“Blame the popes – they started it.”

Far be it for me to get in the middle of an argument between supernaturalists.. But, with continuing calls for Wallace Thompson to “be sacked” by DUP minister Nigel Dodds, there is an interesting intervention in the Irish Times today from Brian Kennaway [subs req] on the row following the comments by Thompson on Joe Duffy’s RTÉ radio show – when he referred to Pope Benedict XVI as the Antichrist. Adds Mick has some additonal links and coments here.

While Duffy’s professionalism shone through and Thompson expressed his personal views, which he is entitled to hold, it was the reaction from listeners which proved the most enlightening.

Many failed to understand what their own churches actually believed, others clearly had no understanding of Christian faith, while some, including Thompson, misrepresented what other churches believed. Thompson, whose published letter to the editor of The Irish Times sparked the debate, told his radio audience, in reference to the pope being called the antichrist, “that is the position of the Church of Ireland and all the main [ Protestant] denominations”.

This is not true. Neither the Church of Ireland nor the Methodist Church has any such reference in their doctrinal standards. The Presbyterian Church in Ireland, has subordinate standards, the Westminster Confession of Faith, which states (at Chapter 25, paragraph 6): “There is no other head of the church but the Lord Jesus Christ: nor can the pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God.”

And he provides some fascinating historical references in an attempt to create a better understanding of the language and history.

The historical use of this term antichrist is worth noting. The first use of the term outside its use in the Bible (John’s letters) and in reference to the pope, was not by fundamentalist Protestants but by the popes themselves. This was a term in common use by Catholic writers long before the Protestant Reformation.

For example Pope Gregory I (590-604) stated: “Moreover, I say confidently that anyone calling himself universal bishop, or desires to be so called, shows himself, by this self-exaltation, to be the forerunner of the antichrist because by this display of pride he sets himself superior to others.” This was the same Gregory who, apparently, refused the title pope given to him in 604 by the Roman emperor Phocas. This was of course before the time of the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, over the whole church.

Later in 991, Arnulf, Bishop of Orleans, mourned the state of the church declaring: “Reverend Fathers, who do you regard this man to be who sits on such a lofty throne? For there is no doubt that if he is destitute of charity, and if he is proud by virtue of his own intellect, then he is the antichrist sitting in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”

Eberhard, Bishop of Salzburg in 1242 made reference to Pope Gregory IX as: “That morally depraved man whom they are accustomed to call the antichrist, upon whose forehead is written the name of contempt. . . .” It was, therefore, natural that the writers of the Westminster Confession of 1643-1647 followed the language of their Roman theological predecessors. They did not intend any offence by the use of this term Antichrist. Nor did they regard it, in the words of the Dean of St Patrick’s, as “unhelpful name-calling”.

Those who adhere to reformed theology today and use this term, I am sure, equally intend no offence. Though I can understand how many Catholics find it offensive, when they are unaware of the general use of the term within their own church in the past. The term antichrista did not have its origins among the fundamentalist Protestants of the “black North”, or even the so-called heretics of the Protestant Reformation. Blame the popes – they started it.

Indeed.

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  • The punch-line of the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (OUP, 1958: mine is the 1966 reprint) entry on “Antichrist”:

    Since the Reformation, the identification of the Pope with Antichrist has been frequently made, esp. in the less educated circles of Protestantism.

  • kensei

    “Those who adhere to reformed theology today and use this term, I am sure, equally intend no offence. Though I can understand how many Catholics find it offensive, when they are unaware of the general use of the term within their own church in the past.”

    Historical descriptions are irrelevant to modern standards. The modern use is normally the identification with that described in the book of Revelation. Words change their meaning and common meaning over time. There are endless examples.

    Moreover, there have been revisions of the Westminster Confession which exclude the reference to the Pope being the anti-Christ (mainly in the US but some also adopted with the UK IRC). I sincerely doubt that:

    “Those who adhere to reformed theology today and use this term, I am sure, equally intend no offence”

    People know what it typically means and how it is perceived.

  • flaminglip

    I would’ve thought someone like Satan would’ve been the antichrist, not an old religious chap who heads a Church. Is St Paul the, erm…is St Paul AN antichrist (since there are so many popes)?

