Sunday, December 06, 2009

Lisbon Treaty gives Vatican ‘arm-twisting status’

This is the snazzy soundbite heading of a press release from the National Secular Society, which is appalled and horrified that the Catholic Bishops Conference (COMECE) has issued a press release reminding EU members that ‘religious groups — particularly the Vatican — are coming to claim the privileges that the Treaty promises them’.

At least that is the NSS summary of the COMECE press release.

It is a curious concern, considering the arm-twisting activities and the ‘privileges’ being claimed by the EU’s rabidly-secular forces and its archdruids of godlessness.

The press release says: “The Treaty introduces into EU primary law an Article of notable importance for the Churches. By means of Article 17 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, the EU recognises the identity and specific contribution of Churches and engages on this basis an ‘open, transparent and regular’ dialogue with them. Thanks to this Article, Churches and religious communities will be able to strengthen their Dialogue with the European Commission, Council and Parliament and so contribute more efficiently to reflecting on European policy. Inspired by Catholic social teaching and strengthened by their background experience, Churches will be enabled to pursue a critical and constructive Dialogue with EU decision makers on the policies put forward by the EU...

The NSS observes: ‘COMECE tries to soften the threatening tone of the press release by talking about “promotion of dignity” and “solidarity with the weakest” and “intercultural dialogue”. There is no mention yet of restricting abortion rights or attacking the human rights of homosexuals – although inevitably these will be the real targets in the EU of COMECE and its reactionary religious allies.’

It is curious, is it not, that ‘abortion rights’ and ‘the rights of homosexuals’ are the primary concerns of the secularists. For very many Christians – not to mention Jews and Muslims – these represent (or indeed constitute) murder and perversion, and yet the secularists seek to eradicate even the articulation of this mere opinion from the public sphere; to deny the religious conscience an expression in political debate.

How is it that they cannot see the blindness of their own fanatical extremism and the hypocrisy of their own immutable creed? Secularism was never conceived as an anti-Christian philosophy: it did not originally deny that light and truth can be found in Christian history, expression and thought. But it has become blind to its own heritage and ignorant of its own definition. What was supposed to be an alternative worldview based on independent thought and the scientific method has become as intolerant as any religion which seeks to advance and impose its fundamental tenets upon others, irrespective of their conscience and will. And by so doing, it fails its own test of legitimacy.

The COMECE press release exhorts Christians to engage in political discourse because they understand that by failing to do so, the void will be filled by a fundamentalist secularism with a deference for no religion but Islam. They say: “COMECE calls on Churches and Christians all over Europe to seize this dialogue opportunity, based on their expertise and their humanity, to make a contribution to the European project. COMECE, together with its ecumenical partners from CEC (Conference of European Churches), will make soon specific proposals to the European Commission, Parliament and Council on how to develop this dialogue into regular institutional practice.

Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society, said: “This is probably the most sinister document I have read for some time; the soothing words about care for the poorest and concern for the environment are just window dressing. It gives clear warning that the Catholic Church intends to insinuate the Vatican’s hard-line Catholic doctrine right to the heart of Europe, despite the fact that even among Catholics, only a small minority subscribe to it. Women, gay people and the non-religious should be very worried by this, especially given the appointment of a reportedly zealous new Catholic President.”

Mr Porteous Wood’s comment is the most sinister Cranmer has read for some time; the soothing words about human rights and concern for equality are just window dressing. It gives clear warning that the National Secular Society intends to insinuate a hard-line secular doctrine right at the heart of Europe, despite the fact that among the population of the EU, only 18 per cent are reported to subscribe to varying degrees of atheism and agnosticism. The majority Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jedi should be very worried by this, especially given the rise of Mr Porteous Wood as the self-appointed guardian of anti-Christian ‘neutrality’ and undoubtedly zealous advocate of the rights of man.


Blogger Kenpachi said...

Witty and informative as usual your Grace.

6 December 2009 at 10:26  
Blogger The Anti Christ said...

Dogs in mangers. But having said this, sometimes a man will argue to the ends of the earth in order to escape his soul. I watched this funny video about a goat wearing a mask and trying to join the flock, but all the other goats were running away frightened of the mask. The tragedy is that it's the other goats you have to feel sorry for.

