Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stehen Fry: The Catholic Church is NOT a force for good in the world

Aired 11-7-09 on BBC World

Is the Catholic church a force for good in the world?
"It stands up for the oppressed and offers spiritual succour to billions say the Church's supporters. But what about the Church's teachings on condoms, gays and women priests, ask the detractors."
Speaking for the motion, Archbishop John Onaiyekan and Ann Widdencombe MP. Speaking against the motion, Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry.

What concerns me is that Mr Fry believing what he does about our Church is fronting The Passage Appeal, see the poster here. Will those attending, including Cardinal Murphy O'Connor, the Patron, be subject to a Fry rant, about the evils of the Pope both this one and "the Pole", will he hurl condoms at the Casholics in the audience. I have asked the Passage for an explanation, apart from having had a meeting to discuss whether this event should continue, I have heard nothing further.
Thanks to Michael for the link to this video


Jackie Parkes MJ said...

So he trys to destigmatise bi-polar affective disorder but stigmatise the Catholic Church. Won't be taking part in your manic-depressive forums anymore Stephen!

Paulinus said...

Funny. His hero Wilde seemed to think it was.

Griff said...

Fry's entitled to his opinion. Even if it is wrong.

Simon Platt said...

My I suggest that Stephen Fry is not a force for good in the world? Or might that be too glib? No? I thought not.

gemoftheocean said...

What's annoying is that some of the common criticisms are so defensible -- A Harvard prof, no Catholic, came out with a study that basically said that countries in Africa that thew condoms at the populace had much higher incidence of AIDS than those countries where the church was able to preach faithfulness to ONE spouse, and abstenence for the unmarried.

Those are inarguable Facts. The Frys of the world are the stupid ignorant ones.

Amd it's predictable this sort of thing would happen -- why are debaters not armed with this info? It should be easy to destroy the Frys

Paulinus said...

...and another thing.

You'll remember the Oxford Union debate in the 30's "That this House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country". The motion was passed - and yet a generation of men, just those men who passed that motion did indeed fight for king and country.

epsilon said...

I've watched all 5 clips and I'm inclined to think it was a great debate - it doesn't matter about the votes - what's important is that all these people care about the debate and the ++ was spot on, especially at the end.

I think there were a lot of potential St Augustines there...

me said...

I do think that we Catholics, as witnesses to our faith must allow the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and attitudes for any prejudice against other groups, cultures etc. I tried to mention this in a comment section on another blog and was surprised that some people actually thought I was setting some kind of trap. A lefty activist or something, even though I emphasized more than once that my beliefs are totally in agreement with the Church on the matters they were discussing. I didn't even know there were different types of Catholics until I joined blogger.
Of course, no Catholic has to do anything they don't want to, but we mustn't be surprised if the world, far from seeing a force for good from our witness, sees a bunch of self righteous hypocrites who refuse to even glimpse at their own behaviours and how they might be coming across. To stand up and suffer for truth is a good thing, but to appear uncaring and deaf to other's suffering will bring it's own wage. To speak of 'destroying' others and calling people 'stupid' does not sound Christian to me. It just sounds like bunches of people in different corners fighting with the same tools, hate. And prejudice and hate are sins, according to the Catholic Church.

nickbris said...

Just tell him he's BORING and he shuts up and goes into a deep one.

Capt. Piers Stern said...

I agree with epsilon that this debate was by no means all bad news. Saint Augustines may come, even from our land of Popish plots and professorships for writers of bestsellers about atheism. And there are certainly excellent scholars willing to defend the faith, like Alcuin Reid.

However, the people who keep the Catholic tradition alive may not be engaged in apologetics, but in prayer and missions.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Mr Fry is certainly eloquent. I'd like to see him debating his point of view in front of God when he meets Him; as he surely will one day.

gemoftheocean said...

Capt. it should be the duty of EVERY Catholic to defend the faith whenever that is required. The fact that many of our schools (and families and parishes) do a poor job of teaching it is no excuse for abrogating the duty and privilege to defend the faith.

There comes a point when one has to stop blaming whomever for not teaching oneself, if that is the case.

