Monday, 13 September 2010

Sir Stephen Wall: B16 'irrelevant'

Since standing down as Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor's public affairs adviser in 2005 following Pope Benedict's election, Sir Stephen Wall (photo), the former foreign office mandarin, has become an increasingly vocal liberal critic of the Church. Now he has written a withering piece in the Financial Times lamenting Pope Benedict's conservatism, introversion, and irrelevance.

To have any hope of recapturing the imagination of millions of Catholics, not to mention non-believers, the Church would have to accept that it does not have a monopoly on truth, that individuals have their own values, that a changing moral code is a normal part of social evolution and that the Church’s own moral failings should induce a little humility.
Whatever one thinks of this view, it is at odds with all the evidence: religious faith which too closely mirrors the transitory, individualistic, shifting mores of contemporary society has been the quickest to collapse. The most marked shrinking of adherents has been in liberal Protestantism -- precisely the reasonable, tolerant, rational, shifting creed that Sir Stephen seems to advocate here.