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Subject:How I stopped being defensive* and learned to protest the Pope
Time:12:12 am
Current Mood:busy


I didn't pay much attention in the build up to it. And then friends on Facebook were posting about it, and there was a "Protest the Pope" movement organised, and there were a lot of jokes about sky fairies and paleolithic cults, and I was pissed off.

Yeah. I was more pissed off at the jokes and the anti-religion sentiment than I was about the Pope. This despite the fact that I've always despised the RCC's teachings on [ abortion, birth control, stem cell research, IVF and homosexuality. This despite the fact that I'm as enraged as any other right thinking person must be about the rapes and other abuses of children at the hands of Catholic priests and the ongoing cover-up, the trail of which seems to lead straight to the Pope's door. This despite the fact that I'm just as shocked as any right-thinking person would be that the Pope took steps to reverse the excommunication of a Holocaust denier. All this, and it's easier to get me riled up with a few potshots at religion. But I didn't really notice that I was reacting that way. I just got angry, and looked for reasons why the extremist atheists were wrong to be bouncing off the walls about this.

I felt that while a state visit from the Pope was obviously not something I could get behind, especially not at the cost [although really, all state visits are obviously far too expensive] it wasn't any worse than a state visit from Saudi Arabia or China. And I've never protested a state visit in my life, including ones from Saudi Arabia. Or China. And I somehow expected that the vast majority of those smug, self-congratulatory atheists preparing to go to the Protest the Pope rally and march today hadn't protested any other state visits either. I thought they were probably just protesting this one in order to take a few cheap potshots at religion. No, I wasn't in support of the Pope's visit. But I wasn't going to be protesting it, either.

In the final analysis [I thought], not only would it be hypocritical for me to protest this state visit when I never had done with any others before [and of course it was hypocritical of all of them, too], the last thing I really wanted to do with a Saturday afternoon was spend it in the company of a large crowd of religion-bashers.

Then I watched Peter Tatchell's documentary "The Problem with the Pope," which, as I expected, didn't tell me anything new. What I didn't expect, however, was for it to be nicely balanced with respect for religion, and even the RCC in general, and, perhaps more foolishly, I didn't expect the emotional impact of seeing the human consequences of the Pope's policies. Because obviously I already knew about the overpopulation in the developing world, people with degenerative diseases who could be helped by stem cell research, and visceral anger and hurt that gay and lesbian people must feel about the church's bigoted position on homosexuality. I'd seen all these things before, so why would it bother me particularly to see them again? But it did. Then I had a little talk with my flatmate, and we agreed that the paedophilic abuse scandal was reason enough in and of itself to protest, really. Then I had a little talk with myself about people being entitled to have bigoted, prejudiced views, which the Pope has [see paragraph 3], and extremist atheists also have [sky fairies, schizophrenic zombies, "talking snake supporters," leprechauns and unicorns, blah fucking blah]. Then I had a little talk with myself about which of the two was imposing their bigoted, prejudiced views through more than just the exercise of free speech, on millions of people around the world, with disastrous consequences. And in the end, I guess it all knocked me out of my own smug little self-congratulatory bubble a bit. I still wasn't going to the protest, mind you. I had work to do today.

