Posts Tagged “cardinal”

Comments by Fernando Sebastian Aguilar, who was named one of 19 new cardinals by Pope Francis last week, provoked an immediate backlash in Spain. Photo: EFE/EPAWhat is it about metaphysical beliefs that gives people the idea that they’re experts on things they know nothing about? I’ve frequently complained, for instance, about Christians pronouncing Jesus’ existence as a historical fact merely because they believe he lived, even though this is by no means certain. In that way, they’re claiming credentials … i.e. as historians … which in fact they do not possess.

But this phenomenon is hardly limited to just that. It reaches into many disciplines — including medicine — and causes people to make laughable pronouncements which are counter-factual and anti-scientific.

Well, one of Pope Francis’s newly-appointed cardinals (WebCite cached article) just tried playing doctor himself, and ended up looking like a hateful prick. The (UK) Telegraph reports on a Spanish hierarch who compared homosexuality with blood pressure (cached):

Spain’s newly appointed cardinal to Rome has insisted homosexuality can be cured with treatment and likened it to other “bodily deficiencies” such as high blood pressure.

The comments by Fernando Sebastian Aguilar, who was named one of 19 new cardinals by Pope Francis last week, provoked an immediate backlash in Spain.

The 84-year-old Archbishop Emeritus of Pamplona said: “Homosexuality is a deficient way of manifesting sexuality because (sexuality) has a structure and a purpose, which is procreation.” “Homosexuality, which can’t achieve this purpose, is a failing,” he said in an interview with Malaga-based newspaper Diario Sur, published Sunday.

He went on to compare it to his own deficiency of high blood pressure. “Our bodies have many deficiencies. I have high blood pressure — a deficiency I have to correct as I can.”

Even as he said this, Aguilar must have realized the offensive implications of his words:

With this in mind he continued: “Saying homosexuals suffer a deficiency is not an insult. It’s a help because in many cases of homosexuality it is possible to recover and become normal with the right treatment.” His comments brought swift criticism from some quarters.

I believe this is Diario Sur‘s original story on this interview (cached).

Note the old and tired refrain that sexuality is only for procreation. The truth is, it’s not … and the soon-to-be Cardinal knows it. If it were true, then infertile people would not be able to have sex.

I get that the cardinal-to-be doesn’t approve of homosexuality and doesn’t like gays. There are lots of Christians — and people of other faiths — who agree with him on that. In a free world, that sort of thing is going to happen. What shouldn’t happen, is for people to lie about homosexuality and gays in order to rationalize and justify their disapproval.

Ultimately it shouldn’t matter to Aguilar (or anyone else) that someone somewhere might be gay. Really, honestly, it doesn’t affect him (or them). It just doesn’t. Hating homosexuality and gays serves no useful purpose for anyone, but it does cause immense harm. It’s time for the world’s gay-haters to just fucking grow the hell up and get over their pitiful, whiney hang-ups already.

Photo credit: EFE/EPA, via the (UK) Telegraph.

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The Roman Catholic cardinal and Archbishop of Westminster (UK), Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, retired back in April of this year. And it’s a good thing, too, because he said something outrageously stupid, which — by virtue of his now-unofficial status — the Vatican won’t have to apologize for (or perhaps more likely, swerve out of the way of apologizing for because in reality, they all agree with him). In a BBC interview, this sanctimonious idiot called atheists “not human.” Here’s a YouTube video containing this audio passage:

Commentary on the man’s insane drivel can be found all over the Web, including here and also here. Curiously, this story has not been picked up by the mass media — which contrasts the case of restored Bishop Richard Williamson, whose Holocaust denials, misogyny, and other venomous and crazy spew were widely reported. (Hmm. I wonder why.)

Murphy-O’Connor is guilty of various logical flaws, including conflation, as well as the old habit of projection. The syllogism goes like this:

  1. I, retired Cardinal Murphy O’Connor, am human.

  2. I believe in “the transcendant”

  3. It must be a property of “being human” to believe in “the transcendant”

  4. Atheists do not, however, believe in the transcendant

  5. Therefore, atheists cannot be human (conclusion)

His conclusions about what it means to be “fully human,” therefore, are premised on his own personal and subjective experience, not on objective or verifiable criteria. Generally speaking it’s never a good idea for folks to decide who is or is not “human” (or to use Murphy-O’Connor’s phrase, “‘fully’ human”) based on any arbitrary criteria, such as whether or not they believe in “the transcendant.” Historically, determinations of this type have led to horrible conclusions, such as that those “less-than-human” lives are subject to abuse, enslavement, imprisonment, punishment, or even death.

I also suspect that Murphy-O’Connor is being a bit subjective about what he refers to as “the transcendant.” There are a great many people in the world who believe in something “transcendant.” (In fact, the majority of humanity does.) Their versions of “the transcendant” vary greatly … both within his own religion, Christianity, and in other religions. But I’m not sure he’d grant all of their versions of “the transcendant” equal merit. I’m betting he’d dismiss the versions of “the transcendant” espoused by — say — Hindus, or Sikhs, or Wiccans, and maybe even of the other Abrahamic faiths such as Islam. Is Murphy-O’Connor willing to concede that a Neopagan (for example) is just as “fully human” as he is? Maybe … but I wouldn’t bet any money on that proposition.

When are religionists going to grow up and stop making incorrect, and possibly dangerous, assumptions about other people, based on their own subjective beliefs? Haven’t we had enough of this crap yet?

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