Intellectual laziness is no excuse -- particularly given all the material out there for those who would turn off the TV for 5 minutes.

(And Shadowlands, it may be the case that some people ARE "stupid." It might not be politic to say so, but sometimes that a bold hard fact.)

George said...

Stephen Fry is a 'has-been' well past sell-by date. Apart from looking haggard and forlorn this guy is not funny nor witty, couldn't hold a candle to any of the most famous of English actors and is clutching at straws by his attacks on the Catholic Church.

It's a comfortable 'band-wagon' of celebrities and hangers-on who huddle together in their very uneasy 'smugness' thinking they know it all and are right. The odd comments of encouragement from the likes of Richard Dawkins, fuelled by the latest Dan Brown 'Documentary', are a shot in the arm for the likes of Fry.

I feel sorry for him - he's adrift without any Compass and he will come a right cropper sooner than he thinks.

There's always hope and we should pray for him, pray that he has a Road to Damascus experience! Now that would be something worthwhile to go on the BBC and shout about.

me said...

Gem of the Ocean said

(And Shadowlands, it may be the case that some people ARE "stupid." It might not be politic to say so, but sometimes that a bold hard fact.)

Aaah Gem, that I were perfected enough in love to be able to state one hard bold fact. For of course, without that perfection, my words are sadly just clashing cymbals.
I can only, speaking as one totally in agreement with Catholic teaching on sexual morality,(thanks to the Power of the Rosary and Our Lady) try and hear the notes of hearts, and in Stephen Fry's speech and the ultimate audience response, I felt I heard a cry for affirmation of the love of God for homosexuals,to be called, by the Catholic Church, the planned created children of God, and not the mistake. If the Church is not hearing this cry, be sure to know the devil is, and offering all sorts of pseudo acceptance and behaviours that will entice, sin wouldn't be tempting if it didn't. I believe the Church needs to repent of prejudice towards homosexuals and pray for the Father's Love to be poured out to them. With that affirmation, I believe hearts would be softened in other areas. Love works like that, wouldn't you say Gem? If this is anti Catholic, then I'm a Dutch man.

me said...

George said,

speaking of Stephen Fry, whom he referred to as a 'has been'
I assume you are a teenager George?

Anyway, to continue speaking of Stephen,the man who hears only from Catholics that he is a 'disordered morally evil individual' yet also holds no ill feeling to pious Catholics, showing great consideration to myself and George with that statement,showing much more respect than George managed, but hey! Let's hope only us Catholics noticed it eh George. Let's hope no little one lost their blossoming faith with your comments.George went on to say, as only we loving Catholics do, and are of course suprised when folks dislike and attack us. How dare they not see Christ shining through us, eh Geoorge? Oh, Of course, as you go on to explain in your comment, it's because we haven't prayed for 'them', the unenlightened non-catholics need....and we must hope for..I'll let George continue here, as I wouldn't want to be accused of any type of militancy or anti catholicism;

'There's always hope and we should pray for him, pray that he has a Road to Damascus experience'!

Mmmm...George, I am beginning to feel ashamed of my people, fellow Catholics. Yes! We have a message of hope, as Anne Widdecombe said, only people of arrogance can live without that. Let us make sure, by the Power of the searching light of the Holy Spirit that we don't become the very people we presume to condemn!!!!

Sorry Father, if this is a little all over the place. I am mad as heck.Also ashamed of my body of fellow Catholics.

George said...

Oh please Shadowlands, do get off your high horse and leave the pseudo-religious-philosophical-moral musings for some other subject.

Stephen Fry has been around for an eternity (yawn...) - and no I am not a teenager!

What I'm saying is that when these people push - they should expect some resistance! If we don't push back on all the battle fronts that assail us daily the secular world will continue to try and obliterate every last vestige of the Catholic Faith from the face of the Earth. You only need a little timidity mixed with a dose of 'being caught napping' and you get what they just got in Italy! It's not a time for sitting on the fence.

Had the Forces at Lepanto not pushed back the Muslim invaders history would have been rewritten.

