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Stephen Fry Passionately Argues the Catholic Church is NOT a Force for Good | Intelligence Squared

May 25, 2024
There are times, as Gwendaline pointed out in The Importance of Being Earnest, when saying what you think becomes more than a moral duty, it becomes a pleasure, and this is one of those times with my faithful hitch at my side. I'm very proud to be here, but I'm also very nervous, very worried. I've been nervous all day and the reason I've been nervous is quite simple and that's because this motion matters to me. I care a lot. It's not a joke. It's not a game. it's just a debate I really believe that the Catholic Church is not, to put it at its mildest, a Force for Good in the world and therefore it is important for me to try to get my facts together as best I can.
stephen fry passionately argues the catholic church is not a force for good intelligence squared
I can explain why I think that, but first I want to say that I have no dispute or argument and I do not wish to express any contempt for the individual devout and pious men of that


, they are welcome to its sacraments, to its reliquaries and to its Blessed Virgin Mary, they are welcome to their um to their faith to the importance they place on the comfort and joy they receive from it all of that is absolutely fine with me it would be impertinent and wrong of me to express any antagonism towards any individual who wishes to find salvation in any However you wish to express it, that is sacred to me as much as any Article of Faith is sacred to anyone of any


or faith in the world.
stephen fry passionately argues the catholic church is not a force for good intelligence squared

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stephen fry passionately argues the catholic church is not a force for good intelligence squared...