So, I got up this morning, and had my run, and dawdled like hell, and was theoretically going to chambers to pick up some work. And then, by the time I left the house it was after 12.30, and somehow, I was going to Hyde Park Corner. It just hit me. My only remaining reason for not going was not wanting to expose myself, and my precious little feelings, to an afternoon of cracks about religion and religious belief. [Well, that and the note of evidence I have to type up, and my pupillage checklists that still aren't finished, and my case on Monday which is listed for half a day and I'm not sure what more to do to prep it. But I don't know. I'll figure it out.] And somehow that didn't seem good enough. I'd never protested a state visit before? So the fuck what? I've protested other things, there's always a first, and actually, actually, maybe, given that I'm not an atheist, I'm not a secular humanist, I'm actually an agnostic, I'm actually a believer, I'm actually a Christian -- maybe that makes mine a rather important voice to be heard at a protest like today's. To point out it's not just "extremist atheists," not even just atheists in fact. It's moderates. It's feminists. It's people who don't like homophobia. It's people who don't like Holocaust deniers. It's people who don't like old white men in fancy dress telling the rest of us how we should worship, who and how and when we should fuck, and what we should do with our bodies generally. And it's people who sure as fuck are not going to stand for thousands of men abusing tens of thousands of children with impunity granted by the religious order they've signed up to. People who think religion and the state should be kept separate (each from interfering with the other) and that it is simply wrong for a state and a religious visit to be fused in this way, so that the Pope can use our tax money to propagate his brand of bigotry not only to his faithful (not all of whom, I understand, agree with him anyway!), but to our political leaders as well. And there are Christians among those numbers. [Like, you know, all the ones that go to my church, for instance.] TRUTH.

So I went on the protest. I arrived late -- about 2.15 -- but it hadn't set off yet. I wriggled my way into the crowd and fell in behind the London Feminist Network for most of the march. It was really slow to begin with -- took ages to start and then was stop-and-start for a while. There could have been more chanting. But it was fun. There were blown-up condoms, and people in fancy dress, and noise-makers and all the rest.

There were some signs I really loved: "I believe -- but not in you;" "Thank God for secularism;" one that listed things we support, like love, tolerance, freedom, democracy, and things we don't, like, oh I don't know, bigotry, misogyny and homophobia, and then asked "does that make me anti-pope?"; a big pink one of the Pope in majorly campy robes with a quote of some aide of his, "No, the Pope is not gay" on the back; "Jesus had two daddies" which made me laugh out loud in delight; the ubiquitous and oh-so-British "Down With This Sort Of Thing" and fairly bog-standard ones saying the Pope shelters child abusers, is soft on Holocaust-deniers and that his position on condoms is killing people. There were some that royally pissed me off. You can probably imagine the tenor of those. There was a woman beside me who yelled "Talking snake supporters!" at some people walking in the other direction to attend the Catholic rally. She turned to me and said "They believe in a talking snake! Can you believe it? IDIOTS!" I smiled. I didn't tell her I was CofE. She probably wouldn't have understood the concept of an agnostic Anglican.

So yeah. I bit my tongue pretty much the whole way along but I figure it was good for my immortal soul. We were ultimately there for the same reason, and everyone's got freedom of speech, right? I have it on good authority -- Article 10.

At the rally, I stayed for probably about half the speeches. I wanted to hear Peter Tatchell, and he gave by far the best of the ones I heard. He had the audience chanting along, and once again paid -- what seemed to me -- more than lip service to the need to be respectful of faith, and freedom of expression of faith, provided it doesn't adversely impact on the rights of others. I stood stock-still with my arms folded for Richard Dawkins. There is only so much spiritual growth a girl can do in a week, and stopping hating that man is beyond me just yet. The woman after Peter Tatchell was very shrill, and started out by saying that we weren't just there to protest the Pope but also the adverse effect of religion in our society, and that was basically it for me because what she was saying was the precise opposite of what I signed up for. I was out. My back hurt by that time anyway.

So. Worthwhile use of an afternoon. I was there. My voice was heard (chanting "Love not hate," primarily). Mind you, I still object to a lot of the language I heard against religion today. I still think it's just as bigoted and prejudiced as the Pope (though, OK, fine, not as damaging), and the smug white middle classes peddling it still need a good kick up the backside, IMO. And I still suspect there were people there who had never protested anything before in their lives, and were more than strongly influenced by knee-jerk anti-religious sentiment, and if I'm right on that, I think those people are hypocrites and whited sepulchres and all that. But that doesn't undermine the fact that the message of the protest was RIGHT.

