Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Galilean carpenter

Do you know who would be the last person ever to be accepted as a prince of the Church? The Galilean carpenter. That Jew. They would kick him out before he tried to cross the threshold. He would be so ill-at-ease in the Church. What would he think, what would he think of St. Peter’s? What would he think of the wealth, and the power, and the self-justification, and the wheedling apologies?

The Pope could decide that all this power, all this wealth, this hierarchy of princes and bishops and archbishops and priests and monks and nuns could be sent out in the world with money and art treasures, to put them back in the countries that they once raped and violated. They could give that money away, and they could concentrate on the apparent essence of their belief, and then, I would stand here and say the Catholic Church may well be a force for good in the world.

But until that day, it is not.

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Thank you, Carlo, for sharing this video with me. I've long heard of Stephen Fry, partly due to Christopher Hitchens, and in fact, I've heard about this debate, but I never ventured into watching or searching for the video.

Here is Stephen's speech:

The full debate can be viewed at www.intelligencesquared.com. The motion: "The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world." He special-mentioned the Philippines.

* * * *

Here's the part that made me teary-eyed:
It’s perhaps unfair of me, as a gay man, to moan at this enormous institution, which is the largest and most powerful church on Earth, has over a billion, as they like to tell us, members, each one of whom is under strict instructions to believe the dogmas of the church, but may wrestle with them personally of course.

It’s hard for me to be told that I’m evil, because I think of myself as someone who is filled with love, whose only purpose in life was to achieve love, and who feels love for so much of nature and the world and for everything else.

We certainly don’t need the stigmatisation, the victimisation, that leads to the playground bullying when people say you’re a disordered, morally evil individual.

It reminded me of the day I decided to leave the Catholic Church, when I read a Vatican document, penned by then cardinal Ratzinger, that defined homosexuality as an "intrinsic moral evil."

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