What dialogue?

The pope has his message of peace for the new year all written and typed up and translated and posted online. The pope is way ahead of the game! The pope can kick back and watch some football.

Well it won’t have been very difficult. It doesn’t break any new ground. Somebody could have put it together by cutting and pasting from previous messages of peace for the new year.

It’s not very rich in what you might call self-awareness or self-knowledge.

In addition to the varied forms of terrorism and international crime, peace is also endangered by those forms of fundamentalism and fanaticism which distort the true nature of religion, which is called to foster fellowship and reconciliation among people.

Oh? Religion is called to foster fellowship and reconciliation among people? Is it really? Does the Catholic church have a long history of that?

No, of course not. Quite the reverse…unless of course you take “fellowship and reconciliation among people” to mean “fellowship and reconciliation on our terms.” Fellowship and reconciliation provided you surrender and submit. Fellowship and reconciliation provided you join our club, and endless war and revenge if you don’t.

That’s become less popular over the last three or four centuries, so the church has gradually gotten into the habit of talking emollient fluff about fellowship and reconciliation. It doesn’t mean it though. It wants to be the boss of all of us.

In every person the desire for peace is an essential aspiration which coincides in a certain way with the desire for a full, happy and successful human life. In other words, the desire for peace corresponds to a fundamental moral principle,
namely, the duty and right to an integral social and communitarian development, which is part of God’s plan for mankind. Man is made for the peace which is God’s gift.

See what he does there?

He talks in two completely different and opposing veins, as if they were one and the same. He’s cheating.

He talks in secular terms, about what human beings want and need, and then he sticks god in it, when god has nothing to do with it. Then at the end he simply gives god credit for the thing we want and need and don’t have. What tf does he mean “peace is god’s gift” – what gift?! Where is it? I mean, there’s peace where I am, and I’m very fortunate that way, but there are millions of pockets all over the world where “god’s gift” either never arrived or got smashed up lately.

He does it throughout the “message” of course. It’s what he does; it’s what they do. But it’s cheating.

To become authentic peacemakers, it is fundamental to keep in mind our transcendent dimension and to enter into constant dialogue with God, the Father of mercy, whereby we implore the redemption achieved for us by his only-begotten Son. In this way mankind can overcome that progressive dimming and rejection of peace which is sin in all its forms: selfishness and violence, greed and the will to power and dominion, intolerance, hatred and unjust structures.

Dude – how am I supposed to “enter into constant dialogue” with someone who has never given me the slightest reason to think it is there? Why is the onus on me? Why are you telling me to talk to someone who doesn’t answer? Seriously. Why are you telling me to talk to someone who doesn’t answer? Why do you call it a dialogue? You know very well it’s not a dialogue, so why do you call it that?

Yes he does. Of course he knows. Does he ever record god talking? Does he ever quote any of god’s recent sayings? He quotes putative old sayings of god’s, but that doesn’t count as a dialogue. I can quote Shakespeare, but I don’t call that a dialogue with dear Will.

It’s all a cheat. It’s just habit that makes that non-obvious to some people.


  1. Gordon Willis says

    the duty and right to…

    But which is it? Maybe he’s thinking that my duty to persecute homosexuals is the same as my right to abuse them? No? You know, I can’t help thinking that there’s a lot of cynicism encapsulated in this one phrase: my right is a big emotional good thing, whereas my duty might be onerous and not so clearly good, especially if the moral principle involved is obscure. But make it my right, and I will feel deprived if I’m not allowed to fulfil my duty…or something like that. I don’t suppose he’s confused, the Church is too experienced for that.
    He doesn’t bother to make it clear that it is his religion, not just any old religion, which “fosters” fellowship and reconciliation: which (being interpreted) really means fellowship amongst believers and reconciliation with his god (“among people” is no lie in his terms, only in mine). Unfortunately, god isn’t very good at making himself clear. This is because of sin. Now, JC has redeemed from sin all those who put their faith in him, and it is very odd (but, alas, demonstrably the case) that all these faithful redeemed people still can’t agree with each other. So we are told that the divine cure for sin cannot actually work even for the faithful, and this is because of sin. No, no, it does work, of course, but we bugger choirboys because of sin, you see. So if the redeemed who have been saved from sin and hatred through faith can’t stop hating each other (and not only each other but everyone else) why do we listen to this nasty and silly man?

  2. Rodney Nelson says

    sin in all its forms: selfishness and violence, greed and the will to power and dominion, intolerance, hatred and unjust structures.

    Yes, that sounds like the Catholic Church, particularly the intolerance, hatred and unjust structures.

  3. Ysanne says

    Why are you telling me to talk to someone who doesn’t answer? Why do you call it a dialogue? You know very well it’s not a dialogue, so why do you call it that?

    Come on, this is pretend not-understanding. A good part of believing is re-interpreting one’s own thoughts, preconceptions and random events until one gets the feeling of them really being divine answers. Which is really not that much better than getting answers from little (or booming) voices in one’s head.

  4. says

    Part of the problem here is that theists are masters of equivocation; to the point that they’re usually not even aware that they’re doing it. The whole “secular vs. godly” thing is second nature to them. They’ll happily switch between human achievements and divine “gifts” and never notice that they’ve done so. It’s infuriating sometimes, because it completely undermines any attempt at communication.

    You’re quite right in pointing out that the pope is talking shit. The problem is that he, despite being reasonably intelligent, simply doesn’t realize it. He thinks he’s being profound.

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