It's very important. It is also very important to me. If it happens. my own beliefs are a belief in enlightenment are a belief um in the eternal adventure of trying to discover moral truth in the world discover is a terribly important word that we could return to is a fight is an empirical fight is one that was started In the middle of the last millennium, it was given the name Enlightenment and, unfortunately, there is nothing that the Catholic Church and its hierarchs like to do more than attack the Enlightenment, they did so at the time when Galileo was referenced. and the fact that he was tortured for trying to explain the Cernic theory of the universe which is history, as Miss Wham has reminded us, is irrelevant, it is not important, the only thing that matters now is that billions of pounds come out of this extraordinary institution to alleviate the poor. around the world and make the world a better place history is of no importance well, I beg to differ history history came and trembles and vibrates in all of us in this Hall in this square mile let's think about this square mile I'll be back in a moment, but first Christopher mentioned limbo, it seems so tedious and so silly one of those little casuistic games that Toist and others play Ainus and Augustine of Hippo proposed this extraordinary idea that babies who were not baptized would not know Heaven.
stephen fry passionately argues the catholic church is not a force for good intelligence squared
He also proposed the idea of ​​purgatory, which does not exist in the Bible, there is absolutely no evidence of it, however, what a brilliant and extraordinary stroke it is to imagine something like according to Tre, that it is necessary to pray for a soul in order to go to heaven . turn left when you enter the plane of heaven and get a first class seat that needs to be prayed for and for many hundreds, in fact, for over a thousand years, you will be amazed at the generous terms in which those prayers came , sometimes as small as 2/3rd. of a year's salary could ensure that a dead loved one would go to heaven and money could ensure that your baby, your dead child, your dead uncle, your dead mother could go to heaven and if you were rich enough you could build a Chapel and The monks chanted prayers constantly so that the child's existence in heaven would go up and up and up until they themselves were at the Lord's table.
stephen fry passionately argues the catholic church is not a force for good intelligence squared
Now all this is a thing of the past and is irrelevant. I see a Wham how irrelevant it is except in One thing is that this church is based on the principle of intercession only through apostolic succession only through the laying on of hands of this Carpenter Galileo whom we can all admire only from the laying on of hands on his Apostles to Saint Peter to the other Bishops all the way to all the consecrated people in this room, anyone who is ordained here will know that they have this extraordinary power to literally change the molecules of the wine into blood, to change the molecules of the pasta bread into meat literally and to forgive the sins of the peasants and the poor who are routinely exploited around the planet only this church has this extraordinary principle that it is through these male priests and only male priests that this occurs is a doctrinal fact is more than a doctrinal fact it is a Dogma extra Ecclesia am nul salus outside the church there is no salvation that is a dogma of the church that has been used to excuse all the missionary zeal all the rapes and tortures of the Aztecs and the incorporate all the horrors of South America and Africa and the Philippines and the rest of the world to which other churches and other cultures also have their fault to admit that it is not exclusive to the Catholic church and I never said it was and the motion does not say it is outside or at least the opposition of the motion does not arrogate to the Catholic Church alone this sin, however, the particular nature of the exploitation of the poor, the vulnerable and the young, if I were to speak to a priest, believe me now, that priest would be the most worldly charming self-deprecating snob of a Ronald Knox Al.
Gilby in a way, he would be charming, he would smoke, God, how bold he would be a kind of ha ha, priest and the superstition and the nonsense we read about the church, It's absolute, don't pay attention Steven, just join Farm Street. either one or the bronton oratory and have a wonderful time as a Catholic and everything is beautiful and splendid but be poor and ignorant and my God, every detail of damnation and original sin and any chance of you complaining or asking to think for yourself . I said, think of this square mile, imagine in this square mile how many people were burned for reading the Bible in English and one of the main burners and torturers of those who tried to read the Bible in English here in London was Thomas Moore.
You may know if you've read the novel Wolf Hall, which won the Booker Prize the other day. That was a long time ago, it's not relevant, except that it was only last century that Thomas Moore was a saint and it was only in the last century. year 2000 that the last Pope the polo made Thomas Moore the patron saint of politicians this is a man who put people on the rack for daring to have a Bible in English He tortured them for having a Bible in their own language the idea That the Catholic Church exists to spread the word of the Lord is nonsense, it is the only owner of the truth for the billions that it likes to boast about because those billions are uneducated and poor, as it once again likes to boast about, but they are them. the ones I can tell, intimidate and dominate and then we get to the children.
Well, it's all very well to say that the world didn't know better than the world didn't know how dangerous the crime was, uh, how dangerous the crime was, child abuse. I want to read you something from The words of Ratzinger, the current Pope, astonish me by admitting that he is the head of state of a country. By the way, Wham said we don't have the power of a nation state, yes you do, you are a nation state, yes I wrote that. you mentioned that you are a masan state and it is no coincidence that the UN population conference KIRO, when they were trying to do something to prevent the world population from getting out of control, Vatican City, as a nation state represented at that conference, did a joint statement with the Islamic countries of the world, particularly the most extreme Islamic countries of the world led by Saudi Arabia, and it started in the name of the revealed religions of the world dot dot dot and what it did was essentially hobble and veto any possibility of sexuality Women's. freedom in the world because, as we know, the Islamic religion and the Catholic Church have never been anything other than implacably opposed to women's choice over their own bodies and their destinies, yet the rat Singo in 2003 was prefect.
I'm not doing until then he was prefect of the congregation of the doctrine of the faith and his job was to deal with the child abuse scandal that was brewing. His first act was to write a letter to the Catholic bishops ordering them, under penalty of excommunication, not to speak with perpetual silence. The Mexican founder of the Legion of Christ movement, Marel Deo, was protected from his own catalog of child abuse, which is horrific. You cannot judge someone so close, a friend of the Pope, Ratzinger said when the accusations could no longer be denied, Marel was sentenced to a life of prayer and penance, and Ranzinger described the whole affair and that of Bernard La of Boston, to whom my colleague also He referred to it as causing suffering to the church and for me personally he also said that the answer would be to prevent homosexuals from entering the church.
Now perhaps it is unfair of me, as a gay man, to complain about this enormous institution, which is the largest and most powerful. The Church on Earth has more than a billion, as they like to tell us, members, each of whom is strictly instructed to believe in the dogmas of the church, but can fight with them personally, of course, it is a bit difficult for me know that I'm messed up. or again to quote the rat singer um that I am guilty of a moral evil uh simply for fulfilling my sexual destiny as I see it, it is difficult for me to be told that I am evil because I think of I consider myself someone full of love whose sole purpose in life was to achieve love and that he feels love for much of Nature and the world and for everything else and who, like any decent and educated person, realizes that to achieve and receive love is a struggle is not a struggle that needs a pope to tell you how to do it certainly not one that needs a pope to tell you that you are evil with 6% of all teen suicides being gay teen suicides certainly don't need the stigmatization the victimization which leads to bullying on the playground when people say you're a disordered and morally evil individual that's not nice that's not nice the type of cruelty in Catholic education the type of child let's not call him a child abuse was child rape, the type of child rape that occurred systematically for so long.
Let's imagine that we can overlook this and say that it has nothing to do with the structure and nature of the Catholic Church and the twisted, neurotic, hysterical way in which it develops. leaders are elected celibacy nuns monks priesthood this is not natural and normal ladies and gentlemen in 2009 it really is not I'm sorry to be called a pervert these extraordinarily sexually dysfunctional people I don't think it's human History has always had more. I must say that this is not a problem that is necessarily permanent. I like to believe that in 10 years I could come back and argue the opposite even though I have talked about the history and structural problems. of this bitten institution and the cruelty and discomfort it causes throughout the world.
I have yet to address one of the topics dearest to my heart. I have made three documentaries on the topic of AIDS in Africa. My particular love is the country of Uganda, it is one of the countries that I love the most in the world. I have been there many times. I interviewed Joseph with Yi Mevy and his wife Janet. Before, unfortunately, she suddenly saw God. There was a period when Uganda had the worst incidents of HIV AIDS. in the world I went to raki the town where it was seen for the first time but through an incredible initiative called ABC abstinence be faithful correct use of condoms those three I do not deny that abstinence is a very


