“Let’s put this bluntly..”

As I’ve said before, far be it for me to get in the middle of an argument between supernaturalists.. But it’s interesting to read that, a year after declaring that Protestant (Reformed) churches are not really churches “in the proper sense”, Emperor Constantine Pope Benedict XVI is, according to the Independent, and the Belfast Telegraph, “leading an unprecedented drive by the Roman Catholic Church to prevent the fragmentation of the worldwide Anglican Communion ahead of the once-a-decade gathering of its 800 bishops.” There is a dissenting view to that claim from the editor-in-chief of the Catholic Herald, Damian Thompson at the Telegraph’s blog.

I just hope that Anglo-Catholics will not be taken in. Let’s put this bluntly. Far from wanting to preserve the Anglican Communion, Pope Benedict wishes all its members to become Catholics. He realises, however, that corporate reunion is now impossible, and so he and his key advisers in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are considering ways in which groups of Anglicans can be received into full communion with the Holy See.

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  • USA

    Catholic or Anglican – its all garbage.
    Enjoying my stay in Belfast.

  • Essentialist

    Consider the link with the Catholic Bishops’ position on education matters in Northern Ireland. The agenda may be described as seeking a one size fits all system whereby all children receive a “Catholic education” Interesting that the Protestant (reformed) churches have little to say on this apart from a supine acceptance of the revised curriculum and occasional whining about their dispalcement from school boards of governors.

    Be careful with those bearing gifts.

  • BfB

    USA

    Stay as long as possible.

    THIS is the guy you should be worrying about, not the Holy Father…..
    Unless you’re an egomaniac, militant atheist, that is.

  • Greenflag

    Pope Benedict like any good CEO is seeking a corporate takeover of a competing brand . But it doesn’t matter anyway . Dinosaurs are extinct but their lineage lives on in birds , Paisleyites , Popes, Imams , Anglicans , Rabbis , Priests , Pastors , Ministers etc etc . Medieval Catholicism is extinct and so is Reformation Protestantism . What is being worked out now in 2008 is the scrabble between the descendants of the ‘originals’ of the species for whats left of the sheep in the ‘religious ‘ marketplace .

    Given worldwide access to information it’s impossible for the Churches to protect those ‘born’ into the faith from exposure to scientific facts which will continue to undermine the mindsets which are required for religious fanaticism and intolerance . In debates on everything from evolution to intelligent design to women priests the ‘religious right’ are taking a beating and being made to look increasingly ridiculous and irrational’

    The religious fervor of present times whether it be displayed by orange sash wearing bowler hatted ‘adults’ holding umbrellas marching in Belfast , televangelical american con men , or ayatollahs wailing from the top of a minaret or a Eucharistic Congress in Dublin -these are all just desperate attempts by these ‘dinosaurs’ to keep the eyes and ears of the younger generations in ignorance and superstition. Some of the above use local ‘political’ conditions to help keep the ‘young’ in tow .

    All around the world the number of those who declare themselves as non religious is growing faster than the number of Catholics , Protestants , Mormons , Evangelicals etc . Their numbers grow faster than even Islam whose numbers increase almost entirely due to the high birth rate and not through ‘conversion’.

    What’s happening in Anglicanism is just a microcosm of what’s happening in all religions as many within all faiths rebel against the ‘irrational ‘ parts of their ‘faiths’ and look elsewhere or try to reform from within .

    Pope Benedict’s ‘diversionary’ tactic of trying to embrace Anglicans in mutual Christian ’embrace ‘ is remember being made at a time when the RC Church in Ireland could only ordain three ‘new ‘ priests in it’s Dublin Diocese in several years- one of which was a Vietnamese immigrant and the others elder ‘converts’ from the secular life .

    The transition to a non religious society will take time but eventually those who practice ‘religion’ will be seen by the secular majority as the last remnants of a period in human history when ‘religion’ provided a coherent world view for hundreds of millions and provided a ‘hope’ when otherwise there was none.