  • Greenflag

    ‘“There is no other head of the church but the Lord Jesus Christ: nor can the pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God.”’

    Fair enough if you are into the Westminster Confession but hang on a minute – isn’t one of Queenie’s titles ‘Head of the Church ‘? and before her all the way back to Henry VIII?

    So by simple deductive reasoning would that not make Queenie at least as good a candidate for Anti Christ status as the Pope ?

    ‘The term antichrist did not have its origins among the fundamentalist Protestants of the “black North”’

    Full marks for the obvious 🙂 . I can remember being addressed as the ‘anti christ incarnate’ by my late mother whenever I strayed from the straight and narrow.

    M Redfellow

    ‘esp. in the less educated circles of Protestantism.’

    As the federal agents removed the ten commandments wall plaque /statue / stone tablet from a public school in South Carolina one of the presumably least educated protestors was heard to scream .

    ‘Don’t touch my God ‘

    As far as I’m aware the least educated of Northern Ireland’s protestants have as yet not taken up the practice of worshipping /adoring stone tablets with engraved markings ? IIRC throwing stones at Fenians was more the traditional form of worship ?

  • While Anglicans mightn’t refer to the Pope as the anti-christ, in the 39 Articles still to be found in each copy of the Book of Common Prayer and an integral part of the ordination ceremony for each anglican minister the sacrificial nature of the mass and the doctrine of Purgatory are said to be “blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits.” which funnily enough causes far less ripples than when Catholics are occasionally reminded that they ought not to receive communion in anglican churches.

    On the question of Wallace Thompson, while I completly disagree with his views, I, in common with the Catholic Church, the United Nations, the Council of Europe etc believe in freedom of religion. I believe he is free to believe the pope is the anti-christ and free to profess that and to try to persuade others of that. and to suggest he should be sacked for his views is disgracefully intolerant. Now if he were to start discriminating against Catholics in the course of his work, that would be a different matter but there is no evidence that he does.

    That tolerance is a two way street may be a cliché but it is one usual forgotten by liberals.

  • Greenflag

    ‘I believe he is free to believe the pope is the anti-christ and free to profess that and to try to persuade others of that. and to suggest he should be sacked for his views is disgracefully intolerant.’

    I agree. I mean why should’nt he . It makes perfect sense . After all the best way to attract Catholic voters to support the DUP is to go around mouthing that the Pope is the anti Christ and his followers are thus headed straight for a very warm place where there’s nothing to drink except the Pope’s piss.

    I can already see SF/SDLP converts to this new tolerant mode of thinking canvassing for Protestant votes in East Belfast. As they loudly state their belief that King William was a homosexual hunchback, and that Henry VIII died of syphilis which was given to him by God because he defied the Pope and robbed the monasteries I can just see the tolerant people of East Belfast nodding their heads and not reaching for paving stones .

    ‘Men are the only animals who devote themselves to making one another unhappy. It is i suppose one of their Godlike qualities ‘

    H.L.Mencken

  • Mick Fealty

    Ken,

    “People know what it typically means and how it is perceived.”

    Should that read ‘stereotypically’?

  • Smasher Lagru @ 03:51 PM:

    This prompted me to re-think; and (curiously) find a faint shred of credence for Wallace Thompson.

    In 1615 the Irish Episcopal Church held its first Convocation. Under the influence of our old friend, James Ussher (yes, he of 4004BC etc), then running the theology faculty at TCD, the Convocation adopted the “Irish Articles”.

    These were profoundly Calvinist, and amounted to 104 in number (the 39 Articles of the Church of England had not then been imported). They included absolute predestination, but not Episcopal Ordination. The true masochist will find the text at http://www.lasalle.edu/~garver/irish.html

    Despite claims to the contrary, even the Irish Articles did not use the term “Antichrist”, though Article 80 comes as close as maybe:

    The Bishop of Rome is so far from being the supreme head of the universal Church of Christ, that his works and doctrine do plainly discover him to be that man of sin, foretold in the holy Scriptures whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of his mouth, and abolish with the brightness of his coming.