way of not contracting AIDS, I really do. is, it works so is being faithful but so are condoms and don't deny it and this Pope this Pope is not satisfied he is not satisfied with saying that condoms go against our religion please consider abstinence first second being faithful to his partner he spreads the lie that condoms actually increase the incidence of AIDS, he actually makes sure that the help is conditional on saying no to condoms.
I have been to a hospital in Bundi, western Uganda, where I work quite a bit. The pain and suffering you see now is incredible. Yes Yes. true abstinence will stop it is the strange thing about this church is obsessed with sex absolutely obsessed now they will say they will say we with our permissive society and our rude jokes we are obsessed no, we have a healthy attitude, we like it, it's fun it's happy because it's an impulse primary can be dangerous, dark and difficult it's a bit like food in that sense only even more exciting the only people who are obsessed with food are anorexics and the morbid beast OB and that in erotic terms is the


church in a nutshell, so all I want to say is that we are here in the Methodist Hall.
I'm not trying to argue against religion on this occasion. I'm not saying I understand anyone's desire to seek spiritual rewards. In a complex and difficult to understand world we don't know why we are here where we are going we want answers we love the idea of ​​answers how wonderful it would be but there areother options there are Quakers who could possibly fight a Quaker with their pacifism with their openness with their calmness with their simplicity with their refusal to tell anyone what is dogma and what is not even with the Methodists. I am not saying that Protestantism is the answer to Catholicism.
I'm simply saying that there are all kinds of ways we can seek the truth. You don't need this imperial panoply of marble and gold. Do you know who would be the last person to be accepted as a prince of the church? The Galilean carpenter. A Jew, they would throw him out before he tried to cross the threshold. He would feel so uncomfortable in church. If that simple and extraordinary man said the things he is said to have said, what would he think? What would he think of Saint Peter, what would he think of the wealth, power, self-justification and weedling apologies?
What would you think of a man who calls himself a father? A celibate who dared to lecture people about family values. What would you think of any of that you would be horrified but there is a solution there is an answer there is redemption available for all of us and any of us and for the Catholic Church quite funny I think it is a novel by moris West the pope could decide that all this power, All this wealth, this hierarchy of princes, bishops, archbishops, priests, monks and nuns, could be sent out into the world with money and artistic treasures to be returned to the countries they once raped and violated, whose original systems of animism and beliefs and simplicity that they said I would tell them that they would be taken straight to hell, that they could give that money away and that they could focus on the apparent essence of their beliefs and then I would stand here and say that the Catholic Church may well be a




in the world . but until that day it is not

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