Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $38,368 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Historian urges Pope away from confrontation in England

Catholic World News - September 10, 2010

Noted historian Eamon Duffy, writing in the Irish Times, suggests that during his visit to the United Kingdom, Pope Benedict XVI should avoid confrontation with secular ideology.

Duffy concedes that the Pope will not always find a receptive audience in Great Britain:

An often rancorous hostility to Catholicism is becoming fashionable again among the British intelligentsia, and is an increasingly noticeable feature of opinion-forming journalism.
Nevertheless, he argues that the Pope should follow the example set by Cardinal Newman—who was, Duffy insists, a liberal. He cites Newman as saying that the errors of the day should be met “not by refutation so much as by a powerful counter-argument.” For reasons that he does not explain, Duffy sees this strategy as different from what Pope Benedict is doing.

Duffy believes that the Catholic Church should change, and laments:

An ongoing Vatican campaign to downplay the novel and reformist dimensions of the second Vatican Council, and to emphasise continuities with the attitudes and ideas of the age of Pius XII, appears to have his support.

Here Duffy is guilty of an odd understatement. Pope Benedict does not merely support the campaign that the historian decries; the Holy Father is the chief instigator, strategist, and champion of that campaign.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($125,746 to go):
$150,000.00 $24,253.70
84% 16%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Sep. 11, 2010 8:01 PM ET USA

    If you see the spirit of Pope Pius XII in Pope Benedict XVI, you need a new prescription for your spiritual eyeglasses.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Sep. 11, 2010 1:31 PM ET USA

    Mr. Duffy might want to refer to 2 Timothy 4:2.

  • Posted by: Obregon - Sep. 11, 2010 12:43 PM ET USA

    Where does any historian get off telling the Pope what to do or say? The fact is that the United Kingdom is extremely secular and secularism, in its extremes, is an illness the Holy Father will deal with the way he has dealt with it in many of his speeches and writings, not only when he was Cardinal, but now that he is Christ's Vicar. In his time Newman was considered a "liberal" but today's liberalism has nothing to do with the ideology of Newman.

  • Posted by: Sed contra - Sep. 11, 2010 11:09 AM ET USA

    Eamon Duffy is a very competent and respect historian, but whenever he comments on current affairs he seems way off the mark.

  • Posted by: jmoore20082145 - Sep. 11, 2010 7:03 AM ET USA

    Isn't it "wonderful" how so many people think that they must give the Pope advice!! It seems that they think Pope Benedict XVI is naive or stupid! Apparently, they forget that Pope Benedict clearly listens to the Holy Spirit.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal 8 hours ago
Has the Vatican finally discovered how to avoid inaccurate English translations? 12 hours ago
The Synod: It's a Wrap! October 21
A chaotic synod? Not in its results October 21
Cardinal Kasper's unsubtle threat October 21

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6