And, well, now I'm typing up my note of evidence and I'm not going to get much sleep tonight, because I have to spend pretty much all day at church tomorrow. Singing stuff. Oh yeah, and God-bothering, that too.

*temporarily at least.

X-posted to my personal journal.
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(Deleted comment)

bronnyelsp
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Time:2010-09-19 12:04 am (UTC)
But Catholicism... there's a lot of personal hurt there for a former Catholic, and I think that does colour the rhetoric for a lot of the angrier-sounding lapsed people. It was a painful breakup, and there's still a lot that I'm attached to even if it doesn't sound like it.

Yes, I thought about this today. Because so many people there clearly were so, so angry. That religion can still exist, that people can still subscribe to it. Some of that may have been to religion generally, and some to the Roman Catholic Church specifically.
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(Deleted comment)

bronnyelsp
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Time:2010-09-19 07:02 pm (UTC)
I just have to keep remembering that they may be very, very wounded, and have very good reasons for being bitter.
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piccolo_pirate
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Time:2010-09-18 11:57 pm (UTC)
Yeah, ditto this. I appreciate some of the thoughts in this post, and the general open and honest tone, but I'm dating a Catholic feminist, and although the Pope wouldn't want anything to do with the two of us ladies being together, she's still Catholic. And I support her and any other women/gays/people not generally appreciated by the RCC in their walk of faith, even if it takes them through a church that doesn't appreciate them.

The two of us both disagree with certain positions of her church, just as we disagree with some of the positions of the Protestant denomination I've found myself in, but neither of us believe that walking away from those churches entirely is the right thing for us. And being looked down upon or protested against by Christians in more liberal denominations is neither productive nor helpful. If Catholics want to protest the Pope, I'm fine with that, but I'll be honest, I don't think the OP or anyone else has any place doing so.
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bronnyelsp
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Time:2010-09-19 12:02 am (UTC)
Please see below.

I think any British citizen had a right to protest this state visit of the Pope, because it cost at least £12 billion, and possibly £20 billion out of our tax purse to put it on. This at a time when our new Tory government is planning to cut our social programmes to the bone because of the recession. Another thing that didn't make it into my epically long post is that the organisers of the protest were very up front about the fact that the Pope had every right to come to the UK both as a private citizen and as a religious leader. The objection was to him being invited for a state visit.
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piccolo_pirate
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Time:2010-09-19 12:43 am (UTC)
Ok, and I respect that position, but that didn't come across in your write-up, and I suspect that to any Catholic passers-by, that wasn't particularly clear either. It sounded as though you were simply protesting the Pope's position on various issues, and thus the Roman Catholic Church at large.
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bronnyelsp
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Time:2010-09-19 12:46 am (UTC)
You're right. I'm assuming the world knows precisely what UK political issues are the way it does US ones, which is a bad mistake to make. That said, it does say in the title that it's a state visit, and in the third paragraph that I didn't think a state visit from the Pope was appropriate, and that state visits are too expensive in general.
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piccolo_pirate
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Time:2010-09-19 03:21 am (UTC)
Eh, the US political issues that get picked up in international news are blown out of proportion and skewed, although I'll grant you that at least they make the news. Had you included in your post the information you noted above, it would have felt a lot less like Catholic-bashing. Context helps.