    However, at a further Convocation in 1635 Strafford and his chaplain, John Bramhall (bishop of Derry and later Arch at Armagh) brought the Church of Ireland into line, by endorsing the 39 Articles.

    Ussher was still standing by his 104 Articles for some time after that. Wallace Thompson, therefore, has not yet got into the second third of the Seventeenth Century

  • kensei

    “Should that read ‘stereotypically’?”

    I don’t believe so. The modern invocation of the word is fairly clear and fairly well embedded in modern culture. Blame the movies.

    It would like saying people don’t know the meaning of the word “gay” in a modern context.

    Moreover, even if they totally sincerely used it in its medieval form, they absolutely know it will give offence, because that’s what happened all the other times it’s been done. Apparently no consideration of that is given, and no attempt to explain.

    And by the by: stereotypes do tend to exist because there is a kernel of truth within them.

  • Rory

    Throughout history, there have been any number of accused Antichrists, including the Roman emperor Domitian, Mohammed, Napoleon, several popes, Hitler, Mussolini, Henry Kissinger, the Ayatollah Khomeini and Anwar Sadat.

    Using variations of numerology and other arcane systems, the number of the Beast of Revelations, 666, has been applied to the names of William Franklin Graham (Billy Graham), Ronald Wilson Reagan, and Jerry Falwell himself.

    But who can lay claim to being the One True Antichrist?

    And after this (and earlier contributions) I wonder if I might also get into the frame. And if the answer is “yes”, would this be a good career move?

  • Dec

    I believe he is free to believe the pope is the anti-christ and free to profess that and to try to persuade others of that. and to suggest he should be sacked for his views is disgracefully intolerant.

    No-one’s suggesting that. They’re suggesting he should be sacked because he willingly participated on a radio show and broadcast his views.

  • Greenflag

    ‘They’re suggesting he should be sacked because he willingly participated on a radio show and broadcast his views.’

    ??? Why does that make a difference ? There’s any number of gobshites broadcasting their views on what they believe from the latest dieting fad to God (if he exists ) knows what else .

    I mean why would he go on a broadcast if he could not broadcast his views ?

  • Dec – reread the bit you quoted from me – freedom of religion includes the freedom to profess your views and to attempt to persuade others. He doesn’t lose that freedom by becoming a civil servant. As a civil servant he loses some of his freedom to make public statements about issues of government or party political policy. If the executive voted to invite the Pope to visit Stormont then he may find himself in a situation where he has to bite his tongue and do the honourable thing by going on leave or being in the toilet when the Pope walks round.

    Civil servants are not expressly probibited from taking part in radio programmes unless it concerns politics and this is most definitely religion.

    Personally I think the Pope is Christ’s vicar on earth and I’d be happy to go on radio and announce this (despite being a civil servant) – better get back to work.

  • santa

    I have to say that I found this (link below) a confused contribution from the Ulster Unionist Party –

    http://uuptoday.org/newsroom/2008/01/25/uup-trade-and-tourism-spokesman-writes-to-papers-over-wallace-thompson-remarks/

    I thought that the term anti-Christ had been used in it’s historical and doctrinal context. I also thought that the Roman Catholic church’s view on the ‘Christianity’ of reformed denomination and other faiths would be critical to striking any kind of balance in the ‘moral outrage’ and ‘righteous indignation’ we have witnessed on this issue recently.

    The UUP response stood out because the last sentiment seems to be advocating direct discrimination on the sole grounds of religion when considering future public appointments and awarding of these employment contracts – “I trust the DUP leadership and the minister will issue you all with an equally strong condemnation of their Special advisor and take steps to ensure that those recruited to positions of promoting Northern Ireland to the world are not from the extreme end of any religious denomination.”

  • Mick Fealty

    ken (btw, I think I have finally discovered the root of your preferred nom de guerre),

    The giving of offence is fairly routine in the comments section of this site. In a tolerant, pluralist society, I am not sure that we should solely be guided on what individuals and individual groups require.

