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Memo from British Foreign Office mocks Catholic Church

UK bureaucrats suggest Pope should launch condom line, open abortion clinic


 

An ill-advised memo by Britain’s Foreign Office about Pope Benedict XVI has left officials in the country red-faced and contrite. A document detailing a brainstorming session by a committee called the Government’s Papal Visit Team included suggestions that mocked the Church’s teachings. Among the proposals were to have the Pope open an abortion ward, preside over a gay marriage, and launch a range of “Benedict” condoms. Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy, who’s been playing a leading role in the planning of the visit, called the document “despicable” and said, “on behalf of the whole of the United Kingdom, we’d want to apologise to his Holiness the Pope.”

The Telegraph

BBC News


 
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Memo from British Foreign Office mocks Catholic Church

  1. lolocaust

  2. Most of the issues in this 'internal' document are legitimate, but the immaturity demonstrated in the brainstorming and the document's writing should call for further reprimands than the one senior civil servant being transferred. I wonder if the committee members self-selected themselves for this task, or if this is a small representative sampling of the attitudes in government.

    The disdain for the Catholic Church obviously continues to run very deep in Britain.

    • "The disdain for the Catholic Church obviously continues to run very deep in Britain."

      For very good reasons since the 16th century.

      • Somehow Germans get more respect despite their shenanigans since the mid 20th century.

      • I made my comment to be respectful Rob. I am not Catholic, nor do I begrudge people who have serious issue with the sex abuse scandals, or other long-standing bias against the church. I just think these bureaucrats, whether the documents were internal or not, could have been more professional.

  3. Not only should the Pope hand out condoms he should have his photo on the packaging wearing one. It would do more for preventing abortions than all his sermons.

    • I am all for more people using birth control, but this commonly expressed argument misses the real mandate of the church. The Catholic Church is not a utilitarian institution that make moral tradeoffs between different outcomes (we already do that ourselves without instruction from the church). If you come at it from the perspective that we have a temporary period of time on earth and a potential eternity in heaven or hell, focusing on earthly outcomes doesn't make a lot of sense. If there were a revision of church doctrine it would be rooted in theological reasoning, not utilitarian logic.

  4. I wonder what would have happened if it were Muslim leaders subjected to this ridicule.

    Among the proposals would be to have a Muslim cleric open an abortion ward, preside over a gay marriage, launch a niqab sack race and judge a pre-teen wife beauty contest.

    Who knows? Maybe they're be fewer riots, deaths, and mayhem than the Danish cartoon affair. We'd all have a good laugh.

    • Which is why we shouldn't be so quick to condemn Muslims s_c_f. Their fundamentalists have caused tradegies, but so have the Catholic fundamentalists.

  5. It may be crasse and in bad taste however my mother always told me "if the shoe fits wear it".

    • You are an example of the lack of civility in today's society.

      • I can and do respect people that I disagree with but I do not respect people who do not take responsibilty for their actions and the results thereof.

    • On the other hand, if the shoe fits a caricature instead, apologize.

  6. The comments are concerning because they are indicative of mentalities who would mock Jews, gays, Muslims and many more.

    Old Britain is a dying society, unable to reproduce to meet replacement requirements, and is in the process of being replaced.

    • If you think that is the case, then I think you fail to realize the true power of Britain. Britain remains the most powerful country on earth. Britain is tremendously important not because a hidden fleet of ships of the line captained by Queen Victoria herself are currently hiding off the coast of Greenland, but because of the incredible power of the British ideas that still shape the very world itself.

      Between the Scottish enlightenment, Smith, Hobbes and Locke, you probably have the most important theorists of the past 500 years. Modern democracy, free markets and self-organizing institutions are fundamentally British ideas. That today they are promoted more by Americans than Brits is but a testament to the incredible power of Britain. It is an accelerating trend as well. Over a quarter of all books in the world are exported by either the US or the UK (the UK is second largest exporter). English is becoming the language of business and the language of ideas – and whatever ideas one looks at, you can bet many of them are English.

      Britannia may not rule the waves, but it surely rules the minds of all the knaves.

