Friday, 17 September 2010

There's Something of the Night About Him

Yesterday the Queen praised the Catholic Church's "special contribution" to helping the poorest and most vulnerable around the world. I guess that’ll be the ban on contraception with the resultant proliferation of AIDS and poverty in the 3rd world, a location which, according to one of the Pope’s cronies, includes the UK. In Cardinal Kasper’s defence, I think he was referring specifically to Heathrow, in which case one must tend to agree with him – hideous place redolent of the old Athens airport.

The Pope said: "Today, the United Kingdom strives to be a modern and multicultural society. In this challenging enterprise, may it always maintain its respect for those traditional values and cultural expressions that more aggressive forms of secularism no longer value or even tolerate."

Secularism is the concept of state of being separate from religion – the opposite of theocracy. Secularism denies a special place for any one particular religion, allowing all to worship as they please and thus is a damned sight more tolerant than theocracy. I doubt for a minute any of us would wish for the bishops or mullahs to be ruling the country as theocratic states are typically those where repression and intolerance are greatest.

He could, however, have been having a sideways dig at Mrs Queen by obliquely referring to the Act of Settlement of 1701, whereby no Catholic can sit on the throne of the United Kingdom. However, as the monarch is also the head of the Church of England, it cannot in any way be called a secularist agenda – anti-catholic, yes. When all is said and done, the Vatican is the only absolute monarchy in Europe.

The Pope then went on a whirlwind tour of Edinburgh in his ice cream van (I’ll have a 99 with two small boys please, your Holiness).

Don’t know about you, but to me he appears to have ‘something of the night about him’. It must be down to his preoccupation with the supernatural and those dark circles round his eyes.


  1. CB, did you see the way his arms seem to "twitch" instead of waving, like he thinks he's throwing out lightening bolts or something; spooky.

    Oh and the Nazis were Atheists apparently, and Atheists are secular, therefore a secular society means someone's going to end up visiting the shower block again... impeccable logic!

    (and I thought he was suppose to be an educated man?)

  2. Antonyms traditionally belong to the same category of thought but have opposite meanings, so the idea that 'theocracy' (a form of government) is the opposite of 'secular' (an adjective) seems unlikely. :)

    The opposite of 'secular' used to be 'sacred'. Today, the term is so complex I think it's gone beyond hope of having an opposite.

  3. Chris: Secular may well have that meaning, but secularism is very definitely the separation of religion from state and giving religion no special place in the formulation of public policy, which is what the Pope is specifically referring to here.