    The important question is what will or can replace ‘religion’ in society . It’s already clear that material secularism by itself in a world of limited resources will not or can’t work for all – not with 6 or 7 billion on the planet and given man’s all too human ‘nature’.

  • Over Here

    Don’t believe all you read I do not think the Pope saisd any such thing more like a little spin from someone.
    See this site http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/damian_thompson/blog/2008/07/15/the_guardian_sticks_the_knife_into_dr_rowan_williams

  • Over Here
  • Pete Baker

    Yes Over Here,

    That’s why I linked and quoted Damian in the original post.

  • USA

    Greenflag

    Well said.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]Catholic or Anglican – its all garbage.
    Enjoying my stay in Belfast.”[/i]

    Posted by USA

    and during your stay you manage to post on Slugger? What a global brand slugger is

  • earnan

    who cares about any of this. religions, except islam, will continue to decline until a major world event forces people back to their old ways

  • BfB

    Greenie,

    Science can’t answer such a profound question of the origins of the universe, intelligent systems coming into existence by sheer chance, without the evidences necessary to establish how it occurred… can’t do it. “We’re working on it” doesn’t feed the bulldog. It requires a leap of faith. You stick with science (egomania) and I’ll stick with faith in an intelligence behind how we are who we are. When you have proof get back to the Pope, he’s on the edge of his seat. And why is that the anti-religious get so feckin’ wound up about this? Just move along, we’ll get by without you.
    PS.
    When you get your nose that far in the air…do your feet leave the ground? Nice to see you’re still paid by the word. 😉

  • cynic

    Let me see, shall I choose

    1 a rational explanation based upon natural selection proved (though not conclusively) by the fossil record and various experiements in genetics and other araes

    2 one of several hundred belief systems (many substantially different) that presume some omnipotent super-being who ‘created’ everything for ill defined reasons, who watches our every move, punishes the bad and rewards the good. This is proved by reference to various Holy Books written in obscure langauages, sometimes many thousands of years ago, and which have many and varied strange hangups from an aversion to pork to warnings of the moral dangers of wearing mixed fibres or letting dogs into the house.

    Hmmmmm as a sensible human being, which shall I choose??

    But I do agree with your philosophy on “Just move along, we’ll get by without you” provided you Religous will leave us all alone and not evangalise us, denounce us, vilify us, declare jihand, stone us, excommunicate us or abuse and attack the rights of our partners and children.

  • Peat Blog

    who cares about any of this. religions, except islam, will continue to decline until a major world event forces people back to their old ways

    earnan,

    We in Norn Iron will probably lead the way in this. We have been practicing reverse-evolution for decades.

  • paul kielty

    Greeflag, cynic, Peat blog………..AMEN!!!!

  • joeCanuck

    until a major world event forces people back to their old ways

    Yes, indeed. Pete has blogged it. After that asteroid with our name on it hits, the few survivors will be back to the old ways,, learning to hunt the remaining big animals. Praying might come back when you run out of arrows and that tiger is fast approaching.

  • smcgiff

    ‘Praying might come back when you run out of arrows and that tiger is fast approaching.

    Yeah – The gods of fish and foul will be taken down and dusted off then.

  • Comrade Stalin

    BfB:

    “We’re working on it” doesn’t feed the bulldog. It requires a leap of faith.

    Not only that, it requires a leap of a particular faith. There are thousands of religions around the world. You probably haven’t familiarized yourself with more than 10% of them. How can you be sure you’ve got the right one ?

    What you are in fact saying is that you don’t know the explanations to the mysteries of existence, and neither does science, so you prefer to invent them. That’s like a small child with an imaginary friend. It doesn’t work for me. I have to admit, life would be a hell of a lot simpler for me if it did.

  • Pete Baker

    guys

    The interest in this post is in the detail of the politics [small ‘p’] involved.