I know the 'War has been Won' for us by the precious Blood of the Divine Lamb, but we should not deny Him when He is being ridiculed by the likes of Fry, Dawkins or anyone else. Right or wrong I will NOT stand by and pretend it's not happening.

me said...

Sometimes,although acknowledging, we renounce our disposition for the sake of Christ.

But not until we have been shown the treasure of greater price.How blessed the person who delivers that truth to us(in my case, Our Lady). Be the pointer to the vision of the pearl of greater price, not the despairing condemnatory sentence that tips a man/woman over into the clutches of evil. A man will not sell all he has until you show him that pearl. Have you found that pearl?
I have posted this message on my blog along with a video, by a non-catholic(I can't find a catholic video with the message(shame on us).

me said...

George said

'I know the 'War has been Won' for us by the precious Blood of the Divine Lamb,but'

I'll end your quote at the 'but' part George, because from my experience that's the bit of your comment where I reckon the wrath and the mercy of the Father, who allowed the shedding of His Son's blood for us,might just have overspilled a little,(but then pardon me if I am again, today being a militant or a leftist) Christ Himself, in Gethsemane, asked His Father to spare Him this spillage, that you so flippantly throw at me, in response to my pleas, as if you are tired of hearing about it. George!!! I do what Gemoftheocean told me to do earlier, and tell you a bold hard fact. Never, ever, ever, use Our Lord's Sacrifice in such a manner!!! Not because I have any power, I am the worst sinner I know. However, I wonder if you or I have fully realised what it cost the Father, to reject His own Son's plea's to forgo what was demanded by justice for you and me, George. Forget Stephen Fry and his in or outdated significance. What does the sacrifice of the Father mean to you? I only mention this, because in spite of your obvious holy catholicism, the Father Himself might pull you up on the same matter one day.
In truth George, I don't mean to be facitious, it's just sometimes, Catholics make me cringe. Maybe that's what Jesus was looking at, you know, when He wanted out of the whole deal. I'm thinking, lack of gratitude here, and there but for the grace of God etc. You'd be familiar with that last one yeh?

gemoftheocean said...


Of Course God loves the homosexuals as much as he loves anyone. That's not the issue. Everyone has his/her own cross to bear re: which commandments are harder for a given individual to keep. But we are all bound to try our best to avoid ALL sin -- not just a cafeteria selection of what we find easy to do.

We are supposed to do our best to avoid near occasions of sin. It would not be a good idea for a kleptomaniac to seek employment as a cashier -- and it's best for "gays" to stay out of gay bars.

It's not the attraction that's necessarily wrong. No one can control their feelings from random attractions -- it's *acting* on those thoughts that land one into trouble -- one should do one's best to take one's self out of situtations which can be troublesome for us.

epsilon said...

Stephen Fry seems to think the Catholic Church does not want him because he is gay.

Nickbris - when he was hurt by the 'boring' jibe, all was forgiven when he realised how much his twitter 'followers' loved him.

Who is going to show him that God loves him, if it's not us followers of Jesus? May we pray that Stephen Fry will follow his hero Oscar Wilde into the embrace of the Holy Roman Catholic Church - I suspect he wants to be embraced by it, despite all his protests to the contrary.

I've just skimmed the George/Shadowlands debate - Shadowlands do not put yourself down, you speak as a true christian.

One thing I noticed in the debate at Central Hall was that both Fry and Hitchins agreed with Widdicombe when she said the role of a priest could no more be taken on by a woman than a man taking on the role of the Virgin Mary - ironically this is a lot more than many so-called catholics agree on.

Stephen Fry was genuinely respectful of the christians he knows who practise their religion with integrity - he obviously has integrity himself because he is prepared to cry out in his pain and yet acknowledge the good he sees in those he challenges.

People like you George are the sort of catholics who give the church a bad name!

me said...

Gem said,

'Of Course God loves the homosexuals as much as he loves anyone. That's not the issue'.

In my experience Gem, this is truly the crux of the issue.