      • That's not entirely true.

        Hobbes and Locke, and indeed all the of the empiricists based their ideas on the theory of knowledge put forward by Aquinas and Aristotle: Italian and Greek. Social contract theory was put into practical terms by Rousseau, a Frenchman. Capitalism, while codified by Smith, was already in wide practice well before him across both the Western and the Eastern world. Many other ideas (e.g. socialism, relativism, and communism) which now hold sway across the globe were developed by Germans Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Engels (and again, have their roots in Rousseau)

        Furthemore, the British understanding of law and order which made their Empire possible was derived from the Romans.

        And UJ is exactly right about the population replacement problem that Britain is facing. A culture can only survive if it either reproduces its own or assimilates others. Britain is doing neither successfully in recent years.

        The only way in which Britain is still dominant is language. Language is but a means to communicate ideas – what matters is the ideas, not the sounds used to communicate them. Both the ideas themselves and the culture that fostered them are of mixed origin and are currently in decline.

  7. Ridicule is fine, but it's the British Foreign Office and a foreign head of state, for crying out loud.

    After the history of bloodshed and bigotry towards Catholics in the UK, this sort of humour is a bit disturbing.
    Nonetheless, you won't find Catholics making threats of violence or launching hate crime persecutions about it.

    • Oh, get over it. You're starting to sound like the Muslims. What next, if we draw a cartoon of Jesus are you going to threaten our lives?

      Any religion that cannot endure some light humor directed at it does not deserve to be called legitimate.

  8. Catholicism is in the western world is probably the only religion where most of it's followers don't even believe it's teachings ..like if you talk to young Catholics they have much the same political beliefs as the rest of society

  9. This certainly is a sign of rampant immaturity in the British Civil Service. Adam Giambrone would be right at home there. I wonder if the twit who wrote this would put a video on youtube too?

  10. Not that I am for abortion but abortion but why should the Pope be shocked when we talk about abortion, gays and condoms– are these worse than priests who havve sex with children?

    • Does it say, anywhere in this story, that the Pope was shocked either by "talk" of abortion, gays, and condoms, or even by crass jokes about him from the British Foreign Office?

  11. From the article: "RICHARD DAWKINS, the atheist campaigner, is planning a legal ambush to have the Pope arrested during his state visit to Britain “for crimes against humanity”."

    How to make friends and influence people, atheist style. I'm all for making sure everyone is treated equally under the law, but we don't prosecute actual child molesters for "crimes against humanity" let alone people who might possibly have not acted aggressively enough to stop a child molester. So, one has to wonder why Dawkins and Hitches would want the Pope treated differently. Seems like "equality under the law" goes out the window for these two when it comes to the Pontiff. Gee, I wonder why.

    • we don't prosecute actual child molesters for "crimes against humanity"

      We might if, as has been suggested, the child molester contributed to the abuse of hundreds of children by making a concerted effort to systematically protect other child molesters. But then, I don't think anyone is suggesting that the Pope himself is a child molester, just complicit in a cover up.

      but we don't prosecute actual child molesters for "crimes against humanity" let alone people who might possibly have not acted aggressively enough to stop a child molester.

      To be fair, there is a huge difference between 'not act[ing] aggressively enough', and actively contributing to a cover up. The former implies a delay, the latter may be conspiracy and / or criminal facilitation.

      From the article:

      The Pope was embroiled in new controversy this weekend over a letter he signed arguing that the “good of the universal church” should be considered against the defrocking of an American priest who committed sex offences against two boys. It was dated 1985, when he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases.

      Interesting reading, Mr. Dawkins response: http://richarddawkins.net/articles/5415

      Also, there was some talk, which likely goes too far, on Bill Maher's show recently (I think podcast 180 if you go to iTunes) about bringing RICO charges against the Catholic Church. However, it isn't unreasonable to suggest charging those that are complicit in aiding in the cover up of a known child abuser; not just the child abusers themselves.