Goat video HERE (warning you will be transported to The Anti Christ Blog)

6 December 2009 at 11:20  
Anonymous len said...

The Secularists are sowing the seeds of their own destruction (and everyone else`s)The modern secular humanism so prominent in the world today is not any better than the superstitions of Rome, Greece or Canaan. Humanism denies the transcendent God who gives us moral absolutes; that is, laws that are non-negotiable and unchanging. The god of humanism is man. Therefore, the source of humanistic law is either: (a) whatever each individual decides (anarchism); (b) the determinations of an intellectual elite (e.g. socialism, Marxism and communism).
Why does a rejection of the true God lead inexorably to moral degeneracy? The main reason is that laws are always theologically based. One’s ethical system will always be a mirror reflection of one’s concept of God or ultimate reality. If concepts of morality are to rest on some conviction of ultimacy one must have faith in a personal, infinite God who is holy, righteous and just and who will hold everyone accountable for their actions.

6 December 2009 at 11:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone, including the humanists, should be afraid of the increase and abuse of power of the EU as an organisation and some of its employees.

Those who abuse power will use it potentially against anyone. Even animals are not safe from their tagging, surviellance and control.
Even cows burp too much, as if our Lord and creator made some mistake in design. I find animals to be wonderfully and fearlfully made just as God made them. Humans too.

I have noticed that some who are against genuine discrimination or mistreatment of people (necessary for freedom & democracy), once in power themselves, mistreat and abuse some under their power, and also increase their own and others' power over others. They forget that power tends to corrupt, and that "governing" is about governing, not revenge against those "types" or "institutions" or "countries" who have hurt them, amassing power or imposing their ideas on others against their will or by stealth.

While churches and others may tak with the EU if they so choose, I hope they will not enable any wrong-doing against anyone, regardless of their religious views or not.

6 December 2009 at 11:46  
Blogger The Anti Christ said...


The secularists will appreciate this; "for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction". This is one of their scientific facts. I have been endowed with some rather special talents.

6 December 2009 at 11:59  
Anonymous Armageddon said...

Anti Christ says for 'every action there is an opposite and equal reaction'. This is obviously true in the world of physics but not in the secular political world.

N Korea shouts, threatens, fires missiles over Japan and build nukes action. Reaction???

Iran shouts, threatens and is building nukes - Action. Reaction???

Members of a certian religion shouting, terrorising, killing all over the world - Action. Reaction???

Global warming scam turns into Climate change scam and non believers persecuted - Action. Reaction???

World credit crunch turns into recession turns into the bankers getting the blame even though Governments had a really big part to play in it - Action. Reaction???

A vote on being a member of the EEC becomes EU slavery - Action. Reaction???

Religion in western nations being supplanted with frothing at the mouth secularists clearing a path for chaos in the religious vacuum - Action. Reaction???

There isn't a reaction to any of these actions yet. What all of these actions are doing are blowing the spark ever hotter until the world catches fire. We seem to be edging ever closer to it

6 December 2009 at 12:29  
Blogger The Anti Christ said...

You answered the question for me. You must be more patient - have you not seen the Guinness adverts?

6 December 2009 at 12:38  
Anonymous jeremy hyatt said...

Is there anyone on the planet who gives a stuff what the National Secular Society, a self-selecting body comprising two men and a dog, think?

6 December 2009 at 14:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have mentioned this to certain people, and I have been told I am in need of a holiday, but here goes anyway. The NSS and The Christian Institute both have a facility to subscribe to their news via email. I have noticed, without fail, that both email bulletins drop in my in-box at the exact same moment....THE EXACT SAME MOMENT, every single time without fail.

I cannot help thinking there is something in it. It almost seems that both have been set up in order to provide an anchor for the two opposing views....DIVIDE AND RULE.

It would not surprise me in the least. Both web sites also have a similar feel to them also. Maybe this will change now that I have drawn attention to the fact, but do feel free to check it out.

