On the 'Catholic conscience' was Re: Timor again (sorry Lou)

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at SPAMqut.edu.au
Sun Nov 21 22:12:46 MST 1999

Alan Bradley wrote

>This 'protestant' bit is kind of interesting.  In some of Gary's material
>in the last kind of days he gets stuck into the 'Catholic' conscience.
>Maybe Louis or Nestor might like to tell us about the 'Jewish'
>conscience...  :-)
>I've always found it interesting how people's former religious backgrounds
>shape their world-views, regardless of us all being notionally atheists.
>I've sometimes felt like a bit of an oddity, being an Australian leftist
>who is not an ex-Catholic.  Of course, there are lots of us around, it's
>just that the ex-Catholics talk about religion so much.

Now I break a resolution here and reply to a post from Comrade
Bradley.  But the matter of religion is of some importance. In a period,
such as now, when the Left has collapsed churches often perform the role of

Over on the Che list there was some talk about religion and the differences
in progressive terms between Catholicism and Protestantism. My remarks were
rather cursory because I am very busy at present.  But the gist of what I
said was that it depends on time and place.  Thus for example at the end of
the 18th century the most radical and progressive thing to be in Ireland
was an Ulster Presbyterian. Today membership of that religion almost
guarantees that one will be a political reactionary.

Now I have not written despite what comrade Bradley says about 'the
Catholic conscience'.  In my posts I have been trying to engage the radical
Catholics here in  Brisbane.  They have gained great kudos because one of
the leading cadre went to prison over East Timor.  As I pointed out in my
polemic aimed at him he falls into the trap of bourgeois universalism when
he talks about us all being guilty over East Timor. I speculated that this
was backed up by Catholic theology, specifically the notion of original sin.

So it is not a matter of we ex-Catholics being unable to stop talking about
religion. I am not a 'notional atheist'.  I am an atheist tout court.
However the objective conditions demand that we take a stand and point out
the inadequacies of religious solutions to our problems.



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