    The reason I asked was that what is often held to be one dimensional in a ‘shared space’ like Slugger, words have multiple dimensions. Kenneway has certainly done that from my point of view.

    Dec,

    The Ethical code for Special Advisers in Whitehall:

    “Special advisers must not take public part in political controversy whether in speeches or letters to the Press, or in books, articles or leaflets; must observe discretion and express comment with moderation, avoiding personal attacks; and would not normally speak in public for their Minister or the Department.”

    It was what he said that got him into what some would like to see as ‘hot water’. No one who heard the programme has yet suggested that he spoke with anything but candour, modesty and direct honesty.

    So does the question revolves around the offence of the ‘A’ word, or speaking about his religious convictions in public.

    Are there shades here of the controversy around Rocco Buttiglione when he was opposed as a new European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security for his religious convictions?

  • Smasher, all sorts of people – civil servants, teachers, doctors, even government ministers – choose to set their right to express opinions or to reveal information aside when they accept their jobs. But their right to express those opinions etc has no more been removed than their right to free movement was by their having to show up in an office every day.

    Fact is, if they find their choice of profession too frustrating they can relieve themselves of their obligations by simply handing in their notice.

    This story is no more about freedom of religion than the story of the silly Waterstones blogger who slagged his boss off in public and then got fired was about freedom of speech. It’s about a person wanting to have his cake and eat it. Either he should put up with his professional obligations or he can resign and then pursue his religious advocacy to his heart’s content. He can’t have it both ways.

  • joeCanuck

    Well, it was a Pope who said “A little learning is a dangerous thing”.
    (Alexander Pope, that is.)

  • Donnacha

    The UUP’s tourism spokesman Mark Cosgrove has a tenuous grip on goegraphy indeed if he thinks there are millions of Catholic countries in the world. Has he ever looked at a globe?

  • pauljames

    It just goes to show the lack of biblical knowledge that passes for religion in these parts. It is quite clear that the antichrist will be of jewish descent and according to the Rev Falwell and others is already among us. His revelation will preceed the End Times. Repent sinners and prepare to be raptured.

  • Nick P.

    Ive always believed Tony Blair was the Anti Christ

  • Turgon

    Oh dear here we go again. To repeat what I said last time we debated the pope and the antichrist etc.

    The traditional meaning which most of you will think of is the Beast in Revelation. This antichrist is clearly opposed to Christ.

    However, the bible makes other mention of the word
    1 John 2:18 “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.”

    or

    2 John 1:7 “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”

    So clearly there can be multiple antichrists. Indeed I was once told (I have no citation to back it up) that the Greek “anti” means in place of. Now that particular fundamentalist argument follows that since the pope claims to be the “Vicar of Christ” and indeed claims to be an interceder between man and God then such a person puts themself in the place of Christ (The one whom Protestants believe is the only mediator between God and man). As such the pope putting himself in Christ’s place is an anti-Christ.

    This argument seems quite similar to that which was espoused by Pope Gregory as mentioned in Pete’s blog. By placing themselves above other church leaders and being able to represent man before God and speak to God on a man’s behalf and by claiming to have the ability to forgive sins all these could be argued to be putting oneself in the place of Christ and as such antichrist.

    The same argument applies to the Dali Lama, and assorted other leaders of religions who claim to be able to represent people before God.

    The issue of Queen Elizabeth is interesting. I think, however, she claims to be head of only a single church (the CoE) and not of the church in the sense of the universal body of believers.

    Some fundamentalists do indeed identify the final antichrist in Revelation as the pope, most probably do not. Some also identify the church of Rome as the Whore of Babylon mentioned in Revelation. Some regard none of this as applying to the pope.

    Kensei makes agood point when he says that people will regard it as abusive. That is true but remember that fundamentalists use words in slightly different fashion to other people who regard themselves as Christians. The very term Christian to a fundamentalist simply means one who has accepted Christ as their personal saviour (we can argue about the fact that it is actually Christ who accepts us in a strictly Calvinist sense another time). Although many non fundamentalists would take offence to be described as not Christians, the fundamentalist means no offence by it; it is a mere technical term like the term gentleman once meant a person of a particular social standing. Now it means a nice person. To be described as not a gentleman once meant you were not part of a specific stratum of society, now it simply means you are not a nice person. Fundamentalists simply use the term Christian to define a specific religious position.

