The Cardinal on atheism: he’s against it

Cardinal Francis George, who is President of the US Catholic Bishops’ Conference, has noticed that the natives are getting restless. He observes that US secularism is moving from taming religion to rejecting it.

The new atheism has its followers…In Chicago, we now have atheist clubs in high schools. We didn’t have those five years ago. Kids I would have confirmed in the eighth grade, by the time they’re sophomores in high school say they’re atheists. They don’t just stop going to church, they make a statement…I think it’s something of a fad, because of the aggressiveness of this new atheism. It captures people.

Yes? Well what does the Catholic church do? It ‘captures’ people, doesn’t it? At least, if atheism does the Catholic church does – since atheism doesn’t throw big nets over people, or shoot tranquilizer darts into them, or put opium in their soup and then drag them away to the Scary Atheist Compound, never to be seen again.

Oh yes but you see that’s quite different because…because…er…give me a minute, I’ll think of it…

‘It is highly evangelical, isn’t it?’ simpers the interviewer helpfully, and the cardinal is happy to agree.

Yes it is, sure. Everybody has said that, and it’s true. It’s the mirror image of a kind of fundamentalism, because it’s very restrictive in its use of reason. It’s also very triumphalistic and self-righteous.

While Catholicism, on the other hand –


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