As the Pope descends to the level of sub-standard internet forum debate in his first speech as honoured guest in the UK, the responses to the visit come in.
The British Humanist Association calls the Pope’s speech “surreal”:
Addressing the Queen and other guests at the Palace of Holyrood House, the Pontiff praised Britain’s fight against Hitler’s “atheist extremism”.
“Even in our own lifetimes we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live.
“As we reflect on the sobering lessons of atheist extremism of the 20th century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus a reductive vision of a person and his destiny.”
The British Humanist Association (BHA) expressed its disappointment at the remarks.
“The notion that it was the atheism of Nazis that led to their extremist and hateful views or that it somehow fuels intolerance in Britain today is a terrible libel against those who do not believe in God.
“The notion that it is non-religious people in the UK today who want to force their views on others, coming from a man whose organisation exerts itself internationally to impose its narrow and exclusive form of morality and undermine the human rights of women, children, gay people and many others, is surreal.”
The Pope’s speech follows controversial comments by one of his top aides in an interview with German magazine Focus.
Sky News on Pope atheist slur speech
Stephen Fry is hated by the Daily Mail (but by no one else, fortunately).
Sometimes, I must confess, I can get a little hurt when that shrieky weaselly little bourgeois tabloid is mean to me, which I believe is very often. I don’t read it of course: like anyone of education or sense or moral decency I wouldn’t have such a purulent creepy production in the house. Nonetheless, by the osmosis of twitter and well-intentioned cabbies I sometimes get to hear of some spiteful snide remark or other and naturally I can be upset.
Today’s headline ["AN UNHOLY WELCOME TO BRITAIN"] and the leader inside however actually made me genuinely guffaw and wriggle with delight. It is the final proof, if proof were needed, that the Daily Mail is not just actually wicked (intentionally, knowingly lying) but actually now quite, quite mad. In the name (it must suppose) of morality, spirituality, goodness, kindness, sweetness and honesty it intentionally, knowingly twists, distorts, misrepresents, smears and calumniates. Will their editor and subeditors go to heaven? Is god pleased with them? Have they done a good deed? Is this their advertisement for the religious way? To lie?
I can always be certain that I have done a good thing when out of all the descriptions they can choose, their leader writers select “quizmaster”. “What has this country come to,” they want to know, “when an egregious, self-satisfied quizmaster presumes to make moral pronouncements on a two thousand year old institution etc etc.”
As it happens I have spent many many more hours of my life as a writer and a journalist than as a “quizmaster”, yet, oddly enough, we don’t read the Mail coming up with: “What has this country come to when a journalist presumes to make moral pronouncements on a two thousand year old etc.?”
Perhaps the Mail leader writer would be kind enough to explain to the world what qualifications are needed to allow one to express an opinion, or write a letter to a newspaper? What profession should one belong to and can we have a list of those which in fact disbar us from expressing one’s views?
I was one of 50 signatories to a letter that called into question the official state nature of the papal visit. I didn’t write the letter, but am proud to stand behind it and with my fellow signatories. Otherwise my “hate campaign”, as they well know, begins with the words, “I’ve no objection to the Pope coming to visit Britain, he is welcome to do so…” it is, as I go on to say, none of my business. I go out of my way to make it clear that I fully respect the desire of the pious, the faithful and the devout to welcome their spiritual father, their supreme Pontiff.
My only objection is that this be a State Visit. It hasn’t happened before and the Vatican is in no real sense a nation state. Visit the place: it takes fifty minutes to walk round. You don’t need a passport or visa to enter. It is a curlicue of history that makes this “absolute monarchy” (to quote the Holy See’s own website) a “country”. Under no reasonable or worthwhile definition does the Vatican match up to the old-established and widely accepted Montevideo protocols on statehood. So by all means come, but please don’t ask the British taxpayer (a figure whom the Daily Mail is usually so zealous to protect) to help foot the bill.
Believe me, there is no hate there. None whatever. The Mail knows this perfectly well.
Abuse survivors network SNAP describes the Pope’s limited regrets about child sex abuse and paedophile priests as ”disingenuous”.
On his plane shortly before landing in Britain for a historic visit, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his “great sadness” over revelations of widespread abuse of children by Catholic priests, saying that “authorities in the church have not been vigilant enough” in combating the problem.
But the US-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said the Pope’s comments were “hurtful, not helpful”, and that any Vatican action on ridding the church of abusive priests or turning them over to law enforcement has been “virtually insignificant”.
“It’s disingenuous to say church officials have been slow and insufficiently vigilant in dealing with clergy sex crimes and cover-ups,” SNAP’s southwestern regional director Joelle Casteix said in a statement.
“On the contrary, they’ve been prompt and vigilant, but in concealing, not preventing, these horrors.”
The Catholic Church has been shaken by revelations that priests and Catholic teachers in Ireland, the United States and other countries had abused children in their care.
Casteix said papal claims of insufficient vigilance “imply that all’s well and that just a tad more attentiveness and promptness is needed. That’s patently false”.
And, this guy thinks you have thin skin if you object when someone tries to associate you with the Nazis.
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]Pope’s Nazi atheist speech fallout,