That said, at least two of us assumed Catholic-bashing because there's just so damn much of it. Especially from other parts of the Christian body, which just boggles me.
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bronnyelsp
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-09-19 07:57 am (UTC)
Well, as I say, it does say "state visit" pretty much throughout. However, it was also not helpful of me to use words like "despise" about RCC teachings without adding any of the context that I have in these comments, such as that the Anglican church still has some of the same ones (and they make me so mad I could spit) or that the same protesters who were out today would also probably, if given the chance, protest for the disestablishment of the Church of England, which I would too, or that RCC teaching is much greater than just those policies, and another thing that makes me mad about the Pope is his attitude to liberation theology, which is one of the great humanitarian religious movements of history.
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daegaer
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Time:2010-09-19 03:39 pm (UTC)
I can appreciate it must come as a shock to have comments pointing out the anti-Catholicism in the post, and that you can hear past the shock to the real concerns people have here. As an Irish Presbyterian I've been worried by the anti-Catholicism exhibited in the British media, and the continued way in which Catholics have been othered. (For example, British Catholics also pay tax - some of that tax money being spent is theirs, and yet, as with so many cases of minorities, they have here become an invisible or at best special interest group, rather than being citizens who contribute to and can expect an interest in the spending of public money. The costs are not entirely falling on the British tax-paying public as a whole, but the Catholic church is paying some - how much I don't know. I'm assuming it's a simple error that you have 12-20 billion rather than the 12-20 million quoted in UK papers and broadcasters).

I think you're right that your voice as a Christian would have been a good thing on the protest - after all, plenty of Catholics have been attending. But your voice was not heard - you remained silent and did not engage with people who spoke to you (like the woman mentioning the talking snake), and therefore your identity as a Christian protester was invisible.

The objection was to him being invited for a state visit.

Perhaps your post would have then been better located in a community dealing with UK politics?
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bronnyelsp
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Time:2010-09-19 07:06 pm (UTC)
I thought and think that it's on-topic. Almost all, if not all, of the objections to the Pope's visit had to do with broadly feminist issues. And he is a member of my religion -- Christianity -- and of a denomination which I consider as close as any to my own.

I also think you're right that plenty of Catholics, and not just ex-Catholics, would have been there.

One thing I'm uncomfortable about in hindsight is that the march began from the same place and was at the same time as the gathering of Catholics at Hyde Park. It sounds like that was a beautiful afternoon for people who share a faith tradition, and that was part of the pastoral part of the Pope's visit. But, I suppose Saturday afternoon is when people protest things, and the down Piccadilly, hang a right, past Trafalgar Square and finish at Downing Street route is fairly traditional for protest marches.

God, yes, sorry, millions not billions.

I see your point about Catholic tax-payers, but on the other hand, there would I think be tax money spent on security even if it was a pastoral visit, and from what I understand the big issue is that there's a heck of lot more being spent with it being a state visit.
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bronnyelsp
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Time:2010-09-18 11:59 pm (UTC)
What are your thoughts on the history of anti-Catholic bigotry in the UK, out of curiousity, and the context that provides for the current round of protests?

I was concerned about that before going. If I had seen any of it, I would have been out of there -- I saw no evidence of it. Only vocal atheism.

Also, wondering if since it's OK to bash Catholicism in this community if it's also ok to bash other religions, or if this is an exception and that Catholic feminists are not wanted or welcome here.

I'm sorry, here's something I would have added if I had remembered -- it had got very long and my thoughts were hazy.

In the documentary I wrote about, some of the best moments were talks with individual Catholics who were progressive in their beliefs. One of them was the guy who was playing Jesus in a production of Oberammagau being mounted while the docu was being made. Another was a priest in the Philippines who gave it as his strong opinion that the church should not interfere with people's private lives. A third was the incomparable Hans Kung.

I'm not here to bash Catholics. I admit, there are teachings of the Roman Catholic Church that I'm violently opposed to. But as I've got issues with my own church -- albeit fewer -- I did imagine that any Roman Catholics on a feminist community would have more or less the same issues as I do.

We can bash Anglicanism a bit if you like. I'm sick to the back teeth of Rowan Williams pandering to our right-wing.
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biascut
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Time:2010-09-19 12:16 pm (UTC)
What are your thoughts on the history of anti-Catholic bigotry in the UK, out of curiousity, and the context that provides for the current round of protests?

