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Sep 30 2011

Pope Wants Christians to Gang Up on Secularists

Pope Benedict thinks Christians should put aside their differences to fight the real enemy: Us.

All faiths have to work together to stanch the tide of secularism sweeping the world, warned Pope Benedict XVI on Friday (Sept. 23) during the second day of a tour through his native Germany…

“The most urgent thing for ecumenicalism is, namely, that we can’t allow the push of secularism to force us, almost without noticing, to lose sight of the major similarities that make us Christians, and which remain a gift and a challenge for us,” the pope said.


Yeah, can’t have that. People might actually start thinking for themselves.

The Etzelsbach service was a reflection on the Virgin Mary. But most other speeches Friday kept the focus on the power of Christian cooperation and the need to fight secularism, topics to which Benedict often gravitates.

“The more the world moves away from God, the more clear it becomes that man, in the hubris of power, the void in his heart and in the longing for fulfillment and happiness, is losing ever more touch with his life,” he preached during the Erfurt’s service.

Well if there’s anything a pope ought to know about, it’s the hubris of power. Other than that, this is nothing but word salad.

38 comments

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  1. 1
    raven

    This is the same religion that claims Protestants are Fake Xians and are going to hell?

    Which is no big deal. A lot of Protestants think the Pope is the antichrist and have that right on their websites i.e. WELS.

    The real enemy of a lot of religion is just Reality. Good luck fighting that one, Bennie.

  2. 2
    The Lorax

    Oh yes, please, oh please do this! I can’t imagine a more entertaining idea than watching the leaders of every major religion step into the same room and discuss their religious ideologies!

    I’d be there, with a tub of popcorn. And 3D glasses.

    I think history is pretty clear on the subject; when people get together who have vastly different ideas, violence tends to happen. So, I say, let it. Let them try to form a club. Let them try to be political about it. In the end, it will end up being a farce, and they’ll squabble amongst themselves more than they will with the secularists.

  3. 3
    LightningRose

    Does this mean secularists get to invoke the Bush Doctrine?

  4. 4
    eric

    “The more the world moves away from God, the more clear it becomes that man, in the hubris of power, the void in his heart and in the longing for fulfillment and happiness, is losing ever more touch with his life,”

    And the more Kansas tornados that fling houses to Oz, the more witches will be lost.

    I am equally concerned about both issues.

  5. 5
    386sx

    “The more the world moves away from God, the more clear it becomes that man, in the hubris of power, the void in his heart and in the longing for fulfillment and happiness, is losing ever more touch with his life,” he preached during the Erfurt’s service.

    Apparently man has more power, which creates a void and longing for fulfillment and happiness, which causes them to lose touch. I guess. Lol.

  6. 6
    Marcus Ranum

    It would be ironic if the faithful finally found something they could agree, and cooperate, on.

  7. 7
    Area Man

    1. Secularists don’t recognize the danger that Islam poses to our liberties and security.

    2. “All faiths” must join together to oppose secularism.

    Pick one.

  8. 8
    Randomfactor

    No, I believe the Catholics gave up on sentencing the rest of Christianity to hell.

    But he’s calling for help from folks who openly state that he’s the Antichrist named in Revelation.

  9. 9
    Ellie

    It’s not secularists who endanger ecumenism, and it never was. It’s people like the guy who used to shout at the ecumenical group I belonged to as we exited the various churches, that we were all going to hell for worshiping together. There were never any secularists shouting at us, or waving picket signs.

  10. 10
    slc1

    Re Ellie @ #9

    Known as promoting syncretism.

  11. 11
    cag

    “The more the world moves away from God, the more clear it becomes that man, in the hubris of power, the void in his heart and in the longing for fulfillment and happiness, is losing ever more touch with his life,” he preached during the Erfurt’s service. Should read:

    The more the world moves away from God, the more clear it becomes that we are losing our ability to control and extort.