    Rory’s comment is very appropriate. Many people have been identified as the final Revelation antichrist. Some when I was a child suggested it could be Gorbachev after all he had a mark on his head (this was only the very silliest wing of fundamentalists).

    I personally feel that trying to identify the final antichrist is a total waste of time and simply makes fundamentalists appear to be not merely eccentric but totally barking.

    Incidentally I hope to be completely wrong in my religious analysis and I hope that many many people are in heaven; after all God will accept whosoever he will whenever he wishes. However, I am constrained by my religious beliefs to state taht my understanding of the bible is that those who do not personally accept Christ will go to a lost eternity.

  • HeadTheBall

    “….claims to be head of only a single church (the CoE)….”

    Did not Queen Elizabeth (the first one, I mean) specifically reject the title of “Head” of the Church in favour of “Governor” (a less assertive title entirely)?

  • Rory

    “I hope that many many people are in heaven; after all God will accept whosoever he will whenever he wishes.”

    And don’t we all, Turgon and, “after all”, won’t God just do “whatever He wishes”. But, ” nNce of you to say so, Turgon”. As God might say. If He came on Slugger that is.

    But since He probably won’t how’s about you giving us some idea of those who would not be among the “many people” that you hope “are in heaven”?

    And where do you hope they might be instead?

    If, in your answer you intend to name names, I would advise you to be careful and use only the names of the dead. Apparently they have no legal comeback on this kind of thing. Whereas, if implied, for example, that I, a living man had never been to heaven, my personal masseuses, the ever delightful madamoiselles Fifi and Trixibelle, might well sue you for libellous detraction and calmuny.

    Quite right too – if you ask me!

    “To ‘ell wiz ‘im! Zut alors!” agrees Mlle Fifi.

  • Turgon

    Rory,

    Thank you. In all honesty and I know I will get grief for this; I am required to believe that if one is not in heaven one will be in hell. I hope that that means ceasing to exist but looking at the bible I am not that optimistic; it seems a pretty awful place.

    In all honesty I cannot think of any person whom I would want to send there and as far as I can see God is not keen on sending anyone there.

  • kensei

    ken (btw, I think I have finally discovered the root of your preferred nom de guerre)

    I have told you loads of times. It means “Sword Saint” and refers to Miyamoto Mushashi. You quoted The Book Of Five Rings, for heavens sake!

    I’d also recommend Bushido: The Soul of Japan, and
    Hagakure, by the by.

    The giving of offence is fairly routine in the comments section of this site. In a tolerant, pluralist society, I am not sure that we should solely be guided on what individuals and individual groups require.

    A tolerant pluralist society should allow almost complete freedom of speech. I find though that tolerant, pluralist people try to take into account the feelings of other people, and try to phrase things so as they are not misunderstood and try to minimise offence where possible. If they don’t, it’s fair game. Just as while a racist may have the right to be espouse his views in a tolerant free society, I have the right to think little of him for it. Doubly so if I reckon he’s trying dog whistle tactics and equivocation to avoid taking the consequences of saying what he means. Triply if he is in a job where he represents people that may be offended; that’s just unprofessional.

    The reason I asked was that what is often held to be one dimensional in a ‘shared space’ like Slugger, words have multiple dimensions. Kenneway has certainly done that from my point of view.

    Historical meaning also remains largely irrelevant to the point as to what he meant, and how he’d guess it would be interpreted. I could also point out that he claimed the Pope was not that Anti-Christ as in the Westminster Confession, but that The Pope is the Anti-christ. That’d be the definite article, which would be the one referred to in Revelation, no?

  • Rory

    Turgon,

    You say that you are “required to believe” …etc., etc. …

    We are then obliged to ask –

    By what human source were you first made cogniscant of this requirement?

    Shall I now go on, or would you prefer, as I would, to avoid embarrassment?

