Leave that expertise up to the catholic church! The latest failure by the church hasn’t even happened yet, but if there is one thing the catholic church excels at, it’s preparing the ground with a policy that is doomed from the outset. From The Independent comes this little gem:
The Vatican is planning a new initiative to reach out to atheists and agnostics in an attempt to improve the church’s relationship with non-believers. Pope Benedict XVI has ordered officials to create a new foundation where atheists will be encouraged to meet and debate with some of the Catholic Church’s top theologians.
The Vatican hopes to stage a series of debates in Paris next year. But militant non-believers hoping for a chance to set senior church figures straight about the existence of God are set to be disappointed: the church has warned that atheists with high public profiles such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens will not be invited.
What matters most to the church is the relationship with those who have every reason to doubt that institution and its beliefs, not what’s true. And we can’t have the biggest proponents of what’s true mucking up the slow sell job the Vatican wishes to pursue with those who are bit wishy-washy and intellectually muddled over matters of faith. After all, if one cares about promoting what is true, and is passionate about caring for what is true, and one identifies the catholic doctrine as antithetical to both, then one by catholic definition must be a militant atheist! How typical from the bigots and misogynists who run the church.
And as for the debates, it’s not like any one from the Vatican side is actually open to altering their beliefs. Heaven forbid; these catholics already know the truth, so why bother to question the truth claims they promote?
The “Courtyard of the Gentiles”, as the foundation is known, is being set up by the Pontifical Council for Culture, the influential Vatican department that is charged with fostering better relations with non-Catholics.
Culture? Selling a particular brand of religion with a dubious track record on moral behaviour is seen as a matter of culture by the Vatican? How disingenuous is that?
Want better relations? How about being honest? How about being responsible? How about being open to change? Want to improve relations through a catholic culture? How about starting with a shared concern about the value of respecting what’s true? But, of course, we can’t have that from the catholic church. It’s too… too… reasonable – and, of course, militant. Good relations can’t be built on dialogue that is open, honest, and respectful for what is true; it must be built on accepting exactly one kind of religious faith – catholic – and obedience to those who define it – the Holy See.
So much for improving relationships. This is just another guaranteed failure from the boys who like to wear dresses and don funny hats.