Archive for the ‘Cahtolic Church’ Category

Whenever I hear Christians bashing ‘secularism’ I wonder what do they mean and have they really considered what secularism is before joining the bandwagon. I wonder if secularism (as a concept) has been hijacked (as humanism has been) by extreme ideologies which skew its meaning to either get popularity or to find a hobby horse. In this process the concept is emptied of it’s wider meaning and devalued. For example modern humanism traces it’s birth within the Christian context – and I am bemused how today is used with such impunity to claim exclusion of faith.

Last week I heard the Pope bash again secularism as one of the ills of our society. While I agree that the Catholic Church might have an axe to grind with secularism – as the arrival of secularism announced the demise of political power for the Catholic Church – I don’t understand why this has to be a threat to Christians and their faith. The Protestant church, to my knowledge (and I am not a church historian), has been an advocate of secularism (well with some exceptions) since the Reformation. Secularism for me in simple terms means separating the political from religious and in practical terms making a safe space for all where religion does not dictate to society what to do but at the same time it is not excluded from society – an alternative to theocracy. Secularism per-se does not, and cannot, eliminate faith out of the public sphere – otherwise it looses it’s core principle – neutrality. Secularism is not atheism.

Simon Barrow with other members of Ekklesia have done recently a good amount of work to try and reclaim secularism as a concept.

Evan Harris published at the weekend a Secularist Manifesto in the Guardian which I find to fit with what I think secularism is. There is nothing in this manifesto that I could not say amen to and I don’t think many Christians would object to the ethos of this manifesto (some Christians though might find some aspects harder to accept). Here are the main points:

“A manifesto for secularist change would look like this:

1. Protect free religious expression that does not directly incite violence or crimes against others or publicly and directly cause someone distress or alarm.

2. End discrimination against nonreligious belief systems or organisations.

3. End unjustified religious discrimination


I would be interested in feedback.


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Could someone tell this guy that he is taking the church the wrong way? His lack of judgement is going to have great repercussions in the future for the church. This new blunder reminds me of the Romanian Orthodox Church beatifying Stefan cel Mare (Stephen the Great) a Moldavian prince who lead a life that had nothing to do with sainthood.

Have a look at the article in The Times Vatican defends sainthood moves for controversial wartime pope and let us know what you think of this latest genial move by Ratzinger. Who can forget that 2009 started with another great decision the rehabilitation of Richard Williamson.

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Guardian published an article written by Hans Kung, the well known Catholic Theologian about the Pope’s recent initiative towards the Anglicans. Kung describe the current Pope as “stubborn and intransigent”. Some may argue that there is some bad blood between Kung and Ratzinger. However I think that Kung’s criticism needs to be taken seriously. Here are some of his remarks:

“The Fisher of Men is angling in waters of the extreme religious right.”

“Pope Benedict is set upon restoring the Roman imperium. He makes no concessions to the Anglican communion. On the contrary, he wants to preserve the medieval, centralistic Roman system for all ages – even if this makes impossible the reconciliation of the Christian churches in fundamental questions.”

“The old-fashioned call for a “return to Rome” raises its ugly head again, this time through the conversion particularly of the priests, if possible, en masse.”

“Just as we have seen over many centuries – in the east-west schism of the 11th century, in the 16th century Reformation and in the First Vatican Council of the 19th century – the Roman thirst for power divides Christianity and damages its own church. It is a tragedy.”

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This week the Vatican announced that they are going to open the way for the Anglicans to join the Catholic Church and making provision for those that join to keep some of their Anglican traditions. As one that worked for a number of years closely with Catholics, Anglicans, Scottish Episcopalian, etc.. this move from the Vatican saddens me so much. I have so much respect for my brothers and sisters from the Catholic Church, but personally I have lost respect for the current Pope. I think he has made so many blunders over the past few years (see for example: daming all other churches as non churches, ambivalent attitudes towards paedophile priests, embracing the Nazi bishop, making stupid comments about condoms and HIV, etc …), and as such discredited the office, caused a lot of damage to the Ecumenical movement and has damaged the reputation of the Catholic Church.

Taking this action without full consultation with an Ecumenical Partner the Vatican under the direction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (previously known as the Inquisition department) have showed not just disrespect but lack of judgement and un-Christian like behaviour. It is also surprising to hear that the decision was taken with disregard to the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, the body that does ‘ecumenical’ work on behalf of Rome. Out of this episode I think that Rowan has shown again character and in the long term I feel that this move rather than weakening the Anglican Church it will liberate Her. The Catholic Church in the long term has lost.

Now it seems that through his actions the Pope shows his character of an inquisitor, intolerant and one might be forgiven by suggesting that his Nazi past is catching up with him after all. His visit to the UK next year will be for sure overshadowed by what happened this week. The Pope in his wisdom (or better say foolishness) has undone much of the constructive ecumenical work that has taken place over the past decades. I stand to be disproved, but I feel this was one of the sadest moments for Christian witness and testimony in this generation.

I wonder if the Vatican’s pronouncement this week was made to overshadow the publication of a report in Ireland on child abuse and paedophilia in the last century under the Catholic Church instruction. A thought to ponder on! See the Article in the Times.

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