'we are all bound to try our best to avoid ALL sin'

I agree, wholeheartedly, but if one believes or secretly fears one's very existence is a sin, literally the breathing in and out of one's breath, then a message to the contrary has to be heard to be proclaimed, in order for the Church to be seen as a force for good(in this case the affirmation of the person who wrongly believes they are evil). Otherwise, the cross is unbearable, and the Catholic Church will be seen to offer no easing of that burden, and through despair, the soul in question will seek affirmation wherever they can. That's how I act when I am desperate anyway. Old nick meanwhile, will be laughing his head off, as he leads desperate souls into behaviours that threaten their eternal salvation. We must not stand idly by, but be a force of truth!
Our Lady will affirm any soul that calls to her for assistance, and very powerfully. She heard me!

Tad said...

Don't forget Fry's remarks about Polish Catholics and Auchwitz.

George said...

"We must not stand idly by, but be a force of truth!

Our Lady will affirm any soul that calls to her for assistance, and very powerfully".

I'm with you all the way on these counts - Shadowlands!

Michael Petek said...

Funny that, about Oscar Wilde (epsilon).

Stephen Fry has played him on screen.

The Bones said...

I am all for compassion for Fry in his hatred and ignorance of the Faith. However, let us not forget that Stephen Fry does not appear to be a 'person of good will'.

This is actually quite important because he is not just saying, "Well, I find it very hard to understand or go along with Catholicism." He is literally taking up a sword and, along with Hitchens and presumably Dawkins, publicly using his fame to tear down the name of the Church.

His sexuality here is not really a matter of importance. Does he hate the Church because of the Church teaching on homosexuality? Well, it might not help but then Dawkins and Hitchens hate the Church and that doesn't appear to be their reasoning.

No. It takes a certain kind of arrogance to stand on a stage and take on God's Church and expect to win and a little more good will from Fry, towards both the Church and the Polish community would not go amiss.

Capt. Piers Stern said...

Dear Gem,

Far be it from me, as a military man, to avoid a conflict... My point was rather that apologetics (or, what is different, polemics) are not central elements of Christian experience.

Debating is merely the art of point-scoring. We should not worry too much when our reputation takes a blow, from time to time, in the giddy world of the media.

On the subject of debating, there seems to me to be no better book than the "Topics" of Aristotle.

How wise he is to say that debating is only possible when one first establishes common propositions ("One may first address the opinions held by all men, or by most, or by the philosophers..." from Book One).

The real hints on how to win a debate come at the end, in Book Eight. For example, "... first of all, select the ground from which he should make his attack...". Even our newest recruits understand the importance of not allowing the enemy to choose the zone of conflict.

On the whole, I think it is a pity that many of the arguments coming against the Catholic Church concern issues of human sexuality. In this area, a lot of groundwork has to be done before we arrive at common propositions.

George said...

Well - there we have it!

Starts with Stephen Fry having a go at the Church and ends with me being responsible for giving the Catholic Church a bad name! Wow!

What splendid threads of logic, rhyme and reason run through some of these posts on our wonderful blogs..... GRRRREEEAAAAAT Stuff!

As ye olde English country saying goes, "Nowt as queer as folk"!

God Bless.

John Martyn said...

Stephen Fry made three complaints against the Catholic Church in his speech. In the C16 it persecuted people who read the Bible in English; it is nasty to homosexuals; and its teaching on contraception is harmful.
Whether these complaints are justified or not, the basis of all of them could have been avoided, or at least mitigated. Tyndale initially tried to get the Bishop of London to support his translating. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith could have restated traditional Christian teaching about homosexuality in a milder way than it did. Paul VI rejected the majority view of his advisers when he reasserted the existing teaching on contraception, without modification.
No doubt religious conservatives are pleased when Rome is inflexible. Whether inflexibility helps or hinders Christian mission is another matter.

George said...

John - the Catholic Christian Mission is to preach the full Magisterium of the Church, unaltered, unflavoured by the spirit of the times, in and out of season.

That is the Rock upon which it is built. It is NOT for the Church to conform itself to the mind of man, but for man to struggle with our fallen nature and try to understand just how much God loves us.

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