  • pauljames

    [Play the ball, not the man – edited moderator]

  • Antichrist

    1. I am not the Pope, sausage-fancying schweinhund.

    2. The whore of Babylon overcharges for what is, in fact, a very basic service.

    3. I live in Newtownabbey.

    Any more questions?

  • pauljames

    Cool…moderated! perhaps you might elaborate on who the MAN in question might be- JC? The Antichrist? Herr Ratzinger? please don’t say its you Turgon. (I was going for the ball ref!)

  • One way and another, this thread is going to hell in a handcart.

    So, before I gnaw my wrist off in despair, a last hurrah for reality.

    The “Antichrist” owes more to politics than religion. His Biblical presence is in just three references: 1 John 2. 18-22; 4. 3; and 2 John 7 (where specifically he is linked to the denials of the Incarnation).

    Any links from there to Revelation are dubious. I still maintain that the whole Revelation thing is easiest explained by the historical context: Caligula setting up his chryselephantine statue in the Temple of Jerusalem; and/or Nero’s persecutions. By the same token, the “666” nonsense makes complete sense when it is read in the original (the Greeks used the alphabet to represent numbers, so “zeta-zeta-zeta” is clear code for the lightning flashes on the Roman standards).

    Then we come to the Calvinist outburst of the late Sixteenth/early Seventeenth century, traducing the Pope as the Antichrist. Again politics.

    In passing, is it not an observable truth that Calvinism prospered where there was popular discontent with unpopular rulers?

    So, my earlier point about James Ussher’s “Irish Articles” might have some pertinence. The reference to the Pope there is in a precise context, which goes back to the Papal Bull, Regnans in Excelsis of 1570, wherein Pius V justified a regicide of the heretic Elizabeth I. Politics again. This was a contemporary live topic: read Hamlet for example (and speculate on George Buchanan’s baleful influence on James VI: it is relevant to Regnans and thereby to Ussher).

    How all this survives to the Twenty-first century is another historical curiosity. It involves comparatively-recent interest in the Book of Daniel (thank you, Isaac Newton), and interlacing the fantasies there with the stuff from John’s Epistles and Revelation. Again politics, then and now.

    The Book of Daniel was composed around 164BC (if Daniel was real, he belongs around 605BC). So the Book of Daniel has a context in the persecutions of Antiochus Epiphanes IV, and is a nice piece of Jewish propaganda, offering hope and retribution at a time of misery.

    Enough of rationality!

    From Newton’s obsession with Daniel it is a straight-line through second-rate intellects. A significant development were the Millerites of the 1840s (world ends 22 Oct 1844: wrong!) which led to Adventism. Since then, of course, anyone can play with “end-time prophecies”: http://www.religioustolerance.org/ lists some 15 predictions a year for “The end of the World”. Currently one Ronald Weinland (http://the-end.com/) has it for certain that 2008 is the year.

    Amid such paranoia, the Clerk of Session in Knock Evangelical Presbyterian Church in East Belfast, and “special advisor” to Nigel Dodds, sits quite easily.

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    The antics of Pope Gréagóir, the other 15 of his namesakes and the rest of his ilk throughout the ages is lamentable, but for those who believe in every word of the scriptures and ‘the Good Book’ itself as true, surely must know that there is no reference to a ‘pope’ at all in the Bible,(bar Peter, the rock etc…)let alone the notion that the pope is indeed the anti-Christ himself!

    Life is not about faith, but fate!

    (Southern Protestants who rang in to the Joe Duffy show were highly disguted with Wallace Thompsons archaic theological remarks.)

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    The ‘Whore of Babylon’ could mean anyone or anything besides the ‘pope.’ The Book of Revelations or the Apocalypse was even disputed by the early Church Fathers, whether to include it in the Bible collection of manuscripts, because of it’s obscure account.

  • Ciaran wrote “Either he should put up with his professional obligations or he can resign and then pursue his religious advocacy to his heart’s content. He can’t have it both ways.”

    Well in law he can – your point would be correct if he were expressing political opinion which he’s not allowed to do, or if he were employed by a Catholic school. The fact is civil servants are allowed to have religious opinions and are allowed to express them publicly and they don’t lose that right or limit it when they take their jobs.