      • Yes, if there is evidence that someone aided and abetted a crime then they should be charged, and all such cases should be treated the same – which is why you don't go for "crimes against humanity" unless you really have an axe to grind. Which, of course, these characters do. What's disappointing is how quickly they abandon justice when it suits their purpose. I expect atheists to be irrational, but in my experience they're not usually this patently dishonest.

        • "I expect atheists to be somewhat irrational about certain things , but in my experience they're not usually patently dishonest like this"
          You can't be serious. 'How to be an atheist' isn't a one-shoe-fits-all mold. I would also think there are many ways to be a right-wing idealogue like yourself, not just one, and that you, too, may step beyond the borders of what most right-wingers would consider rote.

  12. we don't prosecute actual child molesters for "crimes against humanity"

    We might if, as has been suggested, the child molester contributed to the abuse of hundreds of children by making a concerted effort to systematically protect other child molesters. But then, I don't think anyone is suggesting that the Pope himself is a child molester, just complicit in a cover up.

    From the article:

    The Pope was embroiled in new controversy this weekend over a letter he signed arguing that the “good of the universal church” should be considered against the defrocking of an American priest who committed sex offences against two boys. It was dated 1985, when he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases.

    Interesting reading, Mr. Dawkins response:
    http://richarddawkins.net/articles/5415

    Also, there was some talk, which likely goes too far, on Bill Maher's show recently (I think podcast 180 if you go to iTunes) about bringing RICO charges against the Catholic Church. However, it isn't unreasonable to suggest charging those that are complicit in aiding in the cover up of a known child abuser; not just the child abusers themselves.

  13. Personally, I'm less interested in labels than ideas and I find worth in what Dawkins and Hitchens, two incredibly rational militants in their own right, have to say. If your quibble is in the words "crimes against humanity", that's easily traversed. What's more important are the facts, which include that the Pontiff knew very well what was occurring and did nothing to stop it, number one. Number two, he appears to put the image of the Church, an immaterial thing, above the lives of children, material. You can argue whether the continued, widespread rape of Catholic children was approved of or disapproved of by the Pope, but I think he would be a far nobler man if he had made any effort at all to reduce if not eliminate all perpetrators within his flock.

    • Something we can agree on.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/10/pope-

      A letter written in 1985, when the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was the head of the Vatican's doctrinal unit, resists a request for the defrocking of an American priest with a record of molesting children, for the "good of the universal Church".

      The letter, published by Associated Press, also notes the "detriment that granting the dispensation can provoke within the community of Christ's faithful, particularly considering the young age". The priest, Father Stephen Kiesle, was 38 at the time.

      This part may actually make it worse:

      In an editorial published yesterday on the website of Vatican radio, Lombardi said the pope had become the victim of "unfounded insinuations and criticisms", and recalled the offer made by Benedict to meet abuse victims in a letter to Irish Catholics last month.

      The experience the church has gained in battling abuse in its ranks "could be useful to other institutions and society as a whole," he added. "It seems that the media has not considered this aspect sufficiently."

      • Of course I agree! I'm not a pedophile-sympathizing monster; it's just that my opinions aren't influenced by what is status quo for liberals or conservatives.

        Speaking of status quo, maintaining things as they were within the Church is really what Ratzinger is most guilty of. He has simply upheld what has existed in the Catholic Church since inception, has made no efforts to address the issue prior to this scandal, and even now has not confronted it directly. What I've seen are journalists extrapolating vague statements from the pulpit. The fact that he won't even speak of it in itself speaks volumes. Nothing will change within the Church unless pressure is put on it from those that supply the Vatican with its innumerable riches. This is, after all, an incredibly wealthy institution we're talking about.

  14. You make some really good points here RunningGag. World-wide, one can't even begin to guess how many children were sexually abused by various Catholic church officials.

    I just googled to try to grasp the extent of the issue with some credible studies/stats. Not a whole lot out there. Perhaps someone, other than the church, should commission a study on the extent of this issue once and for all? Along with serious recommendations on how to change the system in order to protect the children.

  15. I feel sorry about the said issue because we are not authorize to have some allegations without proven proof.This malicious story is just based on some Pope critics.

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