  • pauljames

    Pete

    Sorry to be off topic but are you aware of the current furore concerning science blogger PZ Myers
    after this post on his blog Pharyngula? Check out the subsequent posts to see the hysteria being whipped up by the catholic league of America.

  • abucs

    Greenflag, that sounds awfully close to a prayer. :o)

    The statistics say over the next 24 hours they’ll be an overall differential increase of +69,000 Christians, +68,000 muslims and +1,200 atheists.

    If you take Africa alone, 100 years ago there were only 10 million Christians, today there’s 360 million and it’s growing fast. 9 million muslims per year are converting to Christianity in Africa alone and to that you can add a much larger birth rate where the population numbers are doubling every few decades.

    If you look at the western world only, then there’s a natural limit of how much from an overall declining population will become atheist.

    btw linking a fall of religion to an increase in science is like linking a fall in religion to an increase in obesity. It only works on paper with pre-figured biases built in.

    In Europe we may have forgotten that science, education, healthcare and welfare initially came from religion before being taken over by the state in the last 100 years. In Africa and other places with corrupt state governments, they don’t have that delusion and are not so forgetful. They are only too aware about where these things come from and what sustains them.

    back to the thread … the Vatican has had discussions with some Anglicans previously and rejected any break-away group rejoining the Catholic church as they have preferred to deal with the Anglican Church as a whole instead of being seen to be divisive.

    This time around from what i hear the Catholic wing of Anglicanism in England are close to negotiating an Anglican rite in communion with Rome much like the Lebanese Catholic Maronite church or Catholic Assyrian church or several of the previously orthodox churches that have decided to be in communion with Rome.

    I don’t expect big numbers in England. The future of the African Anglican Church will be interesting to watch though. With a falling European population and an increasing number of migrants coming from Africa, that will be where the numbers for Europe will lie in the future.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Science can’t answer such a profound question of the origins of the universe,’

    Which ‘universe’ are you referring to ?

    The one we live began approx 13.5 billion years ago .

    Here’s a brief sequence of events

    Earth -4.5 billion years
    Bacterial life – 3.8 billion years
    First ‘bodies’ – 600 million years approx
    First land animals – 400 million years
    First Hominoids – 3 million years
    Homo Sapiens – 120,000 years approx.

    Bfb’s arrival – 6 years ?(approx) 🙂

    Do remember that if it had not been for the timely intervention of your Intelligent Designer in ensuring the ‘extermination’ of 95% of the species he created (faulty design perhaps ?)during the mass Permian extinction and 75% of ‘species’ he replaced ( you just can’t get a decent architect these days eh ?)in a later mass extermination you would not be in Boston but would instead be a furry little ‘rodent ‘size creature trying to scratch a living under the Boston dig- while trying to avoid becoming breakfast, lunch or dinner for a passing carnivorous dinosaur .

    The ‘universe’ does not need humanity – neither does the earth – and if we don’t get our act together soon the earth may just ‘move on’ without us . It did after all get on without us for 4,499,900,000 of it’s 4,500,000,000 existence .

  • Greenflag

    Abucs ,

    Greenflag, that sounds awfully close to a prayer. :o)

    You have a point 🙂

    ‘The statistics say over the next 24 hours they’ll be an overall differential increase of +69,000 Christians, +68,000 muslims and +1,200 atheists.’

    There are lies damned lies etc as Winston Churchill put it:) . What exactly does ‘overall differential increase ‘ mean ? population plus births minus deaths ? Are we talking ‘nominal ‘ numbers here ? The Republic has a a 90% RC population in the latter sense . To judge by church attendance and ‘priest ‘ ordinations ‘practising ‘ RC’s might make up 20% in urban areas and maybe 35% in rural areas?

    ‘If you take Africa alone, 100 years ago there were only 10 million Christians, today there’s 360 million and it’s growing fast. ‘

    Religion has always appealed to the poor and powerless and Africa and other parts of the ‘poor ‘ world where there is no tradition of a ‘universal’ faith.

