fury of French Revolutionaries at nuns singing the “Te Deum” on the way to the guillotine.

    There was a harrowing last picture of Christopher Hitchens in his last few days. I think he was not only confronting the reality of impending death but also the cold Enlightenment, logical, realisation of what that meant for him; a nothingness.
    All the spouting rhetoric had come to an end.There seemed to be no peace in his face just an anger about what was about to happen.
    The survivor, Richard Dawkins, Atheism’s pope prates on ever more shrilly.Pray for him.

    • Eric

      Not sure I would analyse Dawkins and Hitchens in the same way as each other. What you write may be true of Dawkins, but I think Hitchens was different. I have just read Hitchens’ autobiography (Hitch 22) and it is clear that Hitchens’ mistake was to see religion as a tyrany. Once you understand that, his struggles against it are entirely consistant with his highly principled views on other tyranical regimes.

      If Dawkins had been brought up differently and been exposed to religion in a diffrent way he might have seen the truth and beauty in it and I can well see that he might have been a moderately committed believer. It seem to me that Dawkins rejects a false parody of religion rather than what it is really about.

      Not so with Hitchens, He sees religion for what it really is and rejects it as such. He is person who has just been made such that he can believe and would be a non-beliver in all places and at all times. I don’t think it is correct to blame his upbringing for this (afterall he did share that up-bringing with his jounger brother)

      • Eric

        Hitchens positively did not want a “knowingness” or a “certainty”. He has a rather low bordom threashold and positively relished the uncertainty, debate and argument.

        • Rifleman819

          Some interesting thoughts you put across here.
          Hitchens was a typical product of highbrow materialist and libertarian thought.
          I think he launched his pretty virulent attacks on mother Teresa simply because he utterly failed to understand her and that her motivation was not of this world.
          Hitchens talked and wrote rather a lot and the bits that were not polemical nonsense were sometimes very good indeed but for all his denigration of mother Teresa we never saw him out of the literary salons and down in the slums of Calcutta,
          Did we.?

  • sam mace

    Rifleman i saw some of the last pictures of Mr Hitchens featured in the New statesman shortly before his death and he seemed at ease with the world. If you actually read his volume of essays on his death called mortality then maybe you won’t make such ignorant assumptions of what the man felt like when he knew his life was coming to an end. Mr Hitchens was invited to the vatican as a devils advocate i believe when they were discussing the case of Mother Teresa for i think it was sainthood most probably wrong on that point. Mr Hitchens was not the only person to speak out about Mother Teresa but i believe Sanal Edamaruku has been highly critical of her operations in Calcutta. He lived in Calcutta until he was accused under the blasphemy laws and had to leave.

    Dawkins and Hitchens are very different characters, Hitchens saw the idea of god as a dictatorship and the structure of the universe as one which was certainly poorly designed if designed. I personally liked the views of Mr Hitchens and see more in them than a faith based view of the world. Mr Hitchens stuck to these ideals and it was upon these ideals that he supported the Iraq war which created much controversy and lost him a lot of support.

    Mr Hitchens attacked Mother Teresa for things which he believed were wrong for what she was doing and promoting in a country ravaged by poverty. If you attack Mr Hitchens for not living in India then you must attack Mother Teresa for not having clinical treatment at her hospital in Calcutta instead she went to Switzerland.

    • rifleman819

      Sam.I am justly chastened at my ignorance and your omnipotence.I have actually read a fair bit of the late Mr Hitchens’ work and some is quite good , some not so, but he’s no Augustine or Boethius.

      Your point about hospital treatment in Switzerland is disingenous.It is unlikely that Mother Teresa’s hospital had the capability to treat her. She gave her life to the poor and the outcast.Christopher Hitchens did not give his.

      Your views are entirely your own and I respect them but the point remains-Christopher Hitchens made a fetish out of Mother Teresa but he never rolled up his sleeves.
      I’m not sure what the Iraq war has got to do with things?

      • sam mace

        Mr Hitchens was a better orator than writer but he was pretty gifted at both. No it isn’t, if she had true faith then she would have gone to her own hospitals that would have been truly selfless going to her own institutions and receive the same treatment the poor did. Mr Hitchens consistently defended the right to freedom and democracy, he went to places like iran, iraq, north korea, syria etc and he fought for that cause. One could argue his cause was just as important as the one Mother Teresa claimed to be. If you read a fair bit of his work like Mortality you would recognize he wasn’t angry at the prospect of death at all. I am, not claiming you haven’t read his work but he only really addresses his prospect on death in mortality if you haven’t read this i suggest so.

        MR Hitchens didn’t, he wrote a book in 1995 on serious issues about Mother Teresa and these accusations have never been denied. He didn’t devote his entire career to Teresa and other people who lived in India had serious misgivings about her.

        • rifleman819

          Christopher Hitchens was so selfless that he had some of the most expensive treatment US medicine could give him , funded by his own considerable wealth.

          Did he ever work for a lifetime in the slums of Third world cities?

          He could never escape the anger at not knowing the love of God and he could be very malicious if his ego was threatened.
          But even by perhaps your own measure-who is remembered more?-Mother Teresa or Mr Hitchens? Hitchens ranted and wrote…but that was really all he did.He had the esteem of a literary circle and all its transient, vapid,shallow glory.

          Christopher Hitchens was brave with the pen and microphone but he didn’t live with the poor of Christ , did he?

          Sam-just a thought.Millions of Catholics then and now completely deny the accusations made by the late Mr Hitchens against Mother Teresa.

          Several millions of Catholics worldwide have no misgivings about Mother Teresa at all.In fact she is greatly loved and her intercessions on both sides of the grave work wonders today.

          Put Christopher Hitchens in your atheist pantheon if you will.He was an ardent disciple of Voltaire’s Third Letter to the Smug or Rousseau’s Epistle to the Arrogant.The Universal Church of Condescension.
          But the final revelation has been made to him and I hope he rests in peace through the Mercy of God.

  • John Dare

    Judge not, lest ye be judged……

  • Rifleman819

    John , Indeed…….but I think I am merely defending the honour and treasured memories of the 40 Martyrs of England and Wales whose blood ensured we are here today, blogging in the freedom (for the moment?) to do so.

    Those brave men and women were “judged” alright, weren’t they?

    At every stage in Her history the Church has had to fight Her enemies…whether physically in self-defence or through other means.

    “We shall win you to Christ or die on your pikes” Edmund Campion

  • John Dare

    You’ve lost me son.

  • John Dare

    Just googled. There’s an o too many, but, ‘nothing matters very much, and most don’t matter at all’ seems a fair reply. Kimg/pope/pope/king.

    Like I said everyone took turns at burning, and there was Fox’s book of martyrs. Take your pick.

  • Rifleman819

    A rather huge difference actually.Where do we begin?

    If you regard being Catholic as a mildly spiritual cafeteria experience then I’m lost with you before we start.
    If on the other hand you comprehend that the One Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church started at the first Pentecost some 20 centuries ago and has spread to every corner of the earth and its teaching “Magisterium” has been the salvation of countless millions and millions of souls throughout time and space under the guidance of the successors of Peter….then we can have a dialogue……………

  • John Dare

    I’m afraid we don’t son.

    Any talk of the blood of martyrs, specially in a sixteenth century context seems a dead end to me.

  • rifleman819

    John. A pity.The reason we are blogging at all is due to their blood shed for us.

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