  12. 12
    tacitus

    Too late. Before the child sex abuse scandals hit, perhaps they could have played the sympathy card against all those secular forces out there who are supposedly seeking to destroy them, but now, most people would be happy to see the back of the Pope and his cohorts, even many Catholics.

  13. 13
    lofgren

    This is the same religion that claims Protestants are Fake Xians and are going to hell?

    Catholicism is one of those Christian sects that does not claim non-members will go to hell. In fact you don’t even have to believe in Jesus to go to Catholic heaven. Up until a few years ago you would have to go by way of purgatory, but they changed that.

    The last pope recognized dozens of non-Christian religions as being viable paths to heaven. But in fact he did not recognize all non-Catholic Christian religions because of the Catholic emphasis on works. Some Christian religions de-emphasize or even dismiss the value of good works, whereas the Catholic religion emphasizes being a good person over having the proper faith. At least it does now.

    Still, I suspect the thing that has most led Catholics and protestants to lose sight of the major similarities that make them Christian was all of those wars they fought. Killing a few thousand people over minor technicalities in an imaginary folktale is bound to make people downplay any similarities they might have with your organization.

  14. 14
    MikeMa

    Bennie’s church is flushing itself down the toilet. They are losing priests and parishioners at a good clip. They cannot extricate one foot from a pile of pedophilic priest crap without stepping into another.

    The real enemy for religious dogma is education. The more educated the person, the less likely they are to adhere to any fundamental religious doctrine. Christian populations began to get educated in large numbers a few hundred years ago. It took a while but the inevitable decline is here. Islam’s faithful are about 200 years behind but will catch up much more quickly. (Yeah internet.) It will be tough road, but religion will fail. Idiocy and dogma can not live in the face of reality forever.

  15. 15
    raven

    No, I believe the Catholics gave up on sentencing the rest of Christianity to hell.

    ??? I actually tried to look this up a while ago. All I found were convoluted statements that maybe, the Protestants don’t go to hell but probably they do or maybe they don’t.

    I couldn’t figure out what they were saying and decided, if it wasn’t clear, they didn’t know either. At any rate, I didn’t care that much.

    IIRC, Pope Bennie did call Protestants Fake Xians a while back though.

  16. 16
    raven

    Killing a few thousand people over minor technicalities in an imaginary folktale is bound to make people downplay any similarities they might have with your organization.

    It wasn’t a few thousand. It was a few million or tens of millions. The Reformation wars were pretty vicious.

  17. 17
    tfkreference

    Reminds me of:

    “It’s all Christianity, people. The little, stupid differences are nothing next to the big, stupid similarities.”
    Bart Simpson

  18. 18
    MikeMa

    Dara O’Briain does a piece on ‘mixed marriage’ between a protestant and a catholic. The youtube vid is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0thRUS1wUw

    Funny stuff.

  19. 19
    jamessweet

    we can’t allow the push of secularism to force us…to lose sight of the major similarities that make us Christians

    Wait, I thought problem with atheists is that we are always painting religious people with too broad of a brush, and not recognizing the important ways that religions differ. Now it turns out we are actually making them forget the ways in which they are similar, too?

    Interesting…

  20. 20
    lofgren

    All I found were convoluted statements that maybe, the Protestants don’t go to hell but probably they do or maybe they don’t.

    That’s because “protestant” is such a broad category. I believe the “policy,” if it can be called that given that it could change without notice, is that the pope has to recognize your faith specifically. It would be folly to recognize all protestant sects in one swoop, given how obviously twisted some of them are compared even to Catholicism, and given that some eschew labels entirely and resist documenting their interpretations of scripture to the point it’s not possible to get a consistent stance on issues that the Catholic church does consider to be actual heresies. For example, I don’t think the Catholic church recognizes any doctrine that embraces dispensationalism of any kind.

  21. 21
    Kyle

    I am pretty sure that Catholics believe that belief in Jesus is necessary to go to Heaven.

