Thursday, 23 September 2010

Humanist calls for 'rapprochement' with Catholics

Paul Sims, news editor of the New Humanist magazine (motto: "Ideas for Godless People") has posted a thoughtful piece on the NH website which exemplifies the true humanist spirit of tolerance and respect. He ponders the question of whether it is time for a "rapprochement" between Catholics and secularists. He quotes with approval the Pope's words in Westminster Hall -- “the world of reason and the world of faith - the world of secular rationality and the world of religious belief - need one another and should not be afraid to enter into a profound and ongoing dialogue" -- and thinks this underlines the need for engagement.

He disapproves of some of the protesters' more lurid slogans. "For progress to be made, critics of the Church need to find sympathetic ears among Catholics, and some of the stronger rhetoric we have heard during the Pope’s visit can only reduce the chance of this happening," he notes, before taking note of the huge crowds who waited for the Popemobile to pass; "the fact is," says Sims, "that in the eyes of many Benedict XVI was welcome here. Many oppose the Church, but many support it. The Papal Visit was an opportunity for both sides to debate the reasons for this, but what we have seen are two distinct groups in our society that appear to be talking past one another, while many others (perhaps the majority) look on in confusion."

Agreeing with Sims about the need for engagement -- Catholic Voices was created for that purpose -- Monitor has been in touch with him to suggest a Catholic-humanist dialogue in print, looking at the topics which divide Catholic humanists from secular humanists. We are now "in discussion".