As I said below, I'm an English Anglican civil-partnered to an Irish Anglican, and we can't separate any of the protests in the UK from the history of anti-Catholic bigotry here. As we're both used to hearing much more nuanced and informed criticism of the Catholic hierarchy from Irish people who are personally invested in the Church, every bit of criticism I've heard here (apart from one documentary made by a gay English Catholic) is just completely simplistic and cliched, and yep, frequently downright offensive.

I feel that people have a point when they object to the Pope coming here as a head of state, and the tax-payer footing the bill. But as someone in another community pointed out, I wonder how much it costs the average Commonwealth country to provide hospitality and security for our Queen?
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annwfyn
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Time:2010-09-19 12:48 pm (UTC)
I feel that people have a point when they object to the Pope coming here as a head of state, and the tax-payer footing the bill. But as someone in another community pointed out, I wonder how much it costs the average Commonwealth country to provide hospitality and security for our Queen?

I agree absolutely. I am also highly suspicious of this sudden concern about the spending of our tax money on a visiting head of state when I've not been aware of these huge protests all over the place for any other visiting heads of state, including the President of the People's Republic of China in 2005 (a head of a state which has some very dodgy policies), or for the King and Queen of Norway (who aren't exactly major political figures, and probably have less direct influence on people's lives than the Pope) in the same year.
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(Deleted comment)

bronnyelsp
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Time:2010-09-19 07:11 pm (UTC)
Plenty of people can't quite distinguish between the religious leader aspect and the head of state aspect, and they are rather entangled.

I think it was more the latter than the former. He was invited as a head of state and then combined that with a religious message. It isn't really appropriate, secularly speaking (and I speak as someone who favours soft, rather than hard-line secularisation theory).

Plus, justified or not a lot of people feel more hostile towards the Pope than they do towards, say, Juan Carlos 1, but that is being magnified more than it usually would be:

This is the thing that squicked me about it to begin with. I felt a lot of people were protesting this particular state visit because of knee-jerk anti-religious sentiment inspired by the likes of Dawkins. However, what I came to realise is that that wouldn't be my motive. In the end it was a judgment call that there was more to object to in the Pope being invited on a state visit (and the consequent expenditure, and very public platform given him on which for him to say that the secularism in our society and leeway given to "aggressive atheism" would result in Nazism) than in joining with people who would have questionable motives for protesting that (anti-Catholic, and generally anti-religious [and honestly, I did see the latter, rather than the former, on the ground] bias). I appreciate other people would judge differently.
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bronnyelsp
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Time:2010-09-19 07:32 pm (UTC)
I am also highly suspicious of this sudden concern about the spending of our tax money on a visiting head of state when I've not been aware of these huge protests all over the place for any other visiting heads of state, including the President of the People's Republic of China in 2005 (a head of a state which has some very dodgy policies), or for the King and Queen of Norway (who aren't exactly major political figures, and probably have less direct influence on people's lives than the Pope) in the same year.

Yup, I definitely think that there were people protesting this time who didn't protest those times, and it had to do with either anti-religious or anti-Catholic bias (but as I've explained elsewhere, I think primarily the latter, because from what I could see, those around me with the most extreme views were atheists of the Dawkins camp, not Protestants). But I guess the thing for me was, that wasn't my motive. And in deciding whether to attend a protest, I should consider my own motives for doing so, rather than other people's. And my own motives were very simple. I had a finite number of particular beefs with the Pope's actions and teachings specifically; that would be fine and not really any of my business if he was just here privately to have a pastoral visit with his flock, but he wasn't, he was here on a state visit; that state visit was very expensive; and that state visit gave him a huge media platform from which to broadcast statements about British society (and secular societies generally) that I found objectionable as well. And I wanted to say I wasn't OK with that.
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bronnyelsp
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Time:2010-09-19 07:27 pm (UTC)
But as someone in another community pointed out, I wonder how much it costs the average Commonwealth country to provide hospitality and security for our Queen?

