Saturday, May 10, 2008

Cardinal spouts nonsense on Radio 4’s Today programme

from The Freethinker by

REASON alone is “dangerous” to society; it has to be tempered with faith if we are to avoid repeating horrors committed by the likes of Hitler and Stalin.

So said Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales, when interviewed this morning on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, following a lecture he gave yesterday.

He lamented the fact that “the Christian voice” was increasingly being stifled in the UK, and made the astonishing claim that people in Britain want Church leaders to speak out on key policy issues.

The Cardinal sounded less than pleased when interviewer John Humphrys put it to him that that religious leaders, in the view of people like Professor Richard Dawkins – interviewed earlier on the programme – “talk rubbish”, and should, therefore, not be permitted to interfere in government matters.

The Cardinal’s then went on dish out some garbage about atheists “constructing God” simply in order to knock him down, and to repeat the claim that Britain was a “Christian country, with 70 percent of the population professing a belief in the Christian faith”.

He added:

Britain should not be allowed to become a God-free zone.

In his lecture, the Cardinal said:

There are social currents today that want to isolate religion from other forms of knowledge and experience in order to marginalise it.

One of the things which I challenge is the desire to separate Christianity from rational inquiry. Many of our ‘new atheists’ seem unable to cope with the notion of an intelligent, reflective Christian faith. But the Catholic Christian tradition is characterised by a close relationship between reasoned understanding and religious faith. Faith for us is the flowering of reason, not its betrayal.

Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, lost no time in launching an excoriating attack on Cormac-O’Connor in this morning’s Guardian.

Murphy-O’Connor … speaks with forked tongue when he tries to portray the Catholic Church as some persecuted institution that means harm to no one. He says the Catholic Church is caricatured as ‘some heartless, insular institution that wants to deny people their freedom’.

Cardinal - this is not a caricature. It is the truth. Your own actions and pronouncements confirm it. You have tried to deny human rights to homosexuals, you have tried to rob women of the right to choose contraception and abortion and thereby take control of their lives, you have tried (and continue to try) to interfere with scientific research that may lead to the alleviation of enormous suffering.

You have attempted to manipulate the political process by pressurising Catholic MPs. On a personal level you - and your Church - try to control every aspect of your followers’ lives, from telling them what to think, what to eat and when to eat it, to telling them who they can sleep with and even what they can and cannot do when they get between the sheets …

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