    From the Catechism on the Vatican website:

    161 Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation. 42 Since “without faith it is impossible to please (God) ” and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life ‘But he who endures to the end.’

    link: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__PX.HTM

    It is possible that I do not know exactly what they mean by ‘salvation’, but it seems pretty clear that they require your belief…

  22. 22
    lofgren

    I specifically recall an announcement by John Paul II that he met with several religious leaders of traditional Native American faiths during a tour of the U.S., and said that honest followers of those faiths would be welcome in heaven. I will try to dig up the source but a quick google search didn’t do it so I will have to dig deeper. I do know that special provisions are made in Catholic doctrine for Jews and Muslims, that information is easily found in the relevant wikipedia articles and with a cursory search, but obviously is a bit different since both of those faiths do recognize Jesus in some capacity, albeit not as savior, and also share many myths with the Catholic church.

    I was able to turn up a letter to the native people of Canada and the U.S. urging them to keep their faith alive, but also to meditate on the possibility that Jesus is calling to them through that faith. That strikes me as about as catholic as a religion can get without turning Unitarian.

  23. 23
    Wes

    Hey, Catholics, would you guys mind getting a Pope who isn’t an asshole, so the rest of us don’t have to listen to his bullshit?

  24. 24
    Raging Bee

    I can’t imagine a more entertaining idea than watching the leaders of every major religion step into the same room and discuss their religious ideologies!

    They won’t be discussing ideologies, they’ll be discussing tactics. This is an alliance for war, not a doctrinal argument.

  25. 25
    lofgren

    They won’t be discussing ideologies, they’ll be discussing tactics. This is an alliance for war, not a doctrinal argument.

    There must be a hell, because right now pigs are flying around having a snowball fight there, because I agree with Bee.

  26. 26
    eric

    Lofgren: I specifically recall an announcement by John Paul II that he met with several religious leaders of traditional Native American faiths during a tour of the U.S., and said that honest followers of those faiths would be welcome in heaven.

    Yes, but he didn’t say it ex Cathedra. So even if you’re right, Benedict can reverse it any time he wants. And he seems to be the sort of pope who would.

  27. 27
    lofgren

    So even if you’re right, Benedict can reverse it any time he wants.

    This is actually something I was curious about. Does he have to say that they are no longer welcome, or does he just have to think it quietly to himself? If he has to say it, can he just tell whoever’s handy, or does he have to actually tell the Native Americans? Magic is so confusing!

  28. 28
    timberwoof

    “I can’t imagine a more entertaining idea than watching the leaders of every major religion step into the same room and discuss their religious ideologies!”

    Thomas Merton, whose Christian friends said he was the deepest thinker they knew and whose Buddhist friend the Dalai Lama said he was the deepest Christian thinker he knew, facilitated a congress of religious leaders. Then he died under mysterious circumstances.

  29. 29
    eric

    Lofgren: This is actually something I was curious about. Does he have to say that they are no longer welcome, or does he just have to think it quietly to himself?

    The rejection wouldn’t be catholic magic, since JPII didn’t magic the native americans an invite in the first place. Its just one pope IMOing and the next deciding he was wrong.

    Now personally I think the whole papal infallibility thing is a bit silly, and I’m glad JPII didn’t try to use it to pass his own social ideas, even for stuff I might approve of. However, having said that, if I were God and I only spoke a couple sentences every century or two to the pope – only the really important stuff – you’d think that “you don’t have to believe in Jesus to go to heaven” might be the sort of statement that would qualify as important enough. IOW, if this really is new Catholic doctrine, then it’s probably the sort of thing that the Pope should say ex Cathedra.

  30. 30
    imthegenieicandoanything

    Fuck off, Pope B.!

  31. 31
    Artor

    @Wes #23
    Maybe they can elect the Dalai Lama to replace Pope Palpatine. He seems like a really nice guy, and alot more sincere than any other religious leaders. I hear he’s looking for permanent digs…

  32. 32
    386sx

    Maybe they can elect the Dalai Lama to replace Pope Palpatine. He seems like a really nice guy, and alot more sincere than any other religious leaders.