I think that's been looked into in Canada, where we're so apathetic we're practically lying down whenever anyone raises the possibility of getting rid of the monarchy. It was found that the cost was very low, and almost all of it was associated with Rideau Hall and our Governor-General specifically, and diplomatic costs -- and if we didn't have the Queen through the G-G, we'd have to have some other head of state, which would cost similar amounts.
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kwokj
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Time:2010-09-22 12:19 am (UTC)
I'm confused, where did you get the idea that it was OK to bash Catholicism in this community?
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gotham_bound
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Time:2010-09-19 12:43 am (UTC)
Atheists

Or if you like

Perhaps the most significant obstruction to inter-religious harmony is a lack of appreciation of the value of others' faith traditions. --Dalai Lama


I've always liked that this community from a sense of postive action - not the squishy positive thinking, but rather than focusing on the negatives, pay attention to good, life affirming events that support our communal spiritual welfare.

It's often a great antidote to the sarcastic and crude views that populate places like my twitter feed. Which lately has been a non-stop parade of hatred and smugness against the Catholic church.
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bronnyelsp
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-09-19 12:52 am (UTC)
I think, just as moderate and fundamentalist religious people are distinguishable from each other, the Roman Catholic Church as an organisation is separable both from the Pope and from Roman Catholics as people and as individual believers. And fundamentalist religions (amongst which I do not, unlike some of the people out today, count the Roman Catholic Church) are also distinguishable from the people who belong to them. I expect there are people in every faith who have issues with some part or another of it. But in a world of sound-bytes, these sorts of subtleties tend to get lost... on Twitter especially I would guess!
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gotham_bound
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Time:2010-09-19 01:08 am (UTC)
even while I squirm against this: the Catholic notion of itself is one that disagrees with your comment here. My formal theological education was pitiful but I did grasp that the Body of the Church shouldn't be considered separate from its believers-as-people.

So... You look at it that way, and I think it's a common way to look at it (I'd probably come to the same conclusion but for the above lesson), but I hear the essential misunderstanding in it.

When you are your association attacks on said association are personal.
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bronnyelsp
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-09-19 01:14 am (UTC)
Hmmmm. Something to think on. Probably goes for Judaism and Islam, too actually, come to that. The covenant with the people in Judaism, the 'ummah in Islam.

Another thing I should probably have made clearer in my post is that I wasn't offended by all the anti-RCC/anti-religion attacks solely as a religious person, but also as a Christian. Frankly, there's not a huge whole heap of difference between the RCC and the C of E. The polices mentioned in the post above, that I disagree with? In the Anglican church, moving on from those has happened within the last 100 years ----> we're still struggling with that, depending on which one you're talking about. So I really wasn't there thinking, "I as an Anglican am as much above all this papist nonsense as all these atheists, who are just as horrible in their own way." I was more thinking, "My tax money shouldn't be paying for a Christian leader to make a state visit, particularly not one who has been so strong on pushing the parts of Christianity that I am a Christian am really not comfortable with. And I feel strongly enough about this that I'll stand with non-Christians who are saying it, and who are saying it in ways that make me feel uncomfortable as well."
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countessdeweird
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Time:2010-09-19 05:26 am (UTC)
I enjoyed reading this. As an Anglican (or recovering Anglican, I'm really not sure these days) who struggles with the same feelings of defensiveness and desire to protest, I really appreciated your post.
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thisglasnost
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-09-19 09:07 am (UTC)
This was really interesting to read!

I'm a practising Christian and tbh have had to ignore a lot of what's been showing up on my Twitter feed over the last few days. Like you i disagree with a lot of the Catholic church's teachings and the way the church has dealt with the child abuse among other things - and like you i also take issue with the visit because of the amount of money it's costing us. But i have felt angry at the way it's seemed to turn into an excuse for some people to bash believers in general.
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bronnyelsp
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-09-19 07:13 pm (UTC)
I totally understand and empathise with that. I wasn't comfortable all of Saturday afternoon. Not by a long way.
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laariii
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-09-19 09:44 am (UTC)
O wow yet again my intelligence and religion is insultedd by feminists.
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biascut
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Time:2010-09-19 12:11 pm (UTC)
the ubiquitous and oh-so-British "Down With This Sort Of Thing"

It's from Father Ted! It's not at all British!

