Hot topics in Religion Update

With a fortnight to go before Pope Benedict XVI arrives in the UK the media information is hotting up with a feeding frenzied menu of varied relevant items to suit all tastes and provoke interest and debate.

Here are a few that caught my eye this week :


Nine Catholic bishops have recorded personal stories about their relationship with God to help people understand the theme of the Papal Visit. The link is here or from here and each video is about three minutes duration. (But you may need to register first to access these.)

Then there is
this post on Women and the Priesthood from  Fr. Stephen Wang , a Catholic priest in the Diocese of Westminster, England and currently Dean of Studies at Allen Hall seminary in London, where he teaches philosophy and systematic theology .

In direct opposition to Fr Wang's views we have
this post  from Professor Tina Beattie of The Roehampton University, UK who lectures in Theology & Religion and  Human Rights and Former President of the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain. 

The Guardian newspaper gave space to comments from The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols who has distanced himself from an aide who said gay rights and the commercialisation of sex had turned Britain into a "selfish, hedonistic wasteland" and "the geopolitical epicentre of the culture of death".
The comments from Edmund Adamus, director of pastoral affairs at the diocese of Westminster and an adviser to the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, have angered gay rights and secularists groups and provoked embarrassment among the Catholic hierarchy weeks before the Pope visits Britain. The article can be read here.

Then physicist Stephen Hawking has stated that the universe was not created by God. The article is here but his findings were described by the UK Chief Rabbi, Oliver Sacks as an "elementary fallacy" of logic.
Writing in the Times, the Chief Rabbi said: "There is a difference between science and religion. Science is about explanation. Religion is about interpretation. The Bible simply isn't interested in how the universe came into being." 

The Guardian Editorial Comments from here kindly rebut Professor Hawking's findings with a lovely quote in praise of God using this old limerick:

There was a young man who said, God 
Must think it exceedingly odd
If he finds that this tree 
Continues to be 
When there's no one about in the Quad.
The quad in question is in Balliol College Oxford and the metaphysics those of 18th century idealist philosopher Bishop Berkeley. 

The clever riposte is by the doyen of Balliol clergy, the 20th century Roman Catholic theologian and Bible translator Ronald Knox.
 Dear Sir, your astonishment's odd: 
I am always about in the Quad.
And that's why the tree 
Will continue to be,
Since observed by, Yours faithfully, GOD.

All these tie in nicely with the scripture readings for Thursday  ( see my previous post  here on these) and I am left with these words ringing in my ears from the first reading: 

"Let no one deceive himself.
If anyone among you considers himself wise in this age,
let him become a fool, so as to become wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God............."


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