Why would anyone want to subscribe to both? Good question, but I have a history of breaking all the rules.

6 December 2009 at 15:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that I may need a holiday after all. I have checked out the source code for each site and the NSS uses a media design company and The CI is powered by a Word Press theme.

The CI uses ENG-US and the NSS uses ENG-GB, but I think Word Press is ENG-US anyways.

It was a good rumour to start though.

6 December 2009 at 15:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why would you want think rumours were good?

6 December 2009 at 16:43  
Blogger Bugger said...

I am a Jedi Knight holed up in China.

Do I get consulted?

6 December 2009 at 18:44  
Anonymous Simon said...

It is curious, is it not, that ‘abortion rights’ and ‘the rights of homosexuals’ are the primary concerns of the secularists

Primary concerns? I call BS on that. Standing up to oppressive voices and striving for universal human rights is something Jesus might have done; you lot might do well to remember the actual teachings of the person in whose name you have the audacity to speak.

6 December 2009 at 19:23  
Anonymous Martin Sewell said...

Aux armes Citoyens!

6 December 2009 at 19:24  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Well said Your Grace.

Anything that gives apoplexy to the likes of Dawkins, Hitchens and Pulman (sounds like a firm of estate agents)is OK by me.

6 December 2009 at 19:53  
Anonymous Richard Brown said...

Like Jeremy, I couldn't care what the NSS thinks. Strangely, they are very coy about their paid-up membership, believed to be no more than 5000. However, the BBC, a believer in self-appointed unrepresentative institutions, seems to think they need to be consulted whenever a sniff of aggressive atheism is needed. And that, apparently, is often.

6 December 2009 at 20:07  
Blogger The Anti Christ said...

We need enemies or else we would all be walking around in sandals baptising eachother..over and over. We need people to hate us so we can go to war with them and overcome their oppression. Their needs to be duality in all things. Bees understand this when they slam their stinging majeekas into your skin, they sacrifice themselves for the hive. It's all kool baby!

6 December 2009 at 20:27  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Mr. Sewell - I thought the french were the leading secularists?

Anyway, I consider the concept of euro citizenship to be the truly ugly lie against which mere humans need to fight!!

Humans as opposed to human-ists, that is. I'm fascinated, by the way, that Mr. Woods is still beating the 'femin-ist' horse! How insulting of him to include all women with all homosexuals and all disbelievers. This renders females as weak, minority, and victimized - and possibly perverted: and certainly this is not true of all women. But the Marx-ists won't give up on it: they like to turn women against men, and against women who challenge feminism.

What both parties espouse as 'human rights' is, I think, a weapon for producing fragmentation and 'incitement.' For haven't RCs traditionally also fed the same perceptions?

So were Britons to work on the priniciple that both parties are at the same game, maybe we could just refuse to take the bait? Leave them to fight each other to extinction?

6 December 2009 at 20:40  
Blogger Robert said...

Although I understand the concern over the proliferation of secularism, I have to disagree with His Grace's sympathy for COMECE and their mission. The Vatican has great ambitions for the European Union, and--trust me--these ambitions do not stop merely at abortion and heterosexual marriage.

Perhaps the greatest trap that non-Catholic Christians can fall into is believing that the Vatican is "on our side." Faced with the threat of atheism, it is all too easy to throw in one's lot with Rome. While we are concerned about an attack from the left, that attack is going to come suddenly from the right.

Let me say this: Mankind has been religious for thousands of years and will remain so forever. The current fad of atheism will not last much longer, and even now holds sway over an absurdly small percentage of the planet's population. It is unnecessary to "fight" it at all.

To compromise with the Vatican in the short-term in order to battle against an ideology that is already dead would be the height of foolishness. Much better to stay the course and keep those things which were committed to us by the generations that preceded us.