I'm English and Anglican and civil-partnered to an Irish Anglican, and we both feel that the far more interesting, relevant and meaningful criticism of the Catholic church come from within Catholicism, not from shouty atheists or even from other Anglicans. I can't separate any of the criticisms or protests against the Pope that I've heard or seen in the UK from the background anti-Catholicism, so I've generally tuned it all out: I've hardly heard critical Catholic voices at all. And nearly every single Catholic person I've read or heard commenting, including Catholics who don't practice any more, has said how defensive they feel and how ugly the anti-Catholic sentiment is.

If you're used to hearing the Catholic church discussed by Irish people, who've read the Ryan report and were educated in Catholic schools and who still attend mass or at least have siblings and parents and cousins who attend mass and have a complicated relationship with the hierarchy, who are still critical and informed but balance that with a personal investment in the Church, it's hard to hear the media scrum in Britain as anything but, "Blah blah PAEDOPHILIA blah blah SUPERSTITION blah blah blah CONTRACEPTION" and all the same-old same-old anti-Catholic stereotypes.
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sospan_fach
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Time:2010-09-19 12:51 pm (UTC)
^ This. I sometimes feel like getting a T-shirt made: Ratzinger: Been Pissing Off Lots Of Us Since Before You Even Knew Who He Was.
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biascut
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-09-19 06:06 pm (UTC)
Ha, the weekend that JP2 died, my girlfriend was getting texts from her friends every five minutes going, "Who will it be? Can't possibly be Papa Razzi -" "nooooooooo!!!" and so on. Everyone was watching it so closely.

Love the David Cameron macro in your userinfo, by the way!
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bronnyelsp
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-09-19 07:35 pm (UTC)
I wanted it to be the Argentinian one. Who gets a bus to work and lives in a modest flat with an elderly colleague... I think he was Argentinian.
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gotham_bound
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-09-19 11:07 pm (UTC)
Amen! Amen! Amen! Amen!
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bronnyelsp
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-09-19 07:15 pm (UTC)
It's from Father Ted! It's not at all British!

Oh Lord, some salt for my foot please! I think I've only seen (and loved) the first couple of episodes of Father Ted, but came across "Down with this sort of thing" at protests after I moved back here. Assumptions ensued. Thank you for setting me straight.

it's hard to hear the media scrum in Britain as anything but, "Blah blah PAEDOPHILIA blah blah SUPERSTITION blah blah blah CONTRACEPTION" and all the same-old same-old anti-Catholic stereotypes.

I can understand that. Mind you, at least one of the speakers at the rally was a representative of an American abuse survivors' group and of course, they were all raised Catholic. And some still are, although the woman I heard speak, I believe, isn't.
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kwokj
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-09-21 01:03 am (UTC)
my take away message from all these years of sitting in the pews is that if you're not on the side of the poor, the outcast, the downtrodden, you're not on the side of God. I think the Pope has been on the wrong side far too often.
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bronnyelsp
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-09-21 05:46 am (UTC)
Yes, that's about it. I saw a clip of one of the speeches I missed on YouTube yesterday in which a journalist for the Independent said he figured Jesus would have been standing with the crowds of protesters, and that just about the most pro-Catholic thing he could think of was standing up for the Catholic children who had been abused.
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kwokj
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-09-22 12:24 am (UTC)
for what it's worth, I was just skimming the other comments, and I wanted to say that I'm Catholic, and I didn't feel like you were bashing the Catholic Church. I thought the post was very measured and reasonable.
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[icon] How I stopped being defensive* and learned to protest the Pope - Religious Feminists-- the soul has no sex
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