Monday, April 04, 2005

Steyn on the Pope

Mark Steyn gets the secular media's misunderstanding of the Pope:
the Guardian thought Karol Wojtyla was "a doctrinaire, authoritarian pontiff". That "doctrinaire" at least suggests the inflexible authoritarian derived his inflexibility from some ancient operating manual - he was dogmatic about his dogma - unlike the New York Times and the Washington Post, which came close to implying that John Paul II had taken against abortion and gay marriage off the top of his head, principally to irk "liberal Catholics". The assumption is always that there's some middle ground that a less "doctrinaire" pope might have staked out: he might have supported abortion in the first trimester, say, or reciprocal partner benefits for gays in committed relationships.


Anonymous said...

Look, there's a few things that people need to realize.

I don't have any deep thoughts on the Pope. I'm not a Catholic, and so the Pope is not exactly important to what's going on in my life.

But Mr. Steyn, and Mr. Last by proxy, as far as the 'secular' media may have misunderstood the Pope, misunderstand progressives.

Steyn says, "The root of the Pope's thinking - that there are eternal truths no one can change even if one wanted to - is completely incomprehensible to the progressivist mindset."

I'll tell you something that every progressive believes in, and that often appears alien to fundamentalist Christians. That thing is science. Simple science.

This isn't a radical agenda. It's just saying, what's actually going on in the world, and how does our interaction make a difference?

I'm not one to claim that science can replace morality. It can't. But when we come to belief through rational means, when the position is well supported and established, then we shouldn't subvert that belief to inconsistent ideologies without considering what is lost and what is gained.

It's not moral relativism to be a participant in moral decisions. Every single person does this every single day.

In any case, some specific complaints about this article from Mr. Steyn:

"the Guardian, for example, has already been touting the Nigerian Francis Arinze as "candidate for first black pope". This would be news to Pope St Victor, an African and pontiff from 189 to 199. Among his legacies: the celebration of Easter on a Sunday.

That's not what the Guardian had in mind, of course: it meant 'the first black pope since the death of Elvis'"

Being African does not make one black. Just a simple observation. Egyptians, Lybians, Tunisians and Morrocans are Africans and yet not black. As are some South Africans (and not just those of European descent, and, I think, some people from Madagascar. So, the Guardian is probably quite right in its assessment of the Nigerian Cardinal being the first black pope.

"Had the Pope signed on to condom distribution in Africa, he would have done nothing to reduce the spread of Aids, but he would have done a lot to advance the further artificial separation of sex, in Africa and beyond."

This is what I mean about science. It is a fact that condoms help stop the spread of aids, but the meaning of an artificial separation of sex is not clear.

"You don't have to be a Catholic or a "homophobe" to think that the spread of Aids is telling us something basic - that nature is not sympathetic to sexual promiscuity. If it weren't Aids, it would be something else, as it has been for most of human history."

Nature is quite sympathetic to sexual promiscuity. It's how we ended up with 6 billion people on this planet. Indeed, even Steyn notes that it has been this way "for most of human history."

"If his beloved Europe survives in any form, it will one day acknowledge that."

Where's Europe going?

If you take a look around at your world, you'll see that it is not in an inevitable decline. We are not on the doorstep of the apocalypse. We are not on the edge of some dystopia.

The world survives. Humanity survives. It's what we do. We'll survive AIDs. We'll survive whatever comes after AIDS. And as useful as devoutly held beliefs are, they don't always help us to survive.

Long post. Bit of a ramble. Sorry. I hope you understand it.

Jay D. Homnick said...

We understand it all right. It's a post by a guy who misses that the primary contribution of this Pope in his extensive, profound, thoughtful and nuanced writings about philosophy and morality is the fact that science is given its due - its due as "finder of fact", not "finder of law".

And that's coming from a nice Jewish boy who could give you plenty of negative information about this Pope, whose legacy is quite complex.

Anonymous said...

I loved your post and your right. The biggest criticism for the Pope was that he stood up for what he believed in.

TO Reece:
The Pope and many Christians have chosen to be a moral voice at the cost of offending those who do not believe. That is the way it has to be because a Church that compromises on the teachings of its doctrine for the next popular thing, doesn’t serve any real purpose. If you want to know what most people think is ok, polls can tell you better than any church can.

Do you really expect them to argue with God to be more accommodating to people? Or do you not give them credit for really beliving? If the Jesus Christ is not God made man and the Bible is not the holy word of God than the Church has no reason to meet once a week. But if Jesus is God and the Bible is true than nothing you can say should matter.

Anonymous said...

So, science is limited to AIDS and condoms? Hmm.

You might be interested in reading more on the Pope's beliefs in science, and in particular his lifelong interest in how it fits in with both the church and the modern world. You might also enjoy reading about his long-term and deep dialogues with the world's pre-eminient physicists, philosophers, and scientists, who he hosted on a regular basis at Castel Gandolfo for seminars -- just for his edification and to further dialogue. Not Catholic scientists, mind you -- atheists, Jews, whatever. His mind was more keen than any of ours, not just on matters of theology, but particularly philosophy and science.

That Dude said...

"Nature is quite sympathetic to sexual promiscuity. It's how we ended up with 6 billion people on this planet."

Look, I don't claim to know science and I doubt I could even attempt to argue Canon Law, but you lose alot of credibitlity withthe above statement. Also in your point about Condoms you say "but the meaning of an artificial separation of sex is not clear." Even for a dude like me of limited capacity I can tell you that it means (at least to me) that condoms facillitate the idea that random promiscuis sex (no matter how fun) doesn't have consequences, physical or emotional. You don't have to be a pious person to understand that.

Anonymous said...

lybians, morrocans and other northern africans are of black african descent they just have been mixed with european blood.