6 December 2009 at 21:35  
Anonymous len said...

I have no illusions of the aims and goals of the Vatican.
Adding works to faith as the grounds of justification is precisely the teaching that Paul condemned as "a different gospel" ( 2 Cor. 11:4; Gal. 1:6). It nullifies the grace of God, for if meritorious righteousness can be earned through the sacraments, "then Christ died needlessly" (Gal. 2:21). Any system that mingles works with grace, then, is "a different gospel" (Gal. 1:6), a distorted message that is anathematized (Gal. 1:9), not by a council of medieval bishops, but by the very Word of God that cannot be broken. In fact, it does not overstate the case to say that the Roman Catholic view on justification sets it apart as a wholly different religion than the true Christian faith, for it is antithetical to the simple gospel of grace.

6 December 2009 at 22:07  
Anonymous Billy,Evangelical Preacher said...

i am more worried about this anti-christ blog..... perhaps we should pray for its author- that he may truly know the Lord Jesus Christ in his heart!

6 December 2009 at 22:44  
Blogger Ben Stevenson said...

A couple of people have already commented on the size of the National Secular Society.

Wikipedia say that their income in the year 2006-7 was £232,149, which is only about 10% of the income of the Evangelical Alliance in the same year, or about a sixth of the income of the Christian Institute in the same year.

I think the National Secular Society, as an organisation, gets publicity out of proportion to their size.

6 December 2009 at 23:35  
Blogger Tarquin said...

"For very many Christians – not to mention Jews and Muslims – these represent (or indeed constitute) murder and perversion, and yet the secularists seek to eradicate even the articulation of this mere opinion from the public sphere; to deny the religious conscience an expression in political debate."


Of course the difference is the religious types would like to see these things they dislike banned for those who do not believe what they do

it's a false dichotomy - we aren't forcing you to have abortions or be gay, but you want to ban the practices for the rest of us

it's just bigotry

8 December 2009 at 11:13  
Anonymous len said...

Freedom to express a Christian viewpoint bigotry?

I`m not forcing anyone to be Christian, but if you are totally satisfied with the current state of the world and see no need for change please carry on.

8 December 2009 at 19:30  
Blogger Tarquin said...

who has stopped you expressing it? ...You are doing it right now

say what you want, but belief has no place in government

8 December 2009 at 20:57  
Anonymous len said...

Belief has no place in Government?

No belief in God?"If there is no order to the universe, and therefore some being, some force that ordered it, then who determines what is right or wrong? There is nothing immoral if there's nothing in charge."

Perhaps that is why we are in the mess we are in?

As for being free to express Christianity,this Government has done more to suppress Christians than any previous Government.

8 December 2009 at 23:31  
Blogger Tarquin said...

who determines 'right and wrong'

exactly the same people who decided it before - humans

9 December 2009 at 00:53  
Blogger Nick said...

Your Grace,

I know Keith Porteous Wood quite well. I was on the Council of the National Secular Society for a year, and I am a sustaining member of that organisation.

While I do not agree with your religion, or most of your politics, yours is an interesting and enjoyable blog, but I fear you are wrong about the motivations of the NSS. We care passionately about secularism, which is the idea that your religion is a personal matter for you, those of your church and those who allow you to share it with them. We strongly oppose any religious organisation having special rights and privileges anywhere. To us, religious organisations are self-selected voluntary bodies like trade unions or clubs of various kinds. No-one seriously suggests that, while stamp collectors may have some genuine insights into life, they should have any special access to the levers of power in society just because of their special relationship with stamps. It is just the same with religions. Of course religious people must have an opportunity to inform the public debate on policy, but we argue that this should be on the same basis as any other special interest group.

In your final paragraph, you make the point that “The majority Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jedi should be very worried by this”, but this is exactly wrong. Only a secular state can truly defend religious freedom: think of all the states where one religion had access to the power of the State, and you will see that those countries or times were very difficult places to be a “heretic”. Keith is not “self-appointed”, he is the Executive Director and works as the officer of the Council of the NSS. Several of your commentators rightly point out that the NSS is a small organisation, which does well for its size to promote what it sees as important arguments in society. This is mostly down to Keith, who works very hard so that (ultimately) everyone might have the opportunity to practice their own religion in just the way that they want to. I hope you will agree that this is a laudable aim.

All the best

Nick Pullar

9 December 2009 at 22:03  

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