Southern Religion

Holy Smoke! Richard Dawkins flamed the pope


Byzantine ship using Greek fire in the late 11th century: from the Madrid Skylitzes manuscript.

Asked at WaPo’s On Faith if Pope Benedict XVI’s outreach to Anglicans was “poaching” disaffected Anglicans, atheist Richard Dawkins burst into flame.

Among other things, he wrote:

Poaching? Of course it is poaching. What else could you call it? Maybe it will succeed. If estimates are right that 1,000 Anglican clergymen will take the bait (no women, of course: they will swiftly be shown the door), what could be their motive? For some it will be a deep-seated misogyny (although they’ll re-label it with a mendacious euphemism of some kind, which they’ll call ‘an important point of theological principle’). They just can’t stomach the idea of women priests. One wonders how their wives can stomach a husband whose contempt for women is so visceral that he considers them incapable even of the humble and unexacting duties of a priest.

For some, the motive will be homophobic bigotry, and a consequent dislike of the efforts of decent church leaders such as the Archbishop of Canterbury to accept those whose sexual orientation happens to deviate from majority taste. Never mind that they will be joining an institution where buggering altar boys pervades the culture.

Yes, and he was just getting his flamethrower adjusted.

Holy Smoke billowed back from the London Telegraph, blazing:

Richard Dawkins’s latest attack on the Catholic Church is worthy of a dribbling loony on the top of a bus. He calls the Church “the greatest force for evil in the world”, “an institution where buggering altar boys pervades the culture” and describes it “dragging its skirts in the dirt and touting for business like a common pimp”. (Pimps in skirts – that’s a new one.) And all in The Washington Post.

The peg for this piece? The Pope’s offer to make special arrangements for Anglicans converting to Rome, a matter I would have thought was none of Prof Dawkins’s business. But I’m not going to bother to argue with any of his points, because these are the ravings of a man who appears to have lost all sense of proportion. Seriously: is there something wrong with him?

Atheist PZ Myers responded with blistering deconstruction, along the way answering Holy Smoke author Damien Thompson’s question:

Why, no, Damian! What’s wrong with you?

The Church Mouse was altogether unflapped, suggesting that Dawkins has discerned a “fine line between the liberal wing of the Catholic Church and the conservative wing of the Anglican Church” and argued that Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams “really should announce a new mechanism for accepting liberal Catholics into the Anglican Church.”

Among those muttering from the pews is New Zealand Conservative, who sees in Dawkins’ response evidence that “forces of darkness are gathering” against the pope’s outreach.


October 28, 2009 - Posted by | Catholic, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion | , ,

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