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"Is Catholicism a Force For Good?": Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry vs. Ann Widdecombe and Bishop (1 of 5)

Thanks to Blakeley Nixon for this link. Surprising vote at the end. To be fair to the Catholic side: as speakers, Widdecome and the Bishop were pretty awful and entirely outclassed.

Postscript. By the way, for anyone interested in this topic I would strongly recommend David Ranan's Double Cross: The Code of the Catholic Church, which is at least as exciting as The Da Vinci Code.

The Catholic Herald wrote:

Speaking of how other people may see us, I have been reading a fascinating, if somewhat uncomfortable book called Double Cross by David Ranan (Theo Press). When I tell you that it devotes 350 pages to attacking the Church ... you will understand why I would not recommend it to anyone who is not familiar with Church history and the general cut and thrust of apologetic debate. ... whenever I was able to check references they proved satisfactory. Withal, I found the book salutary. It reminds me how the credibility of the Church has so often been endangered not only by bad individuals but by bad trends. -- Catholic Herald, November 2007

Also see my blog debate with commentators on HIV, condoms and Catholicism - check comments.


Paul P. Mealing said…
I thought this was excellent, though I couldn't get the 5th video for some reason.

I thought Stephen Fry's presentation was the best.

Overall, what it showed is that the Catholic Church is a fatally flawed anachronistic institution, though it doesn't know it. It's more a debate about the modern world versus a stubbornly resistant dogma that won't evolve.

Regards, Paul.
anticant said…
The difference between "Double Cross"and "The Da Vinci Code" is that the former is factual and the latter is fiction.
b.b.b. said…
or you could read philip jenkins' anti catholicism - the last acceptable prejudice. but then that might not tell you what you want to hear.
Paul P. Mealing said…
Speaking of books, I would recommend Their Kingdom Come; Inside the Secret World of Opus Dei by Robert Hutchison (1997,2006).

I summarise some of Hutchison's arguments here, if anyone is interested.

Two brief reviews on can be found here.

Regards, Paul.
Tony Lloyd said…
Hi b.b.b.

Anti-catholic bigotry is a problem, not just in that it is wrong in itself, but also in that it obscures genuine criticism.

Neither Hitchens' nor Fry's words were, in the slightest, bigoted. But the existence of anti-catholic bigots let's you imply that they were and that whoever "you" is meant to refer to is closeminded enough to ignore counter-arguments. Remember that counter-arguments were presented in the debate and a link to the debate is as much a link to the two pro-Church speakers as to the anti.

Unfortunately for the quality of the debate the pro side were woeful, at least in comparison to Hitchens and Fry. Such a miss-match doesn't do much for a search for truth and one wonders whether the Church couldn't have been prevailed upon to supply an intellect to put the pro-case forward. Have all the Jesuits gone on strike?

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