    ‘If you look at the western world only,’

    I don’t -China , Japan -Korea and many of the former Soviet Bloc countries are predominantly ‘irreligious’ at least is the sense of lacking Evangelical or Islamic fervour .

    ‘In Europe we may have forgotten that science, education, healthcare and welfare initially came from religion before being taken over by the state in the last 100 years. ‘

    Of this I am and have been aware . I’m also aware that Germany lost an estimate 7 million of it’s population as a result of it’s Wars of Religion. Religion has had it’s ‘negative ‘ impacts as well as the above mentioned positives.

    ‘ In Africa and other places with corrupt state governments, they don’t have that delusion and are not so forgetful. They are only too aware about where these things come from and what sustains them.’

    Indeed. A ‘straw ‘ may save a poor man but it is still a straw . Our european ancestors also clung to ‘religion’ -they had to – In medieval europe if you did not profess and be seen to profess the faith you did not live very long . There was always room at the stake for those who ‘thought’ differently . Peer pressure can be a powerful force and greater in some societies than in others . How many ‘marching ‘ orangemen or their flag waving supporters saw the inside of a church or chapel in the past 12 months ?

    ‘With a falling European population and an increasing number of migrants coming from Africa, that will be where the numbers for Europe will lie in the future.’

    They will help for a while but in time they too will ‘adapt’ to the overall ‘psyche’ of modern Europe which is moving away from ‘religion’ .

  • abucs

    “They will help for a while but in time they too will ‘adapt’ to the overall ‘psyche’ of modern Europe which is moving away from ‘religion’” .

    Sometimes what is modern today is not modern tomorrow. Also if you look at Christianity there has always been moves away and then back to it. So you could be right Greenflag, but these things could also go in cycles.

    A couple of examples are the French revolution, the anti-clerical movements of the Iberian peninsula, Germany’s dabbling in neo paganism and the communist regimes of the last 100 years or the boxer rebellion of China or the Islamic invasions of Spain and the Balkans.

    We’ll have to bet a pint on which way it goes. I think much of Europe today has divorced science, welfare, education and healthcare from religion and so it thinks of religion as ‘a set of unprovable wishful thoughts’. That thinking may change in the future, especially (God forbid) if Europe starts going through tough times and the state is seen to fail.

    Many other societies have seen what has happened in Europe with the divorce of religion from society and they are making sure their own societies don’t go down that track.

    Many secular institutions are going to Africa arguing that 100 years ago when they were Christian they got it all wrong and they are now modern and enlightened. The African’s understandably smile and say come back in another 100 years and we’ll see where you are then.

    Back in the middle ages Christians were busy going all over Europe starting schools, universities and hospitals volunteering in their thousands. When a plague would break out it would wipe most of them out in the hospitals they manned. One or two generations later they were back again in their thousands volunteering their enlightenment and modernity.

    If an asteroid hits us tomorrow and puts us back in the middle ages i doubt secular humunism would have that strength of conviction to build us back up again.

    Of course an asteroid is an extreme example (maybe a flood – :o) ) but honestly i think at some stage the ‘laws of the state alone’ mantra will run it’s course and found to come up somewhere well short of Nirvana.

    When things are going OK the ‘modern’ (European) psyche might work but excusing the pun, what is going to last in an evolutionary sense, is what survives in the most desperate of times. Perhaps just about any philosophy can survive and thrive when times are relatively good.

    But i don’t have a crystal ball Greenflag, i’ll keep my euros handy for that pint just in case your modern Europe stays ‘modern’. :o)

  • Greenflag

    Abucs

    ”Sometimes what is modern today is not modern tomorrow. ‘

    True enough . IIRC some ancient Greek discovered the principles of the steam turbine but alas he was 2,500 years ahead of his time 🙂

    ‘ Also if you look at Christianity there has always been moves away and then back to it.’