    It’s probably a PR thing. The Dalai Lama is supposed to be the nicest bestest sincerest just all around great guy. He probably has a good PR agent. They used to say the same thing about the Beatles’ Maharishi guru. Nowadays we know it was all public relations and really he’s a complete phony.

  33. 33
    marymallone

    MikeMa: In regards to the video you posted about mixed-marriages…this is hardly on topic, but when my dad (from a Roman Catholic family) got married to my mom (Ukrainian Orthodox – i.e., both Christian), he agreed to have the ceremony held in my mother’s church. He had to have the priest sign some sort of document (or so my father tells me, and he can’t remember the specifics) that granted permission for the marriage to take place – that is, he had the priest sign something that declared the marriage legitimate or valid, which was needed for the marriage to be accepted by God (from what I understand) even though it took place in the “wrong kind” of church. Sorry I can’t provide more details! As I’ve said, he can’t remember what sort of religious shenanigans the priest went through so my dad didn’t go to hell for adultery/a fake marriage or something. One of my more conservative, Catholic relatives will still gently tease my dad, claiming the marriage didn’t count because it wasn’t real.

  34. 34
    lofgren

    The rejection wouldn’t be catholic magic, since JPII didn’t magic the native americans an invite in the first place. Its just one pope IMOing and the next deciding he was wrong.

    I guess I was figuring that even while not speaking ex cathedra, the pope still spoke for the Catholic faith in the same way that the president speaks for America even when he’s not signing an official treaty. If one president says something non-binding like “We stand with [insert brutal dictator here] and consider him our friend” that’s not really undone when the new administration takes office until the new president unfriends him. Even though the old president’s statements are not legally binding, or even committal in any material way, those relationships are not instantly dissolved by the new guy getting elected.

    So I assumed that if the pope says that this group or that group can get into heaven, that’s kind of the party line on the subject until somebody says differently.

    It just seems kind of slimy for the supposed leader and front man of an organization to stamp almost every statement with a disclaimer that he can’t actually speak for the organization he leads and fronts, and that nothing he says should actually be taken to reflect the organization. That’s like the 700 club insisting that Pat Robertson’s call to assassinate Hugo Chavez saying that he wasn’t speaking in his role as their CEO and spokesman, even though he said it on their show and into their mics.

  35. 35
    grizzle

    “Well if there’s anything a pope ought to know about, it’s the hubris of power. Other than that, this is nothing but word salad.”

    -Effing Beautiful, well put!

  36. 36
    democommie

    “Re Ellie @ #9

    Known as promoting syncretism.”

    SLC1:

    I’m sorry, you left a syllable out. It should read “syncretinism”, yes?

    Mary Mallone:

    If your dad can’t find the document he got from the RCC, tell him to research his check register. I’m sure that the document was one that required a large “donation” as a processing fee. A friend of mine needed an anullment a while back (to marry his second wife, from whom he is now divorced), after a short interview and a completely bogus “affirmation” on his part he was granted the annulment–as soon as his check for $T’s cleared the bank. Fuck the RCC.

  37. 37
    DaveL

    The more the world moves away from God, the more clear it becomes that man, in the hubris of power, the void in his heart and in the longing for fulfillment and happiness, is losing ever more touch with his life

    The Pope’s problem with secularists is not that they turn away from religion, and then feel this void and unhappiness in their lives. The problem is that they turn away from religion and then don’t feel it – but instead find meaning, fulfilment, and happiness without faith.

  38. 38
    keithharwood

    You’ve all missed the point. “Secular” is the code word meaning “Civil law applies to clerics”. The goal is to return to the days when clerics were governed only by canon law. If the Pope can offer the other denominations some small say in what constitutes canon law, you can bet they’ll be in like a shot. It gets rid of the Catholic Church’s child abuse problems, the megachurches’ tax problems, a host of zoning and compliance problems; in short, it’s a win-win for everyone. (Well, except for everyone who isn’t a cleric, but so long as they pay their tithes, who cares about them. If they want to be ruled by the law of the land, it’s their own look-out.)

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