Catholic World News

Pope Benedict the ‘Orwell of our time’

December 30, 2010

Writing in the latest edition of a British conservative quarterly, Theodore Dalrymple reflects on Pope Benedict’s recently apostolic journey to England and Scotland.

Dalrymple, who is not Catholic, states:

A great deal of the hostility to the Pope’s visit was likewise caused by his having been right, at least in some things, such as the insufficiency of consumerist materialism as a basis for a satisfactory existence. There are few human types less attractive, surely, than failed materialists, which is what the British, or at least so many of them, now are. They consume without discrimination what they have not earned: which is why many of them are so grotesquely fat as well as so deeply indebted … A nation that behaves thus is quite without honour or self-respect, collective or individual. All this Benedict XVI has seen with a perfectly clear eye; and if what George Orwell once wrote, that we have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men, we might even call the Pope the George Orwell of our time.

“He lays down a ethical challenge to our utilitarian ways of thinking; in other words, he is a heretic to be excommunicated from the Church of Righteous Liberalism,” Dalrymple adds. “Given that so intelligent a man as Professor Dawkins, and others like him, were so clearly illogical on the matter of the Pope’s visit, are we not entitled to suspect a deep emotional confusion within them: for example, one caused by a robust and unaccustomed challenge to a brittle Weltanschauung?”

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  • Posted by: bnewman - Dec. 30, 2010 9:56 PM ET USA

    For those who check the link to the Salisbury review we see Dalrympole brilliantly expose the sloppy and hypocritical thinking of the British intellectual establishment.To an extremely intelligent, disinterested but caring outsider like our present Pope this was obvious and his presence could not help but draw attention to it: what Dalrympole called a "restatement of the obvious." This is one of the reasons the Pope is so hated and feared by intellectuals like Dawkins, both here and England.

  • Posted by: Pat - Dec. 30, 2010 9:50 PM ET USA

    I don't know about George Orwell, but isn't this what any of the successors to Peter's chair try to get us all to understand? Materialism known as greed or avarice comes from original sin and cannot promote humanity and is bound to fail.

  • Posted by: rpp - Dec. 30, 2010 6:04 PM ET USA

    At least somebody gets it. Perhaps there is hope.

  • Posted by: sparch - Dec. 30, 2010 9:51 AM ET USA

    I am not sure that I would compare George Orwell to Pope Benedict, the essense of what the author is saying is spot on. In a world where common sense and logic is turned on it's head, this article speaks clearly to what the Pope's mission is about.