    True also . The examples you give for the moves away and back are as a result of social upheaval -revolution or ‘foreign’ conquest. I suspect that the present ‘angst’ within european christianity is based on a more fundamental disconnect namely that between religious belief based on faith and no evidence and non religious beliefs based on facts , numbers and scientifically proven data . Not that science has all the answers but their answers are either proved or disproved by scientific method.

    ‘Many other societies have seen what has happened in Europe with the divorce of religion from society and they are making sure their own societies don’t go down that track.’

    This is an ‘ancient’ fear based on the belief that somehow ‘atheists’ and non believers cannot be trusted or in some way will take advantage of the non existence of a heaven or hell to do what they like and can get away with . To this I would say that even ‘atheists’ have to adhere to the law of the land. Name me one ‘ultra religious’ society in this day and age which is a better place to live in than say Sweden or Holland or Iceland ?

    ‘Back in the middle ages Christians were busy going all over Europe starting schools, universities and hospitals volunteering in their thousands. When a plague would break out it would wipe most of them out in the hospitals they manned. One or two generations later they were back again in their thousands volunteering their enlightenment and modernity.’

    As I said earlier I do not doubt the great contribution made to human development within and without Europe historically by ‘religious ‘ people both clergy and laity . Religion has always thrived in societies where knowledge could be severely ‘restricted ‘ ( Bible’s only in Latin or ancient Greek/Hebrew. European Christianity discovered a generation ago or more that it was no longer possible to erect a barrier capable of holding back the information flood . Just look at the response of the RC Church in Ireland to it’s recent scandals as a case in point .

    ‘If an asteroid hits us tomorrow and puts us back in the middle ages I doubt secular humanism would have that strength of conviction to build us back up again.’

    Neither prayer nor humanism will stop an asteroid if it’s headed our way . I would’nt doubt the ability of secular humanists nor that of conviction Christians to build the world again . Life is very tenacious . Despite belief in a hereafter very few if any Christians are lining up to die . Despite non belief the same applies to humanists .

    ‘ but honestly i think at some stage the ‘laws of the state alone’ mantra will run it’s course and found to come up somewhere well short of Nirvana.’

    Here I can agree with you . The State is when all is said and done a human organisational construct . There were people before there were ever states and there will be people when States as we presently know them no longer exist or have ‘evolved ‘ into some new paradigm for humanity’s governance .

    ‘When things are going OK the ‘modern’ (European) psyche might work but excusing the pun, what is going to last in an evolutionary sense, is what survives in the most desperate of times’

    Yes we Irish know all about that 🙂 Times were desperate and it’s probably a fair assessment that our ‘faith’ / ‘religion’ helped us survive as a ‘distinct ‘ people/nation even though we ‘lost’ our language and much of our unique culture . But we were /are not alone in our historical experience – this has also been lived through by other peoples e.g the Jews and indeed Palestinians and others in recent times. Even the English took a hammering from the Normans for a few centuries.

    ‘But I don’t have a crystal ball’

    Neither do I :(.

    I’m only too well aware that we live in a world where Muslims riot by the hundreds of thousands over a cartoon, and where Catholics oppose condom use in African villages decimated by Aids, and where the ‘first lady ‘ of Northern Ireland believes that ‘homosexuality’ can be cured and where the Anglican Church is about to schism because of ‘gay ‘ bishops . It’s almost enough to make one despair of the species . But I don’t 🙂

  • Concerned Loyalist

    But it’s interesting to read that, a year after declaring that Protestant (Reformed) churches are not really churches “in the proper sense”……………………………………..

    If Paisley were to say that about the Church Of Rome, RCs would be falling over themselves to condemn him as a backward-thinking, bigoted moron. However, when the Pope remarks that my Church and religion are false, there’s sweet f.a. said about it…double standards anyone?

  • Garibaldy

    Paisley has said that sort of stuff for decades. And I do seem to recall a furore about Benedict saying that. I think the words he used were ecclesial communities as opposed to churches. Every denomination works on the basis that the others are wrong surely?