First Topic – Preconceived bigotry: Response to Anne Rice media shorthand
Anne Rice, author of the popular Vampire Chronicles and two novels about the early years of Jesus, announced recently that she was leaving the Catholic Church. In a series of postings on her Facebook page, she explained that she was leaving because: “In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life.” Rice’s confusing pilgrimage is her pilgrimage. She has obviously gotten lost along the road. She needs prayer, not a lot of ad hominem attacks. But the troublesome part of this personal business, says our next guest, has been how her rhetorical flourishes have been exploited by the media meat-grinder. All the assorted stereotypes about Catholics were burped up in Rice’s public explanation. She unfortunately fed more fuel to a media caricature that has nothing to do with the reality of the faith lived. The public issue isn’t Anne Rice. The public issue is how the chattering classes in the media have used her statement to reinforce their own stereotypes of Catholics. Bob Lockwood makes his case.
Second Topic – Affirming Religious Freedom: How Vatican Council II Developed the Church's Teaching to Meet Today's Needs
Vatican II adopted an approach to religious liberty based on affirming the human dignity of the religious believer. This new emphasis was reflected in the title of its declaration on religious freedom Dignitatis Humanae which means "On Human Dignity." In it the Church, speaking through the Council, teaches that "the human person has a right to religious freedom." What is entailed by this right is "that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of every human power in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, within due limits." Ken Whitehead is here to look at the implications of this new emphais on what the Church has traditionally held and taught, but which has not always been well understood.