    This is about secularists trying to squeeze religion from the public square.

    And Turgon – don’t be silly, if they’re not in heaven they might be in purgatory – they don’t have to be in hell.

  • Rory

    This thread prompted me to memories of the one and only Irish pope – The Pope O’Mahoney.

    I was hoping to include a link but I’m damned if I can source any mention of him despite a number of searches including Wikipedia.

    Can anyone provide a link to this great character, literatteur, raconteur, wit, etc., etc. ?

  • Turgon

    Rory,
    “By what human source were you first made cogniscant of this requirement”

    I am afraid that I came to my views on my religion myself. My father is not religious, my mother religious but liberal and quite ecumenical. After hearing many sermons, having read on and prayed regarding these matters; I have reached my positions. That is not to say that I will not continue to modify my views. I feel it is how God is leading me personally. I have no doubt He leads other people in other directions.

    I am quite content to be embarrassed, laughed at and humilitated regarding my religious beliefs; as I say I sincerely hope that some of them (such as those on people being in hell) are incorrect.

  • Rory @ 10:36 AM:

    Ah, the Pope O’Mahon(e)y!

    At an early age (taken to lunch at the Universities’ Club) I first saw (and heard) him from a respectful distance. I learned more from a CofI cleric who had shared a CIE compartment with him during “The Emergency”. Since trains were being fuelled by turf, the journey was somewhat extended. O’Mahony (allegedly) never let up his stream of reminiscence and anecdote for the full eight hours from Dublin to Cork.

    Many others shared, if not enjoyed, a similar experience.

    O’Mahony claimed (with some justification) an encyclopedic knowledge of Irish families and their history. He was frequently inaccurate, and should not be taken on trust on matters of fact: Richard Ellman did in his biography of James Joyce, the Years of Growth, and got it wrong.

    Most of all, though, O’Mahony should be remembered for his consummate anecdotage. He could turn the report of a dry law-cse into an epic. There was his recital of a case involving Irish gentry and the family dog, which concluded:

    The learned Judge was moved to give his celebrated ruling that has since become enshrined in the constitution of many lands … In the case of bestiality, mutual consent is not a good defence.

  • Greenflag

    ‘This is about secularists trying to squeeze religion from the public square.’

    The sooner the better it is squeezed from the public square . For in truth none of the religions are exempt from dressing up mythology and history as hypothetical fact . Humanity has created God in our own sometimes image . And as a figment of our ‘imagination’ God in turn revisits us in all shapes and sizes ranging from a carved wooden Totem Pole in the North West Pacific to a large oak tree in a German Forest to a multi limbed Hindu swamietc etc .

    ‘As a boy I was expelled from fundamentalist school for casting doubt on the Bible by asking how Noah was able , in the Palestinian desert , to take a penguin on board the Ark ‘

    author unknown

    ‘The Protestant church looks after you from the womb to the tomb , but the Catholic Church looks after you from erection to resurrection’

    Brendan Behan .

    ‘I would like to go to heaven . But if Jeffrey Archer is there , I want to go to Lewisham ‘

    Spike Milligan

  • Greenflag @ 01:35 PM:

    Nice quotes; thanks for that moment of lightness.

    But provocative, too.

    Jeffrey Archer in heaven? That’s taking “one sinner that repenteth” to literally new dimensions.

  • Rory

    Turgon,

    You tell us that your (human) mother was religious, that you listened to sermons (delivered by humans), that you read (

    THe firstmaterial written by humans presumably) and yet admit to the influence of no human agency, none who mediated upon your conciousness who might have allowed you to convince yourself that you were under the personal guidance of God.

    It is against such delusion that “papist” priests are at their best, warning the unwary not to be deluded lest they fall into the first of the only two sins which, because they sin against the Holy Spirit, God Himself is unable to forgive – the sin of presumption and the sin of despair.

    The first sin, presumption, allows the soul to presume that it is saved, creates great delusion and so prevents the acceptance of the grace of Christ by refusing to acknowledge that it might be needed. The second, despair, denies that the soul is worthy of Christ’s grace, that it is too wretched to be saved and so condemns it by rejecting it’s acceptance.

