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April 22, 2005

The Reasonableness of Pope Benedict XVI

Posted by Peter Mullen

Much adverse comment has been made about the conservatism of the new Pope. Rev'd Dr Peter Mullen - the Anglican Rector of St Michael's, Cornhill & Chaplain to the Stock Exchange - examines some of Pope Benedict XVI's past pronouncements - and finds them eminently reasonable.

My word I'm tired! It's been such a busy week. I felt obliged to send off a "with deepest sympathy" card to all at The Guardian when Cardinal Ratzinger's election was announced. And then I thought, "Well, if I'm sending a card to the editor of The Guardian, I can't in all fairness leave out The Independent – or of course the BBC, or Polly Toynbee, Ferdinand Mount, A.N. Wilson… And so it went on.

The "liberals" and "progressives" – good grief, those are two good words hijacked into a lying usage! – are foaming in splenetic horror. They hate everything Benedict XVI so unashamedly stands for. But how could they? These leftists, atheists and progressives claim above all things to be rational. And it's not as if the new Pope has said anything unreasonable. Let us examine his so-called unreasonable statements:

Communist regimes which came to power in the name of liberation are one of the disgraces of our times.

Stalin? Mao? And any number of paltry Marxist dictators who have slaughtered their own people and impoverished their own countries. To say that these are only one of the disgraces is to put it mildly.

Rock music is a vehicle of anti-religion.

With so called "lyrics" that are all about rape and murder, and a performing ambience which leads to mob violence and mass drug addiction, rock music is a great curse of the age. I have never been able fathom why serious newspapers give it yards of coverage. The rock music "industry" is also one of the worst examples of capitalist exploitation. How can socialists so delight in its manifestations?

Secularism may destroy humanism.

It has destroyed humanism already and where it is practised secularism threatens to destroy humanity as well. It is secularism which relentlessly preaches moral and cultural relativism and so effectively abolishes the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil. Where there are no basic truths, then everything is permissible – including those things formerly regarded as perversions - as merely alternative lifestyles.

Cloning is more dangerous than weapons of mass destruction.

Undoubtedly. For this satanic innovation threatens to mutate and modify human beings so completely that what we used to describe as a "person" might soon exist in an entirely altered physical and psychological form. God made man in his own image. Now man intends to make man according to mere whim and his own debased devices. A corrupt and overbearing version of scientific progress decrees that because something can be done, then it ought to be done.

Abortion and euthanasia are manifest grave sins.

Abortion reform laws were introduced to remove the scourge of back street abortions. What we have now is abortion on demand, abortion used as a means of contraception. 190,000 foetuses are destroyed every year in Britain alone. This is pig morality. There is something profoundly disordered about a society and a legislature that wrings its hands over the extermination of vermin through foxhunting but which doesn't give the massacre of the innocents a second thought. Euthanasia will prove to be a licence to murder people whose existence is no longer found to be convenient. Remember in the last century it was not just Hitler but the progressives, socialists and atheists – Russell, Wells, Shaw, the Webbs and others – who were so keen on eugenics.

Multiculturalism is the sight of a people fleeing from what is their own.

The rejection of multiculturalism does not mean that we are to neglect or offend the foreigner, the immigrant or the stranger within our gates. It does mean that we should resist believing the impossible. A culture is a set of ideas, beliefs and practices created over centuries and often formed out of struggle and civil war until it becomes a tried and tested way of living for a particular group of people. To throw this good system away in favour of a contrived and invented mish-mash is an act of corporate suicide and likely to lead to greater strife and suffering than that it was originally intended to alleviate.

The best defence against AIDS is faithfulness within marriage or else celibacy.

How could any reasonable person imagine that the whole Christian ethical tradition could be encapsulated into the single slogan "Wear a condom"?

The church teaches the supremacy of the moral law, commandments, and deontological ethics. But even on the utilitarian level – which is the only ethics the progressives will consider – fidelity in marriage and abstinence outside it actually prevent the undesirable consequences which permissiveness creates. Without promiscuity there is no sexually transmitted disease, there are fewer failed marriages and fewer broken homes – and therefore a lessening of the financial burden on the whole community. You would think all socially aware people would support the Pope's reaffirmation of Christian sexual ethics.

So let us give thanks for Pope Benedict XVI, scholar, religious leader and, speaking very practically, a better humanitarian than the "progressives" could ever be.

Rev'd Dr Peter Mullen is Rector of St Michael's, Cornhill & Chaplain to the Stock Exchange.


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Is this an attempt to get into Pseuds' corner?

Like all religious conservatives, Dr Mullen appears unable to tell whether rational argument is a gift of God or a deceit of the Adversary.

I will pray for him to calm down.

Posted by: Innocent Abroad at April 22, 2005 10:54 AM
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I'm baffled. Could 'Innocent Abroad' please explain what the first two sentences mean?

As for 'calm down', he/she seems to be at much the higher temperaure.

Posted by: Gibbs Free Energy at April 23, 2005 05:11 PM
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The former Cardinal Ratzinger may sound very reasonable on matters relating to the spiritual sphere, but a German friend tells me he has a very bad track record of interfering in the civil sphere in matters relating to women, for example, in regard to the law on rape within marriage.

Note to the Revd. Mullen only - details available on request.

Posted by: Robert H. Olley at April 27, 2005 06:27 PM
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