    Since neither sin by it’s very nature permits of confession the forgiveness that is the grace of God.

  • Greenflag

    Believing in the Anti Christ can save you from the death sentence

    ‘ The Pope is the Anti-christ.’

    No not the Pope but James Hallman ! according to Ryan Green 24 of Tallahassee , Florida who has just had his death sentence reduced last Thursday to life in prison without parole by the Florida Supreme Court .Apparently Green aged 24 killed retired Pensacola Police officer James Hallman while the latter was taking a walk. Green said he believed the ‘A’ on the front of Hallman’s University of Alabama hat stood for the Antichrist . Green also said he ‘interpreted’ Hallman’s body language as indicating that he (hallman) wanted to die and that he heard a voice that told him that Hallman wanted to be killed .

    Green apparently also claimed he was the ‘Son Of God’

    Wallace Thompson believes that the Pope is the Anti Christ so why I ask is he not out there sniping at said Pope ? And I mean sniping with a rifle ? If you believe this kind of shite then surely you would have the courage of your convictions and go out there and fight for God by putting down the world’s greatest ‘evil’ i.e Benedict XVI ?

    The chap is a retard as is anybody who truly believes that the Pope or indeed anybody else on the planet is the Anti Christ . It’s medieval nonsense no different from the barking mad priests of the Spanish Inquisition or the Witch finders during the Puritan ‘revolution .

    Wallace Thompson belongs in another century and I don’t meant the 20th or the 19th nor even the 18th 🙁

  • Greenflag

    ‘Jeffrey Archer in heaven? That’s taking “one sinner that repenteth” to literally new dimensions. ‘

    LOL – I can’t recall which prison the one time much touted future Tory leader ‘repentheted’ in – but SFAIK neither Wormwood Scrubbs nor Wandsworth are located in another dimension but in actual three dimensional space in London .

    ‘thanks for that moment of lightness.’

    You are welcome 🙂

    But provocative, too.

    Naw I think GBS does it much better as here below 🙂

    ‘If I ever utter an oath again may my soul be blasted to eternal damnation’

    George Bernard Shaw

  • Greenflag

    ‘The learned Judge was moved to give his celebrated ruling that has since become enshrined in the constitution of many lands …

    ‘ In the case of bestiality, mutual consent is not a good defence.’

    It may well have been the same Judge who had to endure a complaint in court from a Garda who stated that the ‘defendant in the dock’ had been charged for resisting arrest following an altercation with said Garda- during which offensive language had been used .

    ‘And what exactly were the words which gave offense ‘? said the judge .

    ‘I’d rather not say your honour ‘ replied the Garda .

    ‘Out with it man ‘said the judge or I’ll have you up for contempt .

    ‘He (the defendant) called me a big ignorant Kerry f***er ‘

    ‘So the defendant was telling the truth then ‘
    said the judge !

  • PaddyReilly

    The Pope O’Mahony as I heard it was a Papal Count. He had obtained this honour due to his generosity with his personal estate, which he gave in its entirety to the Church. As a result he was obliged to sleep on the floors of friends who found a recitation of the genealogical ramifications of East Thomond a useful counter to insomnia.

    http://www.siu.edu/~ireland/speo.htm

    However, his obituary at:-

    http://www.pgil-eirdata.org/html/pgil_datasets/authors/o/OMahony,E/life.htm

    makes no mention of his countship, though it has him as a Knight of Malta. So maybe the stories told of him are as unreliable as the stories told by him.

  • Mustapha Mond

    I am quite content to be embarrassed, laughed at and humilitated regarding my religious beliefs; as I say I sincerely hope that some of them (such as those on people being in hell) are incorrect.

    Posted by Turgon on Feb 01, 2008 @ 11:43 AM

    Why be embarassed?

    Greenflag
    “…God by putting down the world’s greatest ‘evil’ i.e Benedict XVI ?”

    Funny you should say ‘evil’, the confessor to JP2 (might’ve been a previous vicarius fili dei) declared that Germany, Holland and England